The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power executive producer Lindsey Weber confirms the Prime Video series will feature female orcs.
Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will offer the first proper depiction of female orcs in Middle-earth.
The Rings of Power recently revealed a first look at its depiction of orcs, revealing several images of the notorious fantasy villains. What’s more, during an interview with IGN, executive producer Lindsey Weber offered an interesting tidbit when asked about her favorite moment from the upcoming fantasy series. “There’s some female Orcs that I truly loved,” she said.
According to Jamie Wilson, who worked on director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy and now serves as the head The Rings of Powers‘ prosthetic department, the orcs seen in the Prime Video series are rather fresh-faced — at least, in comparison to the orcs seen in Jackson’s films. “The way I described it to my team, it’s a bit like these are the baby versions. They’re not actually babies, but it’s them coming out from the darkness,” Wilson said. Notably, The Rings of Power is set during the Second Age, thousands of years before the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“So this is early on,” Wilson continued. “So for example, if you go to past films about them, you’ll see them and they’re quite battle damaged and scarred and all that kind, because there’s been lots more battles. This is kind of before the next range of big battles. So there’s a lot more smooth texture. There’s still wrinkles, and lines, and shape, and form, but they’re not so battle scarred, but they are dealing with some skin conditions because of their exposure to the sun. They’re coming back out for the first time again. So it’s all a bit new. That’s why they’re not as dark skinned, necessarily not as muscle-y and not as battle worn as you’d seen in previous productions.”
While the works of J.R.R. Tolkien — most notably The Silmarillion — indirectly imply the existence of female orcs, the author never directly mentioned orc women in any of his stories. Furthermore, the orcs depicted in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and the subsequent Hobbit trilogy were exclusively male. However, Tolkien did confirm in a letter dated October 1963 that female orcs must have existed in Middle-earth. “There must have been orc-women,” he wrote. “But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known.”
In general, the origin of Middle-earth’s orcs is shrouded in mystery. The films state that the orcs were once elves that were “taken by the dark powers,” as well as “tortured and mutilated.” Meanwhile, Tolkien’s Silmarillion postulates that Morgoth (aka Melkor) bred orcs from captured elves during the First Age — though Tolkien himself ultimately rejected this idea on the grounds that Morgoth “could not ‘create’ living ‘creatures’ of independent wills.” Tolkien entertained other ideas, such as orcs being made from beasts, or that they were perhaps “corruptions of Elves (and probably later also of Men).”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Friday, Sept. 2 on Prime Video.
Noah E. Dominguez is a news editor at Comic Book Resources who joined the site as a news writer in the summer of 2018. He even writes features on occasion. He has also written for sites like WhatCulture and Gaming Access Weekly (formerly Gamer Assault Weekly), and holds a degree in mass communication. What will he do next? Stay tuned. You can follow him on Twitter at @NoahDominguez_