One of the ideas that filmmaker Peter Jackson toyed with for his The Lord of the Rings trilogy was to end the third movie on a much darker note. He said in his biography, Peter Jackson: A Film-maker’s Journey, that one of the ideas being tossed around was for Frodo to kill Gollum in cold blood.
The idea was that Frodo was so overwhelmed by the allure of the One Ring that he would kill Gollum to get it back when they were tussling at the Cracks of Doom. This was in fact more than an idea, as it turns out, as Jackson revealed that he actually filmed this version of the ending.
“When we originally shot the scene, Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger and Frodo pushed Gollum off the ledge into the fires below,” Jackson recalled (via Digital Spy). “It was straight-out murder, but at the time we were okay with it because we felt everyone wanted Frodo to kill Gollum.”
Footage of this scene has not been published anywhere. The reason why Jackson and his team decided to film a different scene–the one that is seen in the final cut–is because the earlier ending was “very un-Tolkien,” according to Jackson. “It flew in the face of everything that he wanted his heroes to be,” he said.
In the book, Gollum accidentally destroys the One Ring when he slips and falls into the lava of Mt. Doom after finally taking the ring back from Frodo. In the movie version, Frodo and Gollum get into a fight for the ring. Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger and briefly obtains the ring, dancing merrily for a moment. Frodo then tackles Gollum and they both fall. Gollum descends all the way into the lava, clutching the ring as the fire takes his life and destroys the ring, while Frodo barely hangs on to the cliff and lives another day.
There are, of course, countless changes from the books to the movies, and many creative liberties that Jackson and the writing team took to adapt the book to the screen. For example, the Return of the King movie does not include the Scouring of the Shire chapter from the book where Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin return home only to find it overtaken by Saruman.
In other Lord of the Rings news, Amazon is making a new Lord of the Rings TV show that was filming in New Zealand until concerns around COVID-19 led to production shutting down. Amazon is also developing a new Lord of the Rings MMO with veterans of WoW, Destiny, and PlanetSide.
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