Elijah Wood did a complete about face when discussing the prospect of new The Lord of the Rings movies from Warner Bros. Discovery.
Wood previously joined what appeared to be an organized campaign to accuse Tolkien fans of racism and harassment for simply demanding respect for Tolkien’s legendarium in Prime Video’s The Rings of Power series.
The official The Lord of the Rings on Prime Twitter account accused Tolkien fans and supporters of racism. They posted a statement that read, “We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity and against the relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis. We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it.”
Next, they added, “JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. Rings of Power reflects that. Our world has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in Middle-earth and they are here to stay.”
“Finally, all our love and fellowship go out to the fans supporting us, especially fans of colour who are themselves being attacked simply for existing in this fandom,” they added. “We see you, your bravery, and endless creativity. Your cosplays, fancams, fan art, and insights make this community a richer place and remind us of our purpose.”
“You are valid, you are loved, and you belong,” they concluded. “You are an integral part of the LOTR family — thanks for having our backs. Namárië.”
This statement came in response to a host of criticisms that the show was ignoring Tolkien’s legendarium with specific criticisms noting the numerous changes to the race of certain characters specifically Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves.
One of the biggest critics was YouTuber Just Some Guy, who opined in one of his videos criticizing The Rings of Power saying, “he point of Tolkien’s stories is to be English in design and effect. And Middle-earth reflects that in its cultures, languages, and the appearance of its races. To change this, to remove the Englishness, or really the whiteness from Tolkien’s stories is to undermine the very purpose of his works.”
“It should be obvious that this will result in the backlash, but for some reason after watching fans reject every attempt at playing politics with major franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and the MCU, Amazon decided to inject progressive politics into their show along with playing loose and fast with the lore. And we’re shocked when fans gave them the one finger salute,” he added.
Wood joined in these accusations levied by Prime Video, whether by ignorance or full knowledge, by sharing t-shirts with The Lord of the Rings On Prime’s slogan, “You Are All Welcome Here.”
He posted to Twitter, “You Are All Welcome Here.” He went on to tag the official Lord of the Rings On Prime Twitter account before sharing a photo of him wearing a shirt with the slogan written in Elvish with a number of different ears in different colors. He posed alongside Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd who played Merry and Pippin in the Peter Jackson-directed adaptation of Tolkien’s novels.
Wood has completely changed his tune in a recent interview with GQ, now hoping that the recently announced The Lord of the Rings films from Warner Bros. Discovery will respect Tolkien’s writings.
First, Wood told the outlet, “I’m fascinated and I’m excited. I hope it’s good. I’m surprised—I don’t know why I’m surprised because, of course there would be more movies.”
He continued, “Obviously at the core of that, is a desire to make a lot of money. It’s not that a bunch of executives are like, ‘Let’s make really awesome art.’ And, again, not begrudging anybody because, of course, it is commerce. But great art can come from commerce. So those two things are not mutually exclusive.”
“But Lord of the Rings didn’t come out of that place,” he declared. “It came out of a passion for these books and wanting to see them realized. And I hope that that is ultimately what will drive everything forward with whatever these subsequent movies are.”
“I just hope that it’s the same motivating factor at its core, whenever they hire a screenwriter and a filmmaker—that it is with reverence for Tolkien’s material and enthusiasm to explore it,” Wood asserted.
Warner Bros. Discovery announced they would be creating new The Lord of the Rings films back in February during the company’s Q4 2022 Earnings call.
CEO David Zaslav said, “Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Mike [de Luca] and Pam [Abdy] signed a deal to make multiple Lord of the Rings movies. Lord of the Rings is one of the most iconic storytelling franchises of all time. And we’re so excited.”
Following Zaslav’s announcement Abdy and De Luca told Variety detailing that New Line Cinema and director Peter Jackson “took an unprecedented leap of faith to realize the incredible stories, characters and world of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen … but for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien remains largely unexplored.”
Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode, the comany that holds the rights to The Lord of the Rings films also added, “Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we’re thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of J.R.R. Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways.”
“We understand how cherished these works are and working together with our partners at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, we plan to honor the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values,” he said.
What do you make of Wood’s about face?