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The Rings Of Power's Ismael Cruz Cordova Almost Played A Key GotG3 Character

Ismael Cruz Córdova is no stranger to the Hollywood scene. The Puerto Rican actor made his first on-screen appearance nearly two decades ago, and since that time, he has shown up in various projects, including "Ray Donovan," "Miss Bala," and "The Mandalorian." However, it was Córdova's dramatic portrayal of the Sindarin Elf Arondir in Amazon Studios's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" series that truly launched the talented entertainer into the public eye.

Córdova revealed to Gold Derby that he auditioned multiple times for his position as Middle-earth's first non-royal Elf "from the bunch." He was rejected three times before finally convincing the casting team that he was born to play an Elf — a truth many fans have heartily endorsed after seeing him light up the screen in Season 1.

While Córdova fought for his role on the "Rings of Power" set, it isn't the only role he wanted to portray in a major studio production. In a recent interview with Variety, he also revealed that he was in the running to play none other than the MCU's most recent petulant, up-and-coming hero — Adam Warlock – in "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3."

"I really wanted that one," Córdova said, "but Will Poulter looks amazing doing it so I'm not mad. But that was a hard one because I love that whole storyline." Poulter's Warlock is a comedically spell-binding iteration of the character who is perfect for James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise. However, it's fun to think of what Córdova could have brought to the role if he'd had the chance to don Warlock's Sovereign-colored armor, red cape, and forehead stone and crash the party in the "Guardians" franchise and beyond.

Losing Warlock inspired Córdova and didn't dampen his MCU desires

The role of Adam Warlock may have slipped through Ismael Cruz Córdova's fingers, but rather than discourage him, it has inspired him to keep trying. It also isn't his last chance at MCU stardom. On the contrary, the actor reported that he has a very good relationship with Marvel's casting directors and they've reached out to him on multiple occasions.

"I always think that I haven't gotten those roles because they're keeping me open for the one that I want to do," Córdova explained to Variety. He also told the outlet that he would love to play Hector Ayala in the MCU. Ayala is the original iteration of Marvel's first Latino superhero White Tiger — a character who fights crime alongside other vigilantes like Spider-Man and Daredevil in New York City (which happens to be where Córdova currently hails from himself).

"I think that's just another character that's just fantastic," Córdova said, "I love characters that are improbable heroes that are people that have got the worst deck dealt. That is my story. And I find that is many of our stories. And life is not just this little journey of redemption. How many of us were bullied? How many of us were poor? How many of us cast away? How many of our identities were something that you couldn't be. A lot of us got cards that were a bad deck." Whether it's as White Tiger or someone else, it seems Córdova has his eyes set on Marvel's Cinematic Universe — and judging by his recent career momentum, he has a good shot of landing a role in a Kevin Feige-helmed project at some point along the way.

Poulter was almost in The Rings of Power

Buried amidst the Marvelous news of Ismael Cruz Córdova's near-miss in the MCU is the little fact that Will Poulter himself nearly landed on "The Rings of Power." Way back in September of 2019, it was reported that Poulter had landed a lead role in what was then simply referred to as "Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' series." While promising, Amazon never confirmed the casting, and not long afterward, news broke that Poulter would be dropping out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.

Talking to GQ in 2021, Poulter shed more light on the unfortunate turn of events. He didn't directly connect the withdrawal from "The Rings of Power" to his part in "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3." On the contrary, the way he explained it made it sound like two separate events.

Poulter said in reference to leaving the show, "As an actor, you're very used to things not going your way and having to adapt accordingly. I'm more used to things not going my way. So I just had to shake that one off, and I'm very grateful that on this occasion with Guardians I'm able to do it."

Apparently, Poulter and Córdova have similar tastes in film genres. While they were both gunning for the same character in the MCU, though, Poulter's original role on "The Rings of Power" wasn't as Arondir. Instead, he was in the running to play one of the character's fellow immortal Elves, young Elrond — a role that Robert Aramayo subsequently filled with aplomb.

Córdova is killing it as Arondir

While it could be fun to theoretically see Ismael Cruz Córdova in a cape and spandex fighting crime in an alternate universe, it's a bonafide fact that he looks hella good in Elvish armor wielding a bow. Arondir was one of the stand-out elements of "The Rings of Power" Season 1, especially when it comes to original characters. (Arondir isn't from the books and was invented for the show.)

Córdova brought Arondir's stoic personality to life. He used subtle facial expressions and measured vocal intonations to subtly portray what it is like to be a common Elf with an unending life span trying to react to the gravity of momentary drama and danger.

Arondir's character survived the harrowing events of Season 1, including a deadly scrape with Adar's Orcs and the violent destruction of Mount Doom. Last we saw him, he was heading to Pelargir with the surviving Southlanders. It will be interesting to see where the character goes in Season 2 and what new and exciting performances we get from Córdova in the process.