In unrelated posts on Instagram, Evangeline Lilly and Nazanin Boniadi announced they are stepping away from acting after being in high profile, but separate, Middle-earth franchise projects.

Tauriel finds her dharma

Evangeline Lilly played Tauriel in The Hobbit trilogy of films, becoming a fan favorite and inspiring some of the best cosplay of that era. She had lines around the block for her SDCC signings at the Weta Workshop booth and became a champion for the fangirl experience.

She parlayed the success of The Hobbit into a title role as The Wasp in the MCU Marvel Cinematic Universe. But being a part of two giant franchises bears a heavy burden. Lilly was on the receiving end of much online criticisms about those movies. As the only main female character in The Hobbit – a book that does not feature any women – she stepped up into a creative situation with everything to prove. Tauriel is now generally appreciated by fandom, but it was a hard-earned.

Instead of wanting to be the people I admire, I now find myself rooting for them. Instead of wanting to compete with my peers, I now want to see them succeed. Instead of seeing little merit in the young, I want to invest in them.

Evangeline Lilly, on IG

On instagram, LOST fans found an old video from her breakout role describing where she wanted to be in 10 years – “Retired.”

Bronwyn chooses an activist life

Nazanin Boniadi, an accomplished Iranian actress who fans were excited about in the lead up to the debut of Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, posted on Instagram about her reasons for leaving the show.

To everyone’s surprise, THR broke the story that Boniadi would not be returning for Season 2 of ROP. Sources in the article claimed she was leaving acting and the show to commit full time to her activism work on behalf of Iranian women. But hours later, Boniadi posted to IG to correct the record, stating “This was unrelated to my subsequent decision to prioritize my advocacy,” and that leaving the show was intentional.

The values I have held most dear are honesty, empathy and integrity.  My character Bronwyn was committed to these same ideals in striving for a fairer world, which is why I connected so deeply with her.

Nazanin Boniadi, via IG

The casting process of Prime Video’s The Rings of Power was met with celebration – and some small but loud online vitriol. It’s been no secret that actors of non-white descent received a large amount of negativity directed toward them — including death threats and phone hacking, creating an unsafe environment. There have historically been those dark corners of internet discussion, even going all the way back to Ian McKellen being accused of ruining Tolkien’s story because he was a gay actor playing Gandalf. McKellen eventually responded to the online trolls in his personal blog. But true devotees of Tolkien’s writings understand the core themes of The Lord of the Rings: there is strength in diversity of experience and variety of personhood. LOTR fans continue to embrace the ever-growing casts of these adaptations with open arms. To this blogger, Nazanin’s exit from The Rings of Power is a huge loss to the show.

Deadline reported that the role of Bronwyn has not be recast, unlike the recasting of Adar and – during filming of S1 – of Celebrimbor. Then eagle-eyed fans watching the recent ROP trailers spotted a funeral pyre and Bronwyn’s son Theo crying.

Join the biggest, most active LOTR Discord where fans celebrate all things Tolkien here.