MultiVersus is an enormous collaboration that includes popular Warner Bros. properties, so it's no surprise that Lord of the Rings was expected to get representation sooner or later. However, after the Season 1 update, there's reason to believe that the characters of Middle Earth won't grace the game after all.
Reliable MultiVersus leaker on Twitter by the username @multiversusie revealed that they could no longer find files within the MultiVersus code that previously hinted towards the inclusion of Lord of the Rings. Susie could not find the Eye of Sauron trophy, Barad-dûr is seemingly nowhere to be found within the reflection of Trophy's Edge anymore, and the Hobbiton and Mordor tracks are no longer in the files.
This could simply mean that the MultiVersus developers are being a little more careful about the unused files they upload to live versions of the game, but considering the notorious difficulty any creator has to go through to get something approved from the Tolkien estate, fans are a little worried.
What's especially worrying is that a blurry tower that used to be in the background of Tower's Edge that could have easily been Barad-dûr has been redefined to look like a random tower. Removing files from deep within the game is one thing, but to go so far as to completely rewrite an obvious easter egg is another. It possibly implies that the developers are attempting to scrub the game of Lord of the Rings entirely.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is set to come out next month, and although it's one of the most popular franchises in history, it's clear how reserved the Tolkien estate is in regards to adaptations since this is only the third major adaptation the series has seen. It's also well known that the Tolkien estate has to pretty much sign off of any and all shifts in canon within the series, so we imagine they were pretty involved with the series.
The challenges MultiVersus might face trying to implement Lord of the Rings into the game is hard determine. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor got away with featuring its own non-canon interpretation of the world, so perhaps MultiVersus could do something similar. Regardless, if this is all true, it would be pretty disappointing. I was excited to see Gandalf and Legolas fighting Bugs Bunny or Batman, but that might not happen after all.