‘Rings of Power’ Cast Slams Racist Backlash at Monte-Carlo Television Festival, Teases ‘Action-Packed’ Season 2

Speaking at Monte-Carlo Television Festival Sunday, cast members from the fantasy series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” expressed their feelings about the racist trolls who objected to the Prime Video show’s diverse and inclusive casting when it first launched.

Last month, Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays the Elven warrior Arondir, told Variety that Prime Video provided an on-set therapist to help the actors deal with the racist backlash against its casting. He revealed it wasn’t just attacks on social media. “My phone got hacked. I had bank account attempts of being hacked. My PayPal got hacked. My friends got messages. I got death threats. I got things mailed to me. People found out my address. It was a lot of that,” Córdova recalled.

Asked by Variety at Monte-Carlo Television Festival on Sunday about how they viewed the racist trolls, the cast differed slightly in their response. Owain Arthur, who plays the Dwarven kingdom’s Prince Durin IV in the series, spoke with passion about the issue. “I mean, it is infuriating. Like, you go: ‘Oh, God, really? Are we still there as a human race?’ That drives me wild… The guys have been through a lot — to be on the receiving end of things — and I hope one day, we will, as a human race, just be one. I mean, it sounds kind of maybe pathetic or dramatic what I’m saying here, but, genuinely, just stop racism.”

Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays Míriel, Queen Regent of Númenor, expressed her desire to move on from the subject.

“What I’m looking forward to, as we move on to Season 2, is allowing that conversation to be in the past and just plow ahead,” she shared. “When you have progress, it’s like we’re not going to go backward from the things that we’ve established. I’m ready to acknowledge it and move on from it, because I think we’ve kind of said all there is to say, really. I know that I have.”

Addai-Robinson and Arthur were accompanied in Monaco by Lloyd Owen, who plays Númenor’s Captain Elendil, and Maxim Baldry, who plays his son, Isildur.

The cast are sworn to secrecy when it comes to Season 2, but they did share some pointers. Arthur said: “Darkness has fallen. Let’s say that. We’re all going through a big journey in Season 2. We know that Sauron is here.”

Baldry added: “I’d say it’s a little more action packed. There’s a lot more action.”

Arthur responded: “Yeah, it is certainly quicker and there’s more happening.”

“We all know that Sauron has been revealed at the end [of Season 1], and therefore what happens when that amount of evil is finally realized? Each person throughout the universe, throughout Tolkien’s world, is going to be affected by that,” Owen shared. “There’s always going to be a human choice as to what happens when you’re introduced to evil, and is there an inherent badness or darkness in you that will be revealed? Or will you move to the good side? So, everyone is going to be faced with a dilemma, a moral dilemma, and there are going to be some really difficult choices for each human to take.”

Asked whether there will be more on the father-son relationship between Elendil and Isildur, Owen shared that “every personal relationship is affected by obviously the political and the evil and how it changes and warps the mind.”

“Season 1 is really about an introduction,” Addai-Robinson stated. “You’re setting the stage for aspects of the story that are maybe a little bit more familiar to audiences, because we do know a little bit more of these next few things that happen, that will be part of Season 2… But there are a lot of people who have never read the books. They’ve never seen the movies. So that Season 1 setup really is, in my mind, it’s really for those people who are very new to Tolkien… So, Season 2, you’re going to see a lot of storyline start to come through.”

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