“The orcs in particular, apparently, got quite the behind-the-scenes facelift for the new series. You go back 20 years and we used a basically foam latex, which is like a porous-y kind of rubbery, spongy material with a smooth or whatever textured surface,” Wilson says, describing the orc design elements from Jackson’s films. The design was “great at the time,” but near the end of production, a new form of silicon prosthesis came around that made the process much easier on Gimli actor John Rhys-Davies towards the end of filming.
The prosthetics manager says the ears, nose, and assorted pieces in “The Rings of Power” are made of “encapsulated silicon,” which is much more moveable than previous materials. “It also gets the same temperature as their skin. And you can see the translucency and then you gently paint on the top of it, a bit like doing makeup on a human,” Wilson explained to IGN. The old version, in comparison, was apparently more like painting layers atop rubber.
According to Galadriel actor Morfydd Clark, the show’s in-depth practical effects are among the most surprising behind-the-scenes elements. She told Collider that the actors were “really lucky that the orcs are all practical,” although it sounds like she wouldn’t trade places with orc actors, whose call time is earlier than everyone else’s. “Also a surprise was the fact that that means that you’re getting in there at 7:00 AM being like, ‘Gosh, it’s so early,’ and the orcs have been there since half midnight getting their prosthetics put on,” said Clark.