Hobbits will be returning to Middle Earth for Amazon Prime‘s upcoming streaming epic, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but they won’t be the same homebodies from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that fans are used to. Instead, the show’s creators J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are taking viewers back to the fabled Second Age of legends of Middle Earth, thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, and are introducing fans to the Harfoots. More specifically, The Rings of Power will introduce Sadoc Burrows of the Harfoots, portrayed by Lenny Henry.
Staying true to Tolkien lore, Payne and McKay consulted the source of Middle Earth’s history to find a race of beings that could bring back the iconic Hobbits to a world where they didn’t quite exist yet. Enter the Harfoots, an ancestral breed of Hobbits. According to an interview with Empire, Henry says, “We’re a nomadic tribe, moving with the weather and the fertility of the crops. We have big caravans on wooden wheels and we’re very good at hiding things, because humans are much bigger than us and bring trouble.”
The Harfoots clearly have similarities to the Third Age Hobbits like Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, including their signature big furry feet and shorter statures, but these beings don’t have a fixed home like the Shire. Henry says that the Harfoots will be “the traditional Tolkien little guy,” for The Rings of Power, providing the more comedic elements of Middle Earth while also being “incredibly brave.” Henry stated:
“Traditionally, the little people in this world provide comedy but also get to be incredibly brave. You’re going to see us run the full gamut of emotions and actions in this adventure”
English actor and comedian, Henry began his career when he won a televised talent show, landing him a role on the TV sitcom series The Fosters as Sonny Foster. With a Har-foot in the door, Henry filmed his own stand-up comedy movie Lenny Henry: Lenny Live and Unleashed in 1989, putting him on the map for Walt Disney. Other credits include Chef!, Penelope, The Pirates! Bands of Mischief and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Henry also spoke about how the role of Sadoc Burrows provides not only a prominent role for people of color but a space in the fantasy genre, as well. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” Henry says, “Finally, in this show, kids are going to see people of color taking up space in the center of a fantasy series. We’re very visible in this world and that’s very exciting.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon Prime on September 2.