… But casting multicultural actors isn’t at all contrary to the author’s underlying theme of disparate peoples joining forces to overcome hardship, Luke Shelton, a medievalist scholar and editor in chief of Mallorn, the Tolkien Society journal, tells Fortune, adding that he personally supported it. Academic researchers have debated the undertones of institutional racism in Tolkien’s works, he added, and his society held its first seminar discussing topics related to diversity in Middle-earth last year.
“I think a lot of fans are pushing back against where the show may be going, because it conflicts in some cases with their mental image of Middle-earth,” he said.…
I never really understood the importance of representation until a woman with Asian heritage told me she broke down crying when she saw another Asian actor in Laketown,” Shelton told Fortune, referring to a town in Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. “For a story she loved so much, it felt as if she finally had a place in Middle-earth.”