Out of all the book-based movies ever created, The Lord of the Rings trilogy in particular has left an indelible mark on fans’ hearts. Its unique storyline and perfect capturing of all the emotions earned the film series wide commendation and critical acclamation from audiences worldwide. But at one point, the entire trilogy was almost messed up because of a baseless demand by the studios to kill a major character just to jack up the stakes further.
While killing an important character would have done more bad than good, filmmaker Peter Jackson refused to give in to New Line and bid farewell to the precious character in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, thus not only saving the book-based movies but also creating a legacy that will forever be remained as a priceless memory.
New Line Wanted To Eliminate This Major Character From The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings is undeniably one of the most spectacular pieces from the entertainment industry – and a rather emotional one as well. Yet, despite being emotional enough, New Line found it to not be good enough, thus putting forward a request, which, in simple terms, said: “Someone’s gotta go.”
Speaking with IGN, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, who played the two hobbits Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took respectively, shared how the studios wanted to bid adieu to one of the hobbits by the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to add more sadness to the already emotional movie.
“It’s a good job that didn’t happen because it would have been me,” Monaghan laughed. “It definitely would have. There’s no way they are killing Frodo and Sam, and the only ones that would be left would be Merry and Pippin. They wouldn’t kill Pippin because Pippin has a really strong story with Gandalf. It would have definitely been me.”
Thankfully, that didn’t end up happening, because Director Peter Jackson wasn’t willing to give in to the studio’s demands.
“I think Pete quite rightly was like, ‘This is a luminary piece of written work, and we need to stick close to the text.’ So, he stuck by his guns. Yeah, I’m thankful that didn’t happen.”
Yet, that wasn’t the only character that New Line just wasn’t content with: Ian McKellan as Gandalf was on the line as well.
Ian McKellan As Gandalf From The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Was Almost Nixed As Well
In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Line intended to have some serious star power included to naturally gear up their game. For this, they set foot on one particular casting: that of Gandalf. As it turns out, the studios wanted Sean Connery to take up the part and didn’t budge even when Peter Jackson insisted on getting Ian McKellan for the role.
Thus, the offer to play Gandalf went to the late beloved Connery, with all hope that he would accept it. But as the events unfolded, the studio was left nothing short of disappointed and… heartbroken, perhaps? This is because the renowned James Bond star not only rejected the offer but also made fun of the seemingly absurd-to-him script publicly during a press conference.
Stunned at the betrayal and angered at Sean Connery’s wits, New Line ended up letting filmmaker Jackson take over the casting process, and just like that, Ian McKellan was finalized for playing Gandalf. And, for what it’s worth, the actor did such a tremendous job that now fans can’t imagine anyone else playing the character but him in one of the best film series to ever be created.