In the hallowed Hall H at Comic Con 2014, Peter Jackson said a lot of things. One of the things that I found most interesting was his confirmation that there are indeed scenes from LotR that we’ve never seen. And apparently it’s going to stay that way.
This comes as no surprise to most of us fans who have been around for a decade and more. There were scenes in trailers, production stills, and even official photos that never seemed to make it into the movie. Some of it was clearly b-roll. Other things, not so much.
Please note that some of the content of this post is supplied by Gramma Boodawg’s excellent library. Be sure to check it out–there’s lots in there that I didn’t include.
A Wise Change
Arguably the most famous “missing” scene is Arwen at Helm’s Deep. Scenes were most certainly shot, but they were cut out of the film. I’ve heard a lot of reasons for this change. Jackson thought the fans would be too angry, the script went in a different direction, and, the one I find most amusing, Liv Tyler just wasn’t cut out for sword play.
The featurette on The Two Towers extended edition entitled “From Book to Script: Finding the Story” covers a lot of info about this element of the story. According to Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson, none of these reasons is exactly right. The idea of Arwen showing up at Helm’s Deep was a carry-over from the original spec script that they were using to sell to studios. They needed to have a way to keep Aragorn and Arwen together, in order to keep their relationship central to Aragorn’s character. (In fact, this was so important early on that Liv Tyler spent a lot of time training on swordplay and horseback riding.)
As time went on, Jackson and Boyens realized that it just wasn’t working. They eventually found better ways to put Arwen into the story. This is when they started writing flashbacks that show Aragorn and Arwen together before Aragorn left Rivendell. Liv Tyler had a wonderful comment on this change, “You don’t have to put a sword in [Arwen’s] hands to make her strong.”
The decision was a wise one. Not only did it anger fewer fans, but it made Arwen stand out from other movie heroines. It also made her different from Éowyn. When you compare Arwen’s strength, patience, and hope with Éowyn’s despair, Éowyn seems almost childish. (Not to say that Éowyn was childish–hers was certainly a hard, lonely life that could drive anyone to despair.) Because Arwen stands out as a unique, beautiful character, it makes it easier for the audience to understand Aragorn’s reactions to Éowyn.
A Sad Change
While Arwen’s transportation to, and subsequent removal from, Helm’s Deep is one of the more well-known scenes, there is a different scene that I mourn greatly: Faramir and Éowyn’s wedding. There doesn’t seem to be any footage of the scene, but I distinctly remember reading a report from Ain’t It Cool News (which is looking a leeeetle dated now) on the filming of this scene. This report has apparently no longer available (which is odd), but a number of people still have the text of the report.
The lack of resolution for Éowyn’s character and for Faramir’s character is one of the biggest holes in the films. So much time is spent on her initial relationship with Aragorn that leaving out her relationship with Faramir really injures her story arc. Viewers become invested in her and her love life. Faramir is put through the wringer, particularly in RotK, and sympathetic viewers want things to work out well for him. While I appreciate that the filmmakers had a lot of stories to tie up, the decision to cut out this really hurt the film by cutting out the resolution for two of the most pitiable characters.
The LotR trading card game (TCG) that Decipher published offers insight into other might-have-been scenes and characters. It’s unclear whether some of the cards were merely created for the sake of having more characters or if the characters portrayed actually had some potential to make it into the film. (If anyone knows, please leave a comment and let me know!)
Glorfindel actually has two cards in the Decipher TCG. He seems to be portrayed by the same actor in each card. The portrayal is *ahem* disappointing, at best. Instead of the fair, fearless Elf warrior Tolkien portrays in the books, we get, well, that guy. I remember reading someone commenting online years ago that he looks like Legolas’s dorky younger brother. Honestly, this is on the level of the Beast turning into the Prince.
Tom Bombadil is another character missing from the films who shows up in the card game. His portrayal is actually pretty good. It’s consistent with a lot of the artistic depictions of Tom, particularly with my favorite.
You can’t have Tom Bombadil without his fair lady Goldberry. Although less of a let-down than Glorfindel, she is rather lack-luster. She seems kind of…old. Her facial structure is similar to Cate Blanchett’s which is kind of confusing. She seems to be lacking the joy and mirth that is characteristic of both Tom and Goldberry.
Will We Ever See Them?
Apparently, Peter Jackson said that it is unlikely there will ever be a super-duper extended edition. If my understanding of entertainment law is correct, however, he doesn’t have all of the rights to the films. If the studios figure out that there’s (lots) more money to be had releasing this footage (whether edited into the film or not), then I think there’s an excellent chance that we will see it eventually. I, for one, am holding out hope of one day seeing Faramir and Éowyn’s wedding!
Photo Credit: Coley Christine Catalano