The Lord of the Rings movies are famous for largely sticking to the source material, but it turns out a major character could have bowed out of the story early if producers got their way.
Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd recently shared some of their Lord of the Rings memories with IGN (opens in new tab), and one of the stories that surfaced is that one Hobbit had a lucky escape after producers apparently pressured director Peter Jackson to kill off a halfling. In JRR Tolkien's trilogy of novels, all four of the Hobbits – that's Frodo, Samwise, Pippin, and Merry – survive their trip across Middle-earth.
"It's a good job that didn’t happen, because it would have been me," Monaghan, who played Merry, joked. "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."
Thankfully, all four Hobbits survived their adventure – and Monaghan and Boyd now host their own Lord of the Rings-focused podcast, titled The Friendship Onion, which features interviews with the cast and crew.
Monaghan and Boyd also recently shared a story about a 'scrapped scene' from Lord of the Rings, which would have seen Merry and Pippin fall from their Ent pal Treebeard – and lose all their clothes on the way down. While it does sound like the scene was a joke and not intended to be filmed, it's still a pretty hilarious anecdote.
Jackson returned to Middle-earth with his Hobbit trilogy, but the next chapter of the saga will be Amazon Prime Video's Lord of the Rings TV show. So far the plot is shrouded in secrecy, though we do know the series has a massive cast, and a huge budget. It's set long before the Lord of the Rings movies, though a younger version of Galadriel played by Morfydd Clark is reportedly set to appear, so there may be at least one familiar face in the line-up of characters.
The Lord of the Rings TV show doesn't yet have an arrival date, but in the meantime, check out our guide to all of 2021's upcoming movie release dates.