One ring to rule them all. One ring to bind them. One film franchise that took the world by storm. In 2001, the first installment of Peter Jackson‘s long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novels hit theaters worldwide. It enthralled audiences and proved doubtful critics wrong. And it changed how studios think about fantasy films and franchises forever.
The Lord of the Rings was a gamble, for sure. Many — including Tolkien himself — thought that the lengthy story was unfilmable. But Peter Jackson’s commitment to bringing the story to the big-screen paid off. The first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, was an unqualified critical and financial success. The two subsequent films, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, were equally huge. All told, The Lord of the Rings trilogy made over a billion dollars. They also proved that if it’s done right, fans will stick around to see a great fantasy story told in multiple parts — even if they have to wait years for its conclusion.
The biggest Lord of the Rings fans can tell you all about the series’ storied production. It involved thousands of players, went on for years, required massive reshoots, and so much footage was cut from the theatrical versions that each film got its own extended cut. However, there are a lot of fascinating details that sometimes get forgotten. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the making of The Lord of the Rings.
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