“Unsurprisingly, Jacksonville, Florida is in Mordor.”

This map of Middle Earth, overlaid with a map of the U.S., shows how far Bilbo had to travel in The Hobbit and how far Frodo and Sam had to travel in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

It just struck me that back in my 1980s high school days, only hardcore nerds would have gotten this joke because only they would’ve recognized the references. A lot has changed — even 15 years ago, you had to know who the Fellowship of the Ring were if you wanted to be cool. Today, mainstream audiences know not just what orcs are; they’ve even heard of once-obscure characters like Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon, and Thanos are.

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