Warner Bros’ New Lord Of The Rings Movies Can Fix A Peter Jackson Trilogy Injustice


  • Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies didn’t adequately represent female characters, lacking diversity and sidelining important women in the story.
  • Warner Bros’ upcoming Lord of the Rings remakes have the opportunity to improve diversity and provide more accurate narratives that address criticisms from the original films.
  • Amazon’s The Rings of Power series has already shown that Middle-Earth can be more diverse, featuring strong female protagonists and black actors in important roles, setting a precedent for the main franchise to follow.

Although many people consider Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy to be perfect, there’s one glaring injustice that can thankfully be fixed in the upcoming revival from Warner Bros. The new adaptations are coming following New Line Cinema’s acquisition of the rights for books such as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit,’ which comprise the majority of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth saga. While the stories have admittedly been adapted before, these new versions give the studio an opportunity to try and resolve the criticisms that have been brought against the originals.

Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was immensely popular in the early 2000s, with each movie performing reliably well at the box office and Return of the King specifically going on to win the Best Picture Award at the Academy Awards. The trilogy was a cultural phenomenon experienced worldwide, but there are still some issues with the films that need to be addressed. These new remakes have the opportunity to provide fans with more accurate stories and even narratives that were cut from the Lord of the Rings movies.

Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings Movies Didn’t Do Enough For Female Characters

Galadriel pouring water from a pitcher in The Lord of the Rings.

One of the biggest criticisms that have been brought against Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies is their mistreatment of female characters, with the majority of the cast being comprised of men. The few women that are included in the story are often sidelined or portrayed as less important, which many audiences have taken as a refusal of diversity. Characters such as Galadriel and Arwen are hugely important aspects of the Lord of the Rings narrative, but their characters are only given brief moments to shine throughout Jackson’s movies. There are also plenty of iconic female characters in Lord of the Rings that simply aren’t included in the films at all.

While this is obviously a problem that deserves to be addressed, it’s an issue that actually started in Tolkien’s novels — not just the movies. The Fellowship has always been comprised of exclusively male characters, with the story’s other big names (Elrond, Saruman, etc) also being men. As such, it was impossible for Jackson to include more diversity in his cinematic adaptations without completely rewriting Tolkien’s stories —and that would’ve caused even more uproar among long-time fans.

Warner Bros’ New Lord Of The Rings Movies Must Improve Diversity

Elrond speaks to the Fellowship in Lord of the Rings

Thankfully, these new adaptations are the perfect opportunity for Lord of the Rings to finally achieve the right level of diversity. It’s been two decades since Jackson’s trilogy was released, and the film industry has progressed massively since then — there are so many more opportunities for female actors in big-budget blockbusters than there used to be. The fantasy genre itself has also changed a lot, with many authors normalizing the idea of powerful female protagonists that can be just as strong and powerful as the men that most audiences are used to.

Because of that, now seems like the perfect time for a more diverse take on such an iconic story. Many fans have also taken to fan-casting Lord of the Rings with entirely female casts, which proves just how ready and anxious people are to see themselves reflected in the world of Middle-Earth. And for those audiences that value the integrity of Tolkien’s work over a more progressive cast — Jackson’s trilogy isn’t going anywhere.

The Rings Of Power Already Proved Middle-earth CAN Be Diverse

LOTR Rings of Power ep 5 Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir

Amazon’s The Rings of Power series already proved that Middle-Earth is much more diverse than it was displayed in Jackson’s movies. Not only did the series feature a strong female protagonist, but it also featured several Black actors in the story’s most important roles. Characters such as Arondir, Disa, and Sadoc were all played by Black and Latino actors, proving that diversity in Lord of the Rings isn’t just possible but surprisingly easy. There’s no reason that Warner Bros’ upcoming remakes can’t do the same thing.

Now that The Rings of Power has set a precedent for diverse casts in Middle-Earth, it would be disappointing if the main franchise didn’t follow the same route. There’s no way of defending an all-white cast now that it’s been proven that different races exist within Middle-Earth and female protagonists can be just as powerful and compelling as male ones. It would be a major step back for the franchise if The Rings of Power was the only property to acknowledge this.

The Curious Case Of Tauriel – LOTR’s Diversity Catch-22

Tauriel looking sad in The Hobbit

The one aspect that’s still holding The Lord of the Rings remakes back from achieving full diversity is that Tolkien’s books simply aren’t that diverse. The writers would need to change the story and introduce new characters to make a better situation— and it’s been proven before that this doesn’t always work. One of the many differences between The Hobbit movies and the book was the inclusion of characters that didn’t necessarily belong there — and their scenes often felt forced and out of place. The movies even had to create the character of Tauriel just to avoid being too male-focused, but she never really fit into the story.

Why Diversity Is Important In Lord Of The Rings’ Movie Future

Eowyn looking over her shoulder in The Lord of the Rings

This creates an important decision for the Lord of the Rings remakes, forcing them to choose between promoting diversity and sticking true to Tolkien’s works — and it’s important that they choose the former. The underlying principle of Lord of the Rings, no matter how male-focused that original trilogy is, has always been the ideas of togetherness and championing difference. None of those characters could’ve succeeded without the help and loyalty of the others, and it’s this positive message that made Tolkien’s original books so popular — so why isn’t it being applied to the actors involved in the movies?

People will throw around false accusations of diverse casts being ‘woke,’ but it’s hugely important for audiences to see themselves in these kinds of stories. The fantasy genre has always been a place for people who might not feel accepted by the world around them, so it needs to be a welcoming space for people of all genders or ethnicities. It’s hard to preach this message when the majority of the cast is made up of white men. There already exists a version of this story that’s authentic and stays true to Tolkien’s works, and it deservedly went on to huge success – now it’s time for a more diverse attempt.

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