The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is one of the most beloved fantasy epics of all time, and for good reason. Director Peter Jackson paid close detail to J.R. Tolkien’s books to ensure that all three films faithfully adapted the classic tale. That precise attention clearly paid off, as the trilogy won 475 awards over the years. “The Return of the King” even won Best Picture at the Oscars, and rightly so — who else when Sam (Sean Astin) carried Frodo (Elijah Wood) up Mount Doom?
The franchise is still held up as a high bar for what special effects can do on the big screen, including the lasting legacy of Andy Serkis‘ motion-capture work as Gollum/Smeagol. The star went on to portray other characters using similar technology, like Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and its sequels. Some of the characters aren’t as visually impressive as Gollum, Sauron, or the various monsters that plague the Fellowship across the trilogy.
That doesn’t make them any less important — or does it? Studio executives supposedly wanted to kill off one of the main characters to up the emotional stakes of the quest to destroy Sauron. New Line Cinema didn’t want to kill Frodo or make any radical decisions, but it’s still surprising that the studio wanted to make a drastic change to the source material.