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The Lord of the Rings could have been down one hobbit by the trilogy’s end.
Franchise stars Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd are using their new podcast The Friendship Onion to divulge a number of behind the scenes details about the blockbuster films, which first hit theaters in 2001 with the release of The Fellowship of the Ring. Among the many things Monaghan and Boyd, the actors behind Merry and Pippin, respectively, have revealed is a potential character death that director Peter Jackson successfully evaded.
In an interview with IGN, the two actors share that at one point, Jackson was facing pressure “from above” to kill off one of the film’s four leading Hobbits — Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry. This would have marked a significant pivot from what Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his own series, in which all four Hobbits survive. Ultimately, Jackson rejected the producers’ ask, ensuring each of the beloved characters made it to the end of the trilogy.
While discussing the possibility of which Hobbit might have been axed had Jackson actually agreed to the request, Monaghan said it would have “definitely” been him, before breaking down exactly why.
“It’s a good job that didn’t happen because it would have been me,” he said. “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.”
While the actor said he was “thankful that didn’t happen,” he also offered up some reasoning for Jackson’s refusal to kill one of the four characters, saying the director “stuck by his guns.”
“I think Pete quite rightly was like, ‘This is a luminary piece of written work, and we need to stick close to the text,'” Monaghan said.
During a recent appearance on The Late Show, the duo also revealed that Lord of the Rings writer and expert Philippa Boyens had written in a “gag” after the actors had been “winding people up and having a bit of fun” themselves on set. The scene would have involved the two characters tumbling down Treebeard after the Ent shakes his branches.
As it was explained to them, “It makes you guys fall and as you hit all the branches on the way down, by the time you hit the ground, you’re naked,” Boyd told host Stephen Colbert.
The duo shared the anecdote after a fan petition was started to “keep nudity out” of the upcoming Amazon series, following reports that it might feature nudity.
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