Fans are fickle in nature, considering that messing about with their favorite franchises can bring about praise or it can bring about a fury that is rather petulant and tiresome. The latter definitely emerged when Rings of Power debuted on Amazon for its first season, and the divisive feeling never went away as the season went on to finally conclude with the reveal of Mordor and its dark lord, Sauron.
Despite the impressive landscapes and interesting characters, many fans did not appreciate the idea of playing fast and loose with one of the greatest franchises ever created. Some found it difficult to watch this series for various reasons, not the least of which was the changes to several characters or the addition of characters that Tolkien never intended to include in the first place.
It could be stated, as usual, that a story has to change in order to appeal to a more diverse crowd, but there were moments in Rings of Power that felt a bit forced, while there were other moments that felt like chances lost that could have been used to advance the narrative and perhaps appease several more fans that had already deemed this series to be a wash. It’s easy to think that season 2 will be greeted by a divided fanbase as well, if only because expectations have been significantly lowered due to the first season.
The race of certain characters, unfortunately, had something to do with the fan reaction.
It’s an ugly and unfortunate mess to step into, but many people took issue with people of color taking various roles in this prequel series and were seen to argue quite vehemently on this matter. In an attempt to see both sides of this matter, it can be argued that the story is not meant to exist in a vacuum where only white-skinned individuals might exist. However, it can be stated that much like other stories, Tolkien’s likely took place in a geographical location where people of color were not prevalent and therefore weren’t as firmly represented.
Seeing people of color in various roles in this series was interesting, to be certain, though it does raise several questions that would need to be answered, such as where the various people of color went in the years that followed this story. Those in charge would need to create a lengthy explanation, and possibly narrow it down, of where these individuals went in the time between this story and the original trilogy or reboot the entire trilogy itself.
Season three is already being teased and might create an even stronger fan reaction.
Given that the fan reaction to the first season was not overwhelmingly positive, it does stand to reason that season 2 will need to wow people in ways that even the first season wasn’t capable of doing. The visuals in season 1 were amazing in many ways, but it does feel as though the overall story and presentation fell flat more than once.
Many have already spoken out on what could have happened differently, what they enjoyed, and what they thought was rubbish, and a general consensus is that not following Tolkien’s overall vision is what made season 1 stand out in a less-than-positive light. However, what is interesting to think about is how Tolkien might have reacted to the season had he been around to see it.
Like many fanbases, those who love LoTR can be temperamental regarding the franchise.
Without attempting to insult anyone, LoTR fans are akin to Star Wars, Star Trek, and even MCU and DCU fans when it comes to their intense love for their selected franchise. Trying to alter anything or misrepresent a character, a kingdom, or anything that is seen as sacrosanct by the fans is bound to meet with the type of backlash that can seriously damage the reputation of the series, especially if nothing is learned from it.
At this time, it feels as though a radical change would not be the appropriate response simply because it might continue to stoke the ire of the fans. But it does feel as though seasons 2 and, possibly, 3 will need to cater to the fans in one way or another to right this particular ship so that it might continue unabated and with only the expected criticism to contend with.
If season 3 is being teased, one has to wonder how far along season 2 is with filming.
At this time, it would appear that the second season of Rings of Power won’t be making its way back to the small screen until 2024, which means that season 3 might not arrive for another few years if it does at all. Nothing is set in stone at this time, and it’s fair to imagine that the fan reaction to season 2 will have some impact on the third season.
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