Amazon Studios executive Vernon Sanders, who is the Head of Global Television, recently admitted that the company is still completely ignoring fan feedback surrounding The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 15: (L-R) Vernon Sanders, Head of Global TV of Amazon Studios, and Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios attends “The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power” Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere & Screening on August 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Prime Video)

Speaking with ComicBook.com, Sanders first admitted that the company conducted their own study to try and determine how people reacted to the show. 

He relayed, “We set up our own study with thousands of people, among them thousands of The Lord of the Rings fans, to really have a conversation with them as each episode dropped to just understand how they were reacting.”

“We were doing as much of a 360 comprehensive look to really understand it. And I think we got a lot of those The Lord of the Rings fans, both fans of the books and fans of the movies,” he claimed.

Sanders then admitted, “We also know that there were some fans who had issues or didn’t feel like this was what they were expecting or done in the way that they expected, and that’s natural. I think whenever you take on something that’s so beloved, you’re going to have probably a strong reaction for and have some people who just aren’t on board.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 30: (L-R) SVP, Prime Video, MGM & Amazon Studios Mike Hopkins, Albert Cheng Chief Operating Officer of Amazon Studios, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, SVP Media & Entertainment Jeff Blackburn and Head of Global TV, Amazon Studios Vernon Sanders attend “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Prime Video )

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He didn’t go into any other details, but Amazon Studios and Prime Video embarrassed themselves when they claimed to have brought a number of The Lord of the Rings “superfans” to a special screening of the show’s trailer in Malorca.

These superfans didn’t seem at all interested in The Lord of the Rings when they cut a number of promotional videos attempting to promote the show rather they put the focus on identity politics instead.

One “superfan” stated when asked to describe the trailer, “I also want to say representative because we’re getting like more diversity within this series. Like we’re seeing our first black Elf. We’re seeing the first female Dwarf. I’m very looking forward to looking at that.”

Not only were these so-called “superfans” pushing identity politics rather than discussing Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, one of them later admitted to not even watching the show.

YouTuber Ryan Kinel discovered that Chanel Williams, one of the so-called “superfans,” did a video where she revealed she hadn’t even watched any of the show. She claimed she was going to binge it once its season ended, but also revealed she was watching House of the Dragon weekly.

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So if the people Amazon used to perform their study are anything like their so-called “superfans” they flew into Mallorca to watch the trailer, their study is probably heavily skewed and some of them might not have even watched their show altogether.

However, that wasn’t even the biggest reveal that Sanders made.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 15: (L-R) Vernon Sanders, Head of Global TV of Amazon Studios, and Michael B. Jordan attend “The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power” Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere & Screening on August 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Prime Video)

He actually briefly discussed the Charlie Vickers’ Halbrand being revealed as Sauron in the final episode. While discussing Sauron, Sanders made it clear Amazon Studios and Prime Video are not listening to actual fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, who have made it abundantly clear the show is terrible, mainly, due to the fact that it completely threw Tolkien’s writing into the waste bin in favor of modern, woke sensibilities.

Sanders said, “One of the challenges for this show, when you are adapting something, is to tell the story that people are excited to see, but sometimes find ways to surprise them.”

“Sauron, I would argue the greatest villain of all time. And how do you get to know that person? How do you get to understand how they work? What are the layers there? And I think because of the way the story was told and because of the great performances of Charlie [Vickers] and Morfydd [Clark], I think audiences now have an insight whether he fooled them or whether they knew it the entire time, there’s a much more interpersonal human side of this character, and I’m so excited for people to see Sauron unleashed in season two,” he stated.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 15: Head of Global TV, Amazon Studios Vernon Sanders, Morfydd Clark, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke attends “The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power” Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere & Screening on August 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Frawley/Prime Video)

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Except, the show butchers the character of Sauron. They don’t show his actual fall, his chance at repentance, penance, and obedience, his rejection of it, and then his complete turning into a “reincarnation of Evil.”

Tolkien laid out Sauron’s character arc in Letter 131 to Milton Waldman writing, “In the Silmarillion and Tales of the First Age Sauron was a being of Valinor perverted to the service of the Enemy and becoming his chief captain and servant.”

Tolkien continued, “He repents in fear when the First Enemy is utterly defeated, but in the end does not do as was commanded, return to the judgment of the gods. He lingers in Middle-earth. Very slowly, beginning with fair motives: the reorganising and rehabilitation of the ruin of Middle-earth, ‘neglected by the gods’, he becomes a reincarnation of Evil, and a thing lusting for Complete Power – and so consumed ever more fiercely with hate (especially of gods and Elves).

“All through the twilight of the Second Age the Shadow is growing in the East of Middle-earth, spreading its sway more and more over Men – who multiply as the Elves begin to fade,” the professor asserted.

Sala Baker as Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

By the time of the events of the Second Age that The Rings of Power portrays, Sauron has already chosen his path and has completely rejected forgiveness, repentance, penance, and obedience. His interpersonal side has been consumed by his hate and lust for power.

That’s not to say he doesn’t play the role of Annatar by deceiving the Elves and aiding them to create the Rings of Power. He clearly does this in Tolkien’s work, and it is indeed a role that he plays fueled by his hatred and lust for power. He deceives the Elves and uses their own pride to aid them in the crafting of the Rings of Power and eventually The One Ring.

The Rings of Power completely casts this wildly interesting and intriguing story in the trash because they claim they wanted to “surprise” people.

Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

However, they didn’t just want to “surprise” people, they fell to the will of Sauron themselves and thought they could tell the story better than Tolkien. 

They can’t as the first season proves, and the fact that Sanders admits the focus on Sauron on the first season was try to humanize proves that. It also proves that despite whatever studies they have performed they are clearly not listening to Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings fans, but more importantly, they are not actually listening to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video Copyright: Amazon Studios

What do you make of Sanders’ comments?

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