Film adaptations of beloved books are often dreaded by fans because they often tend to detract from the magical vision of the author, with films like Eragon and the Percy Jackson series being perfect examples of this phenomenon.
When it was first announced that there would be adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien’s magnum opus The Lord of the Rings, many were doubtful about the validity of the project. However, to Peter Jackson’s enormous credit, the Lord of the Rings films are magnificent exceptions to the general rule.
Cited by many as one of the greatest trilogies ever made, Jackson handled the enormous task of translating Tolkien’s ambitious and sprawling vision to the cinematic medium quite effectively. The final instalment of the trilogy – The Return of the King – won big at the Oscars, receiving a record number of 11 Academy Awards.
The films document the grand journey that Tolkien wrote about in his books, following the dangerous adventures of members of a peace-loving species called Hobbits who get caught up in the eternal cycle of power and destruction.
Due to the enormous popularity of the Hobbits among fans, Jackson even made The Hobbit – another film series that told the stories of these interesting creatures. The series was based on Tolkien’s eponymous 1937 novel, with Jackson drawing inspiration from his Lord of the Rings films as well.
Franchise stars Dominic Monaghan (who played the role of Merry) and Billy Boyd (Pippin) have shared interesting facts about the film’s production on their podcast called The Friendship Onion. In a recent interview with IGN, Monaghan revealed that the producers were pressuring Jackson to kill one of the Hobbits: “It’s a good job that didn’t happen because it would have been me.”
Adding: “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. 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.”
Fortunately, Jackson did not deviate from Tolkien’s original vision and ensured that the Hobbits made it through the entire ordeal just like the author had imagined. A major reason behind the success of the trilogy is its devotion to Tolkien’s genius which inevitably adds to the cinematic magic.