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On December 17, 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the final film in the trilogy based on the best-selling fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, opens in theaters. The film was a huge box-office success and won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, for Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings trilogy became one of the highest-grossing franchises in movie history, netting billions of dollars worldwide in box-office proceeds and related merchandise.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in Blomfontein, South Africa, and raised primarily in England. He graduated from Oxford, served in World War I and went on to become a linguist and professor at Oxford. One day when Tolkien was grading exam papers, he reportedly was inspired in a moment of boredom to write across the top of one page, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” From there, he began developing the story into his novel The Hobbit, which was first published in 1937. A sequel, The Lord of the Rings, was published in three volumes between 1954 and 1955. The books are set in a place called Middle Earth and revolve around the adventures of a hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who must destroy a powerful ring and save the world from evil.
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels produced legions of fans around the world and were was adapted for radio, television and theater. He died at the age of 81 on September 2, 1973, in Bournemouth, England, almost three decades before his work was adapted into the blockbuster big-screen trilogy directed, co-written and co-produced by Peter Jackson. Shot in New Zealand, the trilogy starred Elijah Wood as Frodo, along with a large ensemble cast that included Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett.
On December 19, 2001, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the highly anticipated first film in the trilogy, debuted in theaters around the world. The film received 13 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor (McKellen)and collected four Oscars, for Visual Effects, Cinematography, Makeup and Music (Original Score). The second movie in the series, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, opened in theaters on December 18, 2002, and received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released in theaters on December 17, 2003; it swept all 11 Oscar categories in which it was nominated.
Peter Jackson, born on October 31, 1961, in Pukerua Bay, New Zealand, first gained notice in Hollywood as the director and co-writer of the 1994 true-crime drama Heavenly Creatures, which co-starred Kate Winslet. In addition to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson directed and co-wrote 2005’s King Kong, with Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody and Jack Black, 2009’s The Lovely Bones and 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (as well as its two sequels).
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson, based on the 1954 novel The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The film is the first instalment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Jackson, Fran Walsh and Tim Sanders, and written by Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Jackson. The film features an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, and Andy Serkis. It was followed in 2002 by The Two Towers and in 2003 by The Return of the King.
- 10 December 2001 ( 2001-12-10 ) (Odeon Leicester Square)
- 19 December 2001 ( 2001-12-19 ) (United States)
- 20 December 2001 ( 2001-12-20 ) (New Zealand)
Set in Middle-earth, the story tells of the Dark Lord Sauron, who seeks the One Ring, which contains part of his soul, in order to return to power. The Ring has found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins. The fate of Middle-earth hangs in the balance as Frodo and eight companions (who form the Fellowship of the Ring) begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed.
The Fellowship of the Ring was financed and distributed by American studio New Line Cinema, but filmed and edited entirely in Jackson's native New Zealand, concurrently with the other two parts of the trilogy. It premiered on 10 December 2001 at the Odeon Leicester Square in London and was theatrically released worldwide on 19 December 2001. The film was highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike, who considered it to be a landmark in filmmaking and an achievement in the fantasy film genre. It grossed $860.5  million worldwide in its initial release, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2001 and the fifth highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release.  Following subsequent reissues, it has as of 2021 grossed over $897 million. 
Viggo Mortensen calls 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy a 'mess'
Thirteen years since the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, star Viggo Mortensen isn’t holding back in expressing his true feelings for the Peter Jackson trilogy. In a candid interview with The Telegraph, the 55-year-old actor calls the process of making the epic films an epic disaster.
Mortensen, who portrayed Aragorn in the trilogy, says Jackson and producers “were in a lot of trouble” before the first film proved to be a massive hit with both critics and moviegoers. “Officially, [Jackson] could say that he was finished in December 2000 — he𠆝 shot all three films in the trilogy — but really the second and third ones were a mess,” Mortensen says. “It was very sloppy — it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.”
All three LOTR films were nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards, with the final installment, The Return of the King, taking that top prize, as well as a best director statue for Jackson. But Mortensen has a decidedly different take on the quality of the films. He believes The Fellowship of the Ring is the best movie in the franchise, in part because Jackson relied less on special effects for that outing.
“Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back,” Mortensen says. “In the first movie, yes, there’s Rivendell, and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes it’s grittier.”
Mortensen says the llooning” of Jackson’s reliance on CGI began with the second film, The Two Towers, and has increased with each subsequent project. “It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10,” Mortensen says.
Mortensen has deliberately chosen more character-driven fare since LOTR launched him into global superstardom, and had hopes that Jackson might return to his small-film roots as well.
“I was sure he would do another intimately scaled film like Heavenly Creatures, maybe with this project about New Zealanders in the First World War he wanted to make,” Mortensen says. 𠇋ut then he did King Kong. And then he did The Lovely Bones — and I thought that would be his smaller movie. But the problem is, he did it on a $90 million budget. That should have been a $15 million movie. The special effects thing, the genie, was out of the bottle, and it has him.”
Mortensen does not appear in Jackson’s Hobbit films, the final of which is set to hit theaters Dec. 14. The actor’s newest film, The Two Faces of January (co-starring Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac) premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival in February.
Bilbo and the Dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug sets Laketown ablaze. Bard breaks out of prison, and eventually kills Smaug with the black arrow. Smaug's falling body crushes the Master of Laketown and his cronies, who were escaping on a boat with the town's gold. Bard becomes the new leader of Laketown and guides its people to seek refuge in the ruins of Dale. Thorin, having become possessive of the vast treasure in the mountain, searches obsessively for the Arkenstone, which Bilbo had previously found but kept hidden. Upon hearing that Laketown survivors have fled to Dale, he orders the entrance of the Lonely Mountain sealed off.
Meanwhile, Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman arrive at Dol Guldur and free Gandalf, sending him to safety with Radagast. They battle and defeat the Nazgûl and then face a formless Sauron himself. Galadriel defeats him in a duel of wits and banishes him and his forces to the East. Azog, marching on Erebor with his vast Orc army, sends his son Bolg to Mount Gundabad to summon their second army. Legolas and Tauriel witness the march of Bolg's army, bolstered by Orc berserkers and giant bats.
Thranduil and an Elf army arrive in Dale to reclaim a treasure once withheld from them by the Dwarf king Thrór. Bard asks Thorin for the share of gold previously promised to the people of Laketown, but Thorin refuses. Gandalf arrives at Dale to warn Bard and Thranduil of Azog, but Thranduil dismisses him. Bilbo sneaks the Arkenstone out of Erebor and hands it over to Thranduil and Bard, so that they can trade it for the promised treasures and prevent a battle. Thorin angrily refuses the proposal, while Bilbo chides him for letting greed cloud his judgement. Thorin nearly kills Bilbo but is stopped by Gandalf. Thorin's cousin Dáin arrives with his Dwarf army, and a battle of Dwarves against Elves and Men ensues, until Azog's army arrives. The forces of Dáin, Thranduil and Bard, along with Gandalf and Bilbo, immediately band together against the Orcs. A second front is opened when the Orcs attack Dale, forcing Bard to withdraw his forces to defend the city.
Inside Erebor, Thorin suffers traumatic hallucinations before regaining his sanity and leading his company to join the battle. He rides with Dwalin, Fíli, and Kíli to kill Azog Bilbo follows them, using his magic ring to move through the combat unseen. Meanwhile, Tauriel and Legolas arrive to warn the Dwarves of Bolg's arrival. Azog kills Fíli as Bilbo and the other Dwarves are forced to watch. Bolg overpowers Tauriel and then kills Kíli, who had come to her aid. Legolas battles Bolg and eventually kills him. The Great Eagles arrive with Radagast and Beorn, and the Orcs are finally defeated. In the climax, Thorin engages Azog in a duel and kills him, but is fatally wounded in the process. Bilbo makes peace with the dying Thorin, while Tauriel mourns Kili, with Thranduil acknowledging their love. Thranduil advises Legolas to seek out a Dunedain ranger in the north who goes by the name Strider. Thorin is buried with the Arkenstone along with Kili and Fili, and Dáin is crowned king.
As Thorin's company settles back into Erebor, and Dale begins to recover with Bard as the leader, Bilbo bids farewell to the company's remaining members and journeys home to the Shire with Gandalf. As the two part ways on the outskirts of the Shire, Gandalf admits his knowledge of Bilbo's ring and warns him of it, although Bilbo assures him that he had lost the ring. Bilbo returns to Bag End to find his belongings being auctioned off because he was presumed dead. He stops the sale and starts tidying up his home, revealing he still possesses the ring. Sixty years later, Bilbo receives a visit from Gandalf on his 111th birthday.
Additionally, Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis's daughters made cameo appearances as girls rowing away during Smaug's attack movement coach Terry Notary and stand-in Jamie Haugh appear as Laketown refugees after the destruction Conan Stevens, who was to play Bolg, appears as the Keeper of the Dungeons, an Orc captain holding Gandalf hostage and the sons of key second assistant director Guy Campbell, casting director Miranda Rivers, and Weta Workshop founder Richard Taylor appear as Hobbit children during the auction scene.
The Hobbit was originally envisaged as a two-part film, but Jackson confirmed plans for a third film on 30 July 2012, turning his adaptation of The Hobbit into a trilogy.   According to Jackson, the third film would contain the Battle of the Five Armies and make extensive use of the appendices that Tolkien wrote to expand the story of Middle-earth (published in the back of The Return of the King). Jackson also stated that while the third film would largely make use of footage originally shot for the first and second films, it would require additional filming as well.  The third film was titled There and Back Again in August 2012.  In April 2014, Jackson changed the title of the film to The Battle of the Five Armies as he thought the new title better suited the situation of the film.  He stated on his Facebook page, "There and Back Again felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo's arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived 'there' in the Desolation of Smaug."  Shaun Gunner, the chairman of The Tolkien Society, supported the decision: "The Battle of the Five Armies much better captures the focus of the film but also more accurately channels the essence of the story." 
As with all the previous films, Howard Shore composed the score. Conrad Pope (who conducted the orchestra) and James Sizemore orchestrated the music for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and for two Gamelan orchestra, while the London Voices and Tiffin boys’ choir were recorded in AIR Lyndhurst, London. The score featured a few new themes for Dain, Gundabad (featuring a "chorus" of didgeridoos) and the Dwarves' war preparations, but focused more on blending and clashing the themes against one another, eventually bringing the themes to a resolution. 
Billy Boyd, who played Peregrin Took in The Lord of the Rings, wrote and recorded the song "The Last Goodbye" to be played over the end credits of the film. 
A teaser trailer for the film was released on 28 July 2014 attached to Guardians of the Galaxy, Into the Storm, and If I Stay. The second theatrical trailer was released on 6 November 2014 attached to Interstellar and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.   To promote the film's release, Wellington-based association football club, Wellington Phoenix, wore a special designed jersey to commemorate the opening of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. The custom, film-themed jersey was worn only once, on 13 December 2014.  In the film's Japanese release on 13 December, Warner Bros. collaborated with mobile gaming company A-Lim to bring Bilbo, Gandalf, and Legolas into the game Brave Frontier at the end of December as Vortex Dungeon units. The campaign only ran until February 2015.    Smaug made a guest appearance, animated by WETA and voiced again by Cumberbatch, on the satire show The Colbert Report on 12 December 2014 to promote the film. 
Video games Edit
Two video games were developed to coincide with the theatrical release. A tie-in fighting video game The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies – Fight for Middle Earth was released simultaneously with the film for Android and iOS platforms to negative reviews from critics and users. An action-adventure video game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 & Xbox One in October 2014 and for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 21 November, nearly a week prior to the world premiere in London, on 1 December. The events of the game take place directly after Sauron fled to Mordor, escaping The White Council, which was shown at the beginning. The game was planned to act as an overlap between The Hobbit film series and The Lord of the Rings film series.
Theatrical release Edit
Initially the film was set for a July 2014 release however, it was later pushed back to December.  The world premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was held in London at Leicester Square on 1 December 2014.   The film opened in cinemas on 11 December 2014 in New Zealand, on 12 December in the United Kingdom and on 17 December in the United States. Warner Bros released the film on 18 December in Greece and 26 December, in Australia.   The film was released in China on 23 January 2015.  An extended edition of the film had a one-night-only re-release on 13 October 2015, accompanied by a special greeting from Peter Jackson. 
Home media Edit
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released on 6 March 2015 on Digital Release from digital retailers. The DVD and Blu-ray were released on 24 March 2015 in the United States.     It topped the home video sales chart in its opening week.  An Extended Edition of the film, with 20 minutes of additional footage and original music was released on Digital HD on 20 October and on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on 17 November 2015 in the United States and on 23 November 2015, in the United Kingdom.   
The Battle of the Five Armies was released in Ultra HD Blu-ray on 30 November 2020 in the United Kingdom and on 1 December 2020 in the United States, along with the other films of the trilogy, including both the theatrical and the extended editions of the films. 
Unlike the theatrical version's PG-13 rating, the Extended Edition was rated R by the MPAA for "some violence".  It was likewise rated MA15+ by the Australian Classification Board for "strong fantasy violence"  and the BBFC granted a 15 certificate for "strong violence", the only Middle Earth film with such ratings. 
Box office Edit
Like its predecessors, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies became a financial success. It grossed a total of $255.1 million in the US and Canada and $701.4 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $956.5 million.  Worldwide, it is the second-highest-grossing film of 2014 (behind Transformers: Age of Extinction), and the lowest-grossing film of The Hobbit series.    Deadline Hollywood calculated its the net profit to be $103.4 million.  The film failed to earn $1 billion at the box office, despite various pundits projecting it to reach that milestone. The Hollywood Reporter said that The Battle of the Five Armies was unlikely to gross $1 billion worldwide due to "plunging exchange rates around the globe" witnessed that year, and that Warner Bros. and MGM ultimately would take in nearly $90 million less than expected due to the rising dollar and plunging foreign currencies.  However, despite this failure, Forbes has declared the trilogy "an unmitigated financial grand-slam for all parties". 
US and Canada Edit
In the US and Canada, it is the lowest-grossing of the three films of The Hobbit trilogy,  and also the lowest-grossing of the six Middle-earth adaptations,  but the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2014.  It opened on 16 December 2014 across 3,100 theatres and widened to 3,875 the following day.  It earned $11.2 million from Tuesday late-night shows, which is the second-highest of 2014, matching the numbers earned by Guardians of the Galaxy and both behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($17 million) of which $2.5 million of just over 22% came from IMAX showings. This broke the record for a Middle-Earth adaptation preview previously set by The Desolation of Smaug with $8.8 million.     It then topped the box office on its opening day (Wednesday, 17 December 2014), earning $24.5 million (including previews),   which is the third-highest Middle-Earth adaptation Wednesday opening behind the Wednesday openings of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($34.5 million) and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ($26.2 million).   In total, the film earned $57.4 million in its traditional three-day opening and $89.1 million over its five-day course making it the second-biggest five-day opening in The Hobbit franchise, beating the $86.1 million opening of The Desolation of Smaug, but still behind An Unexpected Journey's $100.2 million five-day opening. However, on a three-day basis, the film under-performed expectations and fell short of its predecessors.   The film set a December IMAX opening record with $13.4 million (previously held by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol).  3‑D accounted for 49% of the total gross while IMAX generated 15% or $13.4 million over five days, and $7.4 million over three days, and premium large-format screens comprised 8% of the total opening-weekend gross with $7.2 million from 396 theatres.   The film passed the $100 million mark on its seventh day (23 December 2014).  It became the third film of 2014 to earn $100 million in just under a week following Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($168.7 million in its opening week) and Disney/Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy ($134.4 million in its first week).  It was in first place at the US and Canadian box office for three consecutive weekends despite facing competition from numerous releases each weekend,   but was finally overtaken by Taken 3 in its fourth weekend.  
Other countries Edit
The film began its international roll-out a week prior to its wide North American release.  It opened on 10 December 2014 in 11 European markets, earning $11.3 million and 11 December 2014 in 17 additional markets, earning $13.7 million, for a two-day total of $26.6 million and topped the charts in each of the territories.    Through 14 December 2015, it had an opening weekend total of $122.2 million from 37 countries in 15,395 screens,   topping the box office and outperforming the previous two instalments on a local currency and admissions basis.  Seventy-one percent of the total gross ($86.7 million) came from 3‑D showings.  However, the opening weekend was still lower than the openings of An Unexpected Journey ($138 million)  and The Desolation of Smaug ($135.4 million)  — both on a dollar basis. It set a December IMAX opening record with $6.4 million across 160 IMAX screens, previously held by An Unexpected Journey with $5.03 million.  The film opened to an additional 59 countries in its second weekend and earned $109 million from 19,315 screens still holding the top spot and fell gradually by 13% as a result of facing minor competitions.   In its third weekend, the film added a further $89 million, remaining at number one.  It was in first place at the box office outside North America for four consecutive and five weekends in total.  
The film achieved numerous records during its opening weekend. It set an all-time Warner Bros. opening record in Russia ($13.8 million),  Argentina ($2.1 million),  Sweden, and Finland.  It also set a 2014 opening record in Germany ($20.5 million),  France ($15.1 million),  and Spain ($6.3 million).  It also had the best Middle-earth saga opening in the UK ($15.2 million),  and Mexico ($6.3 million).  In Brazil, the film scored the second-biggest Warner Bros. opening of all time with $6.8 million (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2).  In Australia, the film was released on 26 December 2014 and set an opening-day record with $5.6 million, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($7.092 million), The Avengers ($6.0 million), and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($5.9 million).  It went on to earn $10.1 million in its opening weekend.  The film set an all-time opening record for Warner Bros. in China where it earned $49.8 million in its opening weekend (a record previously held by Pacific Rim).    IMAX generated $6.8 million of the total gross, which was once the second-highest IMAX three-day gross behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ' s $10 million.  Other high openings were recorded in Korea ($10.4 million), Poland ($5.6 million), Italy ($5.6 million), Malaysia ($3 million), and Taiwan ($2.8 million).   In total earnings, its largest markets are China ($121.7 million), the UK, Ireland & Malta ($61.3 million), and Australia ($27 million). 
Critical response Edit
MTV reported that early reviews for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies were "generally positive" with critics praising "its energy, shorter running time and satisfying closure".  According to IBT, reviews were mostly positive, with critics "praising director Peter Jackson's effort at transforming J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel into an epic adventure film trilogy".  According to CBS News, critics said the film "will satisfy fans" but "otherwise, it may be worth waiting until it's available to rent".  Oliver Gettel of the Los Angeles Times said the critical consensus was that the film is "a flawed but fitting finale to The Hobbit trilogy".  The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 59% approval rating based on 261 reviews, with an average rating of 6.30/10. Its consensus reads "Though somewhat overwhelmed by its own spectacle, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ends Peter Jackson's second Middle-earth trilogy on a reasonably satisfying note".  The film also holds a Metacritic score of 59 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".  In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, the same score as its predecessor. 
Scott Foundas of Variety said "The result is at once the trilogy's most engrossing episode, its most expeditious (at a comparatively lean 144 minutes) and also its darkest—both visually and in terms of the forces that stir in the hearts of men, dwarves and orcs alike."  Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said "After six films, 13 years and 1031 minutes of accumulated running time, Peter Jackson has concluded his massively remunerative genuflection at the altar of J.R.R. Tolkien with a film that may be the most purely entertaining of any in the collection."  Andrew Pulver of The Guardian said "This film is a fitting cap to an extended series that, if nothing else, has transformed Tolkien's place in the wider culture."  Chris Tilly from IGN Movies said "There's a little too much padding in the final Hobbit flick, and the best sequence is without doubt the film's first. But the central battle is indeed spectacular, and as 'The Age of Orc' approaches, it rounds out this particular story in stirring and emotional fashion."  Russell Baillie of The New Zealand Herald said The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is "something less than the supposed 'defining chapter' of Jackson's time in Middle-earth as it's been billed. But action-wise, it certainly goes out with a very pleasing bang." 
Conversely, Inkoo Kang of TheWrap said "The 144-minute running time showcases Jackson's worst tendencies: eons-long battle scenes, sloppy and abrupt resolutions, portentous romances, off-rhythm comic timing, and, newly in this case, patience-testing fan service."  Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph described the film as "a paragraph on steroids" that was "neither very terrible nor remotely unexpected. It's a series of stomping footnotes in search of a climax."  The BBC's Nicholas Barber wrote that with The Hobbit series, Jackson had succeeded in bridging the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and that The Battle of the Five Armies was a "colossal technical achievement", but he also criticised the film for not being compelling because of "its repetitive battle scenes and a lack of plot".  Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times said "Bilbo may fully learn a sense of friendship and duty, and have quite a story to tell, but somewhere along the way, Mr. Jackson loses much of the magic." 
Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings Series is Focusing its Massive Budget on Huge World-Building
The Best Moments in The Lord of the Rings Movies
Of course, the connections that War of the Rohirrim will carry to The Lord of the Rings films should already be apparent. After all, The Two Towers saw Saruman stoke the historical enmity of the Wild Men of Dunland, coaxing them to raid and burn the villages in Rohan’s Westfold. Plus, besides the fact that a statue of Helm Hammerhand is prominently shown in the film’s still-impressive longshots of Helm’s Deep, the king’s aforementioned horn was used to its historic effect by Gimli just before King Théoden—at the verge of defeat—was coaxed back into the battle by Aragorn to break open the gate and ride through the sieging forces of Uruk-hai, leading to the eventual victory. Thus, Théoden’s famous quote about the horn of Helm Hammerhand—which likely went over the heads of most moviegoers—will be given poignant context here.
So, while details about the actual plot are still unknown, we do have a general idea of the story War of the Rohirrim seeks to adapt. While it may be a lofty task, it’s one for which Carolyn Blackwood, Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, and Richard Brener, President and Chief Creative Officer, New Line Cinema express excitement.
Does The Lord of the Rings Series Have a Hidden Title?
Amazon Prime Video New Releases: May 2021
Contextually, HBO’s Game of Thrones, which was by far the most popular television series of the fantasy genre, made headlines in 2019 for the $90 million it spent on the abbreviated, six-episode eighth and final season, which made it the most expensive television series in history on a per-episode basis (although, the 10-episode season 6 cost $100 million). Yet, the onscreen woes of Westeros were never long for that title, since the story of Amazon’s gestating billion-dollar show was already a year old by the time Thrones aired its finale. Additionally, Amazon’s $465 million for The Lord of the Rings season 1 even triumphs in an apples-to-apples comparison with the highest-grossing movie of all-time, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which worked off a $356 million budget, but went on to gross $2.8 billion globally. One has to wonder if Salke and her cohorts at Amazon Studios believe that Rings—widely beloved as the franchise may be—has an earnings potential that’s even remotely close to that.
That question, of course, could be answered—at least partially—as soon as the last quarter of 2021, which seems to be a feasible window for Amazon to premiere The Lord of the Rings pilot, which, under the direction of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s J.A. Bayona, was completed several months ago. However, fans remain concerned over its appointment of an untested pair of showrunners in J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, a notion exacerbated by recent reports of behind-the-scenes tumult over clashing visions for translating Tolkien to television. In what has become a red flag to fans, the once-auspicious tenure of Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman came to an abrupt end even before the pilot wrapped, and key consultants like renown Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey reportedly left in an uproar. Additionally, March’s controversial exit of cast member Tom Budge might have left a dent in its nevertheless-impressive onscreen ensemble as production continues on the series.
Regardless, fans of the beloved IP remain excited to see how Amazon’s spendthrift habits will make The Lord of the Rings manifest in streaming small screen form. As of now, the company has yet to even reveal a proper title for the series, much less unveil a trailer or drop a release date. However, as we head to the middle of 2021, a surprise on this front seems destined to occur soon enough.
The Fourth Age & The Dominion of Men Began
The Elves were the most prevalent race in the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth. This began to change in the Third Age, when the power of the Elves began to wane. In the beginning of the Third Age, the Elves started to leave for Valinor, though many of them remained in various regions of Middle-earth. What was next for the Elves and the fate of Middle-earth was teased by Gandalf at the end of The Return of the King when Gandalf said, "For the time comes of the Dominion of Men, and the Elder Kindred should fade or depart."
Gandalf's prediction was proven correct when the remaining Elves left the Middle-earth for the Undying Lands when the Three Rings lost their power as a result of Sauron's defeat. The departure of the Elves ushered in the dawn of the Fourth Age, which is characterized by the Dominion of Men. Also, the Dwarves began to die off in the Fourth Age, since women only made up a third of their population, and Dwarven females often chose not to marry. So over time, the Dwarves' contributions to the world were forgotten, leaving humanity the most important race remaining on the face of Middle-earth.
- (THOME VI) The Return of the Shadow (1988) begins with the initial composition, and goes through to the episode in the Mines of Moria.
- (THOME VII) The Treason of Isengard (1989) continues to the meeting with Théoden king of Rohan.
- (THOME VIII) The War of the Ring (1990) continues to the opening of the Black Gate.
- (THOME IX) Sauron Defeated (1992) finishes the story, which only takes about 1/3 of the volume. The remainder consists of The Notion Club Papers, and another draft of the Drowning of Anadune.
In general, the books are organized as chapters corresponding to the chapters in the final LotR, with additional chapters describing the "First Map", the "Second Map", and other matters. Each chapter begins with some context, then the text of a first or second draft, possibly some alternate drafts if there were especially large changes, and interspersed with extended discussion of confusing or contradictory situations. The end of each chapter includes a set of notes about points of interest, such as words that were used originally and then partially erased or struck out.
While much of the plot of early drafts is familiar, the characters are often quite different. For instance, Aragorn in his "Strider" guise is called "Trotter" instead - and he's a hobbit instead of a man - and he has wooden feet - because he had once been to Mordor and been tortured there. The hobbits travel east initially because that was the part of the world that had been mapped out, because of The Hobbit, and that the areas to the south were literally being mapped out only a few miles ahead of the fellowship.
Of particular interest to fans is the dropped Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings, in which a middle-aged Samwise Gamgee is reading the story to his children.
Three of the titles of the volumes of The History of The Lord of the Rings were also also used as book titles for the 7-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the Shadow for Book I, The Treason of Isengard for Book III and The War of the Ring for Book V.
Fans of Elijah Wood will love him in the horror-comedy "Cooties" (2014).
Summary: In the horror-comedy "Cooties," contaminated chicken nuggets cause a zombie-like epidemic as elementary-school students turn on their teachers (Wood, Alison Pill, and Rainn Wilson).
Why you'll like it: Wood was only 18 years old when he earned the starring role as hobbit Frodo in "The Lord of the Rings." Since then, the actor has transcended genres with performances in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) and on the FX comedy "Wilfred."
"Cooties" showcases Wood's capability as a comedic actor and will likely please fans who loved the campier, more humorous aspects of "The Lord of the Rings" films.
The surviving members of the Fellowship have split into three groups. Frodo and Sam face many perils on their continuing quest to save Middle-earth by destroying the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Merry and Pippin escape from the Orcs and must convince the Ents to join the battle against evil. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas encounter a mysteriously transformed Gandalf and battle Saruman's army at Helm's Deep.
In the Mines of Moria, the wizard Gandalf the Grey battles the Balrog of Moria on the Bridge of Khazad-dum in an attempt to allow the Fellowship of the Ring to escape. Gandalf casts the Balrog into the chasm below, but the demon pulls him down with it the Fellowship believes he is dead, but he continues to fight the creature as they fall down into a huge subterranean lake in the depths of the Earth. Days later, the Hobbit Frodo Baggins continues his journey with his loyal friend, Sam, through the hills of Emyn Muil. One night, the creature Gollum, wishing to retrieve “his precious” (the One Ring), attacks them. The Hobbits capture him, but Frodo understands the burden of the Ring and takes pity on the creature. Realizing they are in need of a guide, Frodo persuades Gollum to lead them to the Black Gate of Mordor.
In Rohan, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are in pursuit of the Uruk-hai, who are journeying back to Isengard with the hobbits Merry and Pippin as their captives. Meanwhile, King Théoden, the king of Rohan, is being held under a trance by Gríma Wormtongue, who is secretly in the service of Saruman the White. Saruman is working towards the demise of Rohan. Orcs and the Dunlendings, incited by Saruman, are freely roaming the land, burning villages, massacring the Rohirrim people and destroying crops. In an attack on one of the villages, a mother sends her two children on horseback to Edoras to warn the King of the attacks. Recently, the King's only son Théodred fell victim to them, left mortally wounded in an ambush. Théoden's nephew Éomer interrogates Gríma, labelling him a spy. Gríma, however, convinces the King to banish Éomer "on pain of death" for undermining his authority. Éomer sets forth to gather the remaining loyal men of the Rohirrim and leave Rohan. That night, Éomer's army ambush and kill the party of Uruk-hai, allowing Merry and Pippin to flee into the forests of Fangorn. There, they meet Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents of Middle-earth.
Frodo, Gollum and Sam watch the Black Gate
Frodo, Sam and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes, evading a Nazgûl riding on a winged beast. When they finally reach the Black Gate, they find it shut and heavily guarded by Orcs. However, as they watch, an Easterling contingent arrives and the gate opens for them to enter. Sensing a chance, Frodo and Sam get ready to move. However, Gollum, who confirms their fears of capture and insists that any attempt to get in via the Black Gate will only end with the One Ring returning to Sauron, holds them back. He then reveals that there is another way into Mordor, hidden and unguarded. Sam is immediately suspicious, but Frodo gives him the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that he has remained loyal thus far.
The Rohirrim attack the Uruk-hai of Saruman
Éomer later encounters Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in Rohan. He tells the group that there were no survivors of the battle with the Uruk-hai the previous night, indicating that Merry and Pippin were accidentally slain. Upon arriving at the battle site, Aragorn picks up the tracks of the hobbits and the trio follows them into Fangorn. There they are approached and temporarily subdued by a wizard masked with shining white light. Initially fearing it is Saruman, the group are amazed when he reveals himself to be Gandalf reborn (after defeating the Balrog in a battle that cost him his life). Gandalf reveals that he is now known as Gandalf the White. The quartet proceed to Edoras, where they exorcise Saruman's hold on Théoden and banish Wormtongue. The now awakened Théoden has to come to terms with both his son's death and the threat of Saruman. Rather than risk open war and further harm to his people (especially after seeing the two exhausted children who finally arrived from the village), Théoden decides to flee to Helm's Deep, a large stronghold in the Mountains. Gandalf realises that Helm's Deep's defences will not survive the Uruk-Hai onslaught that is surely to come. He leaves to find Éomer, promising to return within five days with the 2,000 banished riders. As they lead the people of Edoras to Helm's Deep, Aragorn and Éowyn (Éomer's sister) form a close relationship. Aragorn tells Éowyn that Arwen, whom he loves, is leaving Middle-Earth to be with her people in the Undying Lands. In the meantime, Wormtongue has fled to Orthanc and informs Saruman of a weakness in the outer wall of Helm's Deep, which Saruman and his army of 10,000 Uruk-hai plans to exploit. Saruman dispatches his army to Helm's Deep, ordering them to spare no one. The 10,000-strong Uruk-hai besiege Helm's Deep in the night.
Different routes taken in The Two Towers in throughout Middle-earth. Routes shown in yellow (Merry & Pippin), green (Aragorn et al.) and blue (Frodo & Sam)
Having led the Hobbits south from the Black Gate to the land of Ithilien, Gollum is in turmoil, torn between his loyalty to Frodo and his all-consuming need for the Ring. The three travellers then play witness to an ambush of Southrons by Rangers of Ithilien, who take Frodo and Sam prisoner. Meanwhile, on the journey to Helm's Deep, the Rohirrim are attacked by Saruman's Warg riders. During the battle, Aragorn is thrown off a cliff into a fast-flowing river below: Theoden, Legolas, Gimli and the others believe him dead and journey on to Helm's Deep. Elrond comes to his daughter Arwen and implores her to leave on the ships departing Middle-Earth, escaping the troubles of these lands. When she refuses, Elrond, in a devastating speech, uses his powers of foresight and reveals the darkness of Arwen's future if she chooses to remain in Middle-earth with Aragorn. As he is mortal, Aragorn will eventually die even if he becomes King of Gondor, leaving Arwen to fade away with her grief when he is gone. Once again, Elrond pleads with her and she yields to him. As she leaves Rivendell, the words of Galadriel, concerning the plight of Men to defy Sauron, come to Elrond in that moment. She questions whether the Elves should wash their hands of Middle-Earth and points out that the Ring has maneuvered itself into the company of Men, which it can easily corrupt. Galadriel asks if they should abandon Men to their fate, even if it condemns Middle-earth to fall under Sauron's rule for all time.
Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam have been taken to Henneth Annûn, a stronghold for the Men of Ithilien, and brought before Faramir, Boromir's younger brother. Gollum had evaded capture and, in order to save him from death at the hands of Faramir's hunters, Frodo accepts that he and Gollum are bound to each other. Faramir investigates further and learns of the One Ring that Frodo carries. Seeking to prove his worth to his father, Denethor, he decides the Ring shall go to Gondor. In Rohan, Aragorn washes up on the riverbank and is nudged awake by the horse Brego, which formerly belonged to Théodred, and which Aragorn had set free before leaving Edoras. On the verge of collapse, he wills his horse to take him to Helm's Deep, passing Saruman's army of Uruk-hai on the way. His arrival at Helm's Deep is met with relief, but is short lived as the news of the approaching Uruk-hai horde casts doubt upon the survival of the defenders. As night falls, a battalion of Elves led by Haldir arrives from Lórien, bearing word of alliance and aid from Elrond. In Fangorn forest, Merry, Pippin, Treebeard and other Ents hold a council to decide on the role of the Ents in the war with Saruman.
The battle of Helm's Deep begins with a flurry of arrows from the defending archers, cutting down dozens of Uruk-hai. Scaling ladders are thrown up against the Deeping Wall and the Uruks swarm up to engage the defenders. At first the onslaught is stayed by the valour of the Rohirrim and of Aragorn and his companions. Suddenly, two crude explosive devices that Saruman created, allowing the Uruks entry into the outer defences, blow up the gutter in the Deeping Wall. Despite Aragorn and Gimli's best efforts, the Uruks manage to penetrate the main gate and soon the stronghold is overrun. In the midst of battle, Haldir is slain and the few remaining Elves fall back. In the Hornburg, the Uruks have scaled the walls and have breached the gate, forcing the defenders to retreat into the Keep. In Fangorn, Treebeard and the other Ents have decided to not have any involvement in the war, deciding rather to "weather such things as [they] have always done". Despite this, Pippin manages to cleverly take Treebeard to the section of Fangorn that Saruman has recently decimated near Isengard. Treebeard is filled with rage at Saruman's betrayal and commands all the other Ents to seek vengeance. The Ents gather and embark upon 'the Last March of the Ents', straight into Isengard itself.
Meanwhile, as Théoden despairs in the besieged Keep, Aragorn refuses to give in and, remembering Gandalf's words before he left Edoras, takes Théoden, Legolas and the remaining Rohirrim on one last gallant ride to attack the Uruk-hai army in a desperate bid to allow the Rohirrim's women and children to escape into the mountains. The riders storm out of the Keep and cut their way through to the fortress gate. As the riders emerge into the mass of Uruks, the first rays of dawn fall down into the valley and upon the eastern hill, Gandalf appears, accompanied by Éomer and his men.
Isengard destroyed by the Ents
They rush down into the body of the stunned Uruks and rout them: the terrified Uruk-hai flee into Fangorn, where the Ents and their Huorn allies swiftly exact retribution. Meanwhile, the Ents are take control of Isengard. They destroy the remaining Uruk-hai population and release the dam placed upon the river Isen, which gushes forth into the plains around Orthanc, drowning the surviving Orc defenders, quenching the fires of its industry and flooding Isengard, and stranding Saruman in his tower.
Frodo encounters a Nazgul in Osgiliath
Away in the East, Faramir has had Frodo, Sam and Gollum taken to Osgiliath, a ruined city on the banks of the river Anduin between Mordor and Gondor where there is a Ringwraith, again on a winged beast. With the help of Sam and Faramir, Frodo narrowly escapes the Ringwraith's efforts to capture him and the Ring (it nearly cost Sam his life because the Ring tried to make Frodo kill him). In an inspired monologue as he watches the Ringwraith fly off (and as victory scenes from the two battles are seen) Sam reflects on the state he and Frodo are in, on how their story may yet come to have a happy ending. Frodo is doubtful of this (especially because he nearly killed Sam) but Sam insists that they must still hold on to what they are fighting for: each other, and the fulfilment of their quest. Approaching them from the throes of battle, Faramir overhears them and realises these unassuming hobbits have a high doom before them which he can no longer hope to interrupt. He sets them free and helps them on their way. After the battle of Helm's Deep, Gandalf and the others ride up on horseback and gaze towards Mordor, and now know inevitable things have been set in motion. As Gandalf puts it, "The battle for Helm's Deep is over. The battle for Middle-earth is about to begin." He remarks that hope now rests with Frodo and Sam, who have resumed their journey to Mordor with Gollum. Feeling betrayed by Frodo when he delivered him into the hands of Faramir's men, Gollum's darker self re-emerges and he decides to reclaim the ring by secretly leading Frodo and Sam to a creature he refers to only as "her", which Gollum's lighter self reluctantly agrees to and leads the hobbits on through the woods as Mordor is seen in the distance.
Lord of the Rings: Who Is Galadriel's Husband Celeborn?
Galadriel is one of the most iconic characters from The Lord of the Rings, but a lot less is known about her husband Celeborn.
Lady Galadriel is one of the most recognizable characters from The Lord of the Rings , thanks to her memorable performance by Cate Blanchett in Peter Jackson's film adaptations. Yet fans of the movies might not have initially recognized her husband Celeborn when he is introduced in The Fellowship of the Ring. Most viewers may not even remember his name by the end of the trilogy despite being one of the most respected elves in Middle-earth. Since Celeborn saw little screen time in the movies, here's a look at his history in Middle-earth as written by J.R.R. Tolkien.
As noted on Quora, while The Lord of the Rings novels don't go much into Galadriel and Celeborn's backstory, Tolkien outlined their origins in the prequel novel The Silmarillion, which Christopher Tolkien edited and published following his father's death. In that source, Galadriel was born to Finarfin and Earwen in Valinor before the First Age. Later, she arrived in Middle-earth, joining her brother Finrod in a rebellion against Morgoth, Sauron's mentor, who stole their kingdom's great jewels known as the Silmarils. Galadriel's time in Middle-earth eventually led her to Doriath, which was the kingdom of her great-uncle, Elu Thingol.
In Doriath, Galadriel met and fell in love with Celeborn, a kinsman of Thingol. That being said, how close in blood relation Celeborn and Galadriel are is up for debate, as Tolkien himself gave Celeborn different family backgrounds in both The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales . However, what's also notable is that Celeborn is the one who gives his wife the name "Galadriel," as her father called her Artanis and her mother called her Nerwen.
Following the fall of Morgoth and the dawn of the Second Age, Galadriel and Celeborn had a daughter named Celebrian, who ultimately married Elrond and gave birth to Arwen. During the Second Age, the couple moved around, and Galadriel was given Nenya, one of the Three Rings of the Elves in Eregion, before Sauron's forces invaded. In response, Celeborn -- who was considered one of the wisest Elves -- teamed up with Elrond and fought Sauron's armies while his wife stayed in Lorien. Later on, in the Third Age, they became the Lord and Lady of Lorien after the abdication of King Amroth, a role that they've held for over a thousand years by the start of The Fellowship of the Ring.
In the films, Celeborn last appears next to Galadriel and Elrond before they depart from the Grey Havens to the Undying Lands in The Return of the King. However, in the books, Tolkien writes Galadriel actually sailed for the Undying Lands a few years before Celeborn did, as she was more familiar with, willing to return to, the Undying Lands. Celeborn, on the other hand, was more comfortable being in Middle-earth, but that changed when he lived on his own and longed to reunite with his wife and daughter. Eventually, Celeborn also made the journey to the Undying Lands.
While little of Celeborn was shown in the Peter Jackson films, a younger version of the Elf Lord will likely appear in Amazon's Lord of the Rings series . Actor Morfydd Clark has already been cast as a younger Galadriel, and since the series is going to take place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, it's more than likely that Celeborn appear in some capacity. Considering Celeborn has hardly been explored despite being married to one of the most popular characters in the franchise, the Amazon series would be the perfect opportunity to develop his character.
Produced by Amazon Studios, The Lord of the Rings stars Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman. The series is expected to premiere on Amazon Prime in 2021.