Eddie Makuch, Gamespot, October 12, 2021
Actor Sir Lenny Henry has shared some new insight on Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV show, which will feature a diverse multicultural cast and a “very strong female presence.” Speaking to the BBC, Henry said he plays a Harfoot, a type of hobbit described by Tolkien in his writing as having darker skin.
“I’m a Harfoot, because J.R.R. Tolkien–who was from Birmingham!…–suddenly there were Black hobbits. I’m a Black hobbit. It’s brilliant,” Henry said (via WeGotThisCovered). “And what’s notable about this… it’s a prequel to the age that we’ve seen in the films and the books. It’s about the early days of the Shire and of Tolkien’s environment. So we’re an indigenous population of Harfoots. We’re hobbits but we’re called Harfoots. And we’re multicultural. We’re a tribe. We’re not a race.”
The Harfoots are also made up of a variety of other people from different backgrounds, Henry said. “So there are Black and Asian and Brown and even Maori-types within it. It’s a whole brand-new set of adventures that seeds some of the origins of different characters,” Henry explained.
Actor Ludi Lin, who played Liu Kang recently in the Mortal Kombat movie, previously called out Amazon for a lack of diversity in its upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV show.
One of the commonly cited issues with Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series from the early 2000s is its lack of diversity. Other major Hollywood franchises such as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones have been criticized for this as well.