Over the years, The Lord of the Rings books and films have been heralded as both literary classics and cinematic marvels. At the time, Director Peter Jackson seemed to have struck gold with his portrayal of J.R.R. Tolkien’s timeless novels and his stunning cinematography featuring sweeping views of New Zealand. Both onscreen and off, the cast of The Lord of the Rings trilogy created a serious bond through their unique filming experience. Most of the core members of the fellowship even got tattoos depicting the Elvish word for “nine”, in honor of their time spent together on set.
Over the years, the actors have continued to pursue other roles, in various other genres of film, television, and even voiceover work. While there’s still no word about any additional films from director Peter Jackson involving the world of Middle-earth, we’d like to take a moment to find out what the cast of the Lord of the Rings has been up to over the years.
Some actors have made the jump to other major franchises, including Game of Thrones, Star Trek or Pirates of the Caribbean. Others have chosen to take their careers in a very different direction, such as switching primarily to television or taking on more independent based projects.
Here’s Where Are They Now? The Cast Of The Lord of the Rings.
20. Orlando Bloom (Legolas)
Although most fans will instantly recognize Orlando Bloom for his role as Legolas Greenleaf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he’s also taken on some interesting projects over the years. Although he first auditioned for the role of Faramir, director Peter Jackson decided that Bloom would be a better fit for Legolas.
Bloom also starred as Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Soon after, he joined Brad Pitt and Eric Bana in the 2004 blockbuster, Troy. He has also starred in Kingdom of Heaven, Elizabethtown, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. In 2009, Bloom made an appearance in New York, I Love You, and then in The Three Musketeers. Bloom returned to Middle-earth for Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit.
After a ten year hiatus, Bloom is reprising his role as Will Turner for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Next up, you can find him in an upcoming drama called Romans, and a television film called Tour De Pharmacy, set for release in July. Although a release date is yet to be announced, Bloom is also slated to star in a British-Chinese action film called S.M.A.R.T. Chase.
19. David Wenham (Faramir)
David Wenham might be best known by Lord of the Rings fans from his role as Faramir from The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Fresh off of his appearance in The Lord of the Rings, Wenham appeared in the monster-hunting film, Van Helsing.
Wenham continued to do several film and television projects, and fans might recall seeing him again onscreen as Dilios in the action-packed epic 300. Wenham also starred opposite of Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in the sweeping historical drama, Australia. Since then, he’s appeared in television series including Killing Time, Top of the Lake, The Code, and Banished. Last year, he appeared as Johnny in Goldstone and later as John Brierley in Lion. Most recently, Wenham can be found starring as the devious Harold Meachum in the recent Marvel/Netflix series, Iron Fist.
Wenham also has a role as Scarfield in the recent Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Next year, he is set to appear as Carl Hansen in Beyond the Known World and as Sargent Jock Crawford in the television mini-series Wake in Fright. Wenham is currently working on filming an upcoming action film called In Like Flynn, which is slated for release next year.
18. Andy Serkis (Gollum/Sméagol)
Andy Serkis captivated audiences with his enthralling performance as Gollum. Smeagol/Gollum ranks as one of the best CGI characters of all time, and Serkis has continued to carry on the tradition over the years. His captivating presence as Gollum helped push the boundaries for what could be accomplished with CGI.
After the trilogy, Serkis starred in 13 Going on 30 as Richard Kneeland, and later reunited with director Peter Jackson for his role as Kong / Lumpy in the 2005 film, King Kong. After that, Serkis continued to work on television, film projects and voice over work for video games.
In 2011, he appeared as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and then reprised his role as Gollum for the first film of The Hobbit. In 2014, Serkis appeared in the film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In 2015, he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he appeared as Ulysses Klaue in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It’s a good time to be Andy Serkis! The star is slated to appear in Black Panther, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Episode IX. Serkis’ directorial debut film, Breathe, will be released in October and he is will also star and direct an upcoming adaptation of the Jungle Book.
17. Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins)
After starring in The Lord of the Rings as Bilbo Baggins, actor Ian Holm opted for a role in the hit indie film Garden State. Written and directed by Zach Braff, Holm played the role of Gideon Largeman, and the film also starred Natalie Portman.
Holm also selected a role in the action adventure film, The Day After Tomorrow, where he played Terry Rapson. For the film The Aviator, Holm joined the cast as Professor Fitz, along with another Lord of the Rings cast member, Cate Blanchett. In 2005, Holm participated in three film projects, including the comedy Strangers with Candy, a drama called Chromophobia and Lord of War with Nicolas Cage and Ethan Hawke.
Before returning to Middle Earth, his last two live action films were The Treatment, directed by Oren Rudavsky and O Jerusalem by director Élie Chouraqui. In 2007, he joined the cast of Disney’s animated film, Ratatouille, where he voiced the role of Skinner. Director Peter Jackson asked Holm to be a part of The Hobbit and he gladly accepted, starring as Old Bilbo in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Battle of Five Armies.
16. Marton Csokas (Celeborn)
At first glance, some might not be able to make an immediate connection between actor Marton Csokas at the Lord of the Rings. However, most keen-eyed fans will remember him for his role of Celeborn, who was first introduced in the Fellowship of the Ring. After departing the world of Middle-earth, Csokas has appeared in television series like Rogue, Klondike, and Sons of Liberty.
Interestingly enough, Csokas has a film credit under his belt with the Star Wars prequels. In Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Csokas is listed on IMDB as having voiced the Geonosian leader, Poggle the Lesser. He has also taken roles in action thrillers like xXx, The Bourne Supremacy, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
15. Sala Baker (Sauron)
Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Sala Baker was first introduced on screen in the Fellowship of the Ring, where he portrayed the fearsome role of Sauron. He also appeared as the “Man Flesh” Uruk from The Two Towers and had another featured role as an Orc in Return of the King.
After his stint on Lord of the Rings, Baker has racked up a slew of film credits, including providing the stunt work for major films like Pirates of the Caribbean, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Expendables. Baker has also helped with stunt work on Marvel titles like Iron Man 3, Ant-Man, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War.
Most recently, Baker can be spotted in Marvel’s latest Netflix foray, Iron Fist. In episode five of season one, “Under Leaf Pluck Lotus”, actor Finn Jones fights against Baker, who plays King. While it hasn’t been confirmed if there will be a second season of the Iron Fist series yet, fans are looking forward to The Defenders in July. Keep your eyes peeled for any more appearances by Sala Baker in future projects.
14. Sean Bean (Boromir)
Ah, Sean Bean. Most fans will solemnly remember him for his role as Boromir in the i film trilogy. After his work on Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, he has continued to act, and he even revealed that his pivotal scene as Boromir still remains one of his favorite death scenes to date.
Bean has also appeared in Troy, starring fellowship member Orlando Bloom, and he also starred as Zeus in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief in 2010. His more recognizable work includes the first season of Game of Thrones, where he suited up in armor again as Eddard “Ned” Stark in George R. R. Martin’s epic series.
Since then, Bean has starred in several other television series, and has also lent his voice for several video games. In 2015, he starred as Stinger Apini in Jupiter Ascending, Mitch Henderson in The Martian, and Martin Odum in the television series, Legends. He also provided the English voice for Regis Lucis Caelum in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
Bean has also narrated television series Roman Empire: Reign of Blood, and has been working on The Frankenstein Chronicles, where he plays John Marlott. Bean is currently filming an upcoming television series, Broken, where he plays Father Michael Kerrigan.
13. John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)
In one of the more comedic moments from Fellowship of the Ring, John Rhys-Davies boldly declared, “Nobody tosses a Dwarf!” In Peter Jackson’s film series, Rhys-Davies stars as Gimli, son of Glóin, and he also provided the voice of the Ent, Treebeard.
After working on Return of the King, Rhys-Davies starred in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement as Viscount Mabrey, and later appeared in a television mini series as Professor Lampley in Revelations. In 2007, He provided the narration for Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint. Over the past decade, Rhys-Davies has been balancing his time between television and film, along with doing narration and voiceover work on several other projects.
Last year, Rhys-Davies starred as Eventine Elessedil in The Shannara Chronicles for MTV. His most recent work was providing the voice of King Sokwe in animated series, The Lion Guard. Have no fear, Rhys-Davies will be returning to live action work in the very near future— he has over twelve projects currently in various stages of production, all slated for release within the next year.
12. Liv Tyler (Arwen)
After appearing in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as Arwen, the daughter of Elrond, Liv Tyler has continued to pursue various film projects over the years. She later starred as Maya in Jersey Girl, opposite Ben Affleck, and then as Anika in Lonesome Jim with Casey Affleck. In 2007, Tyler starred in Reign Over Me, a drama starring Adam Sandler Don Cheadle and Jada Pinkett Smith. In 2008, Tyler appeared in the horror flick, The Strangers, directed by Bryan Bertino.
Directed by Louis Leterrier, Tyler also starred in The Incredible Hulk as Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Ross, opposite of Edward Norton as The Hulk. In 2012, Tyler appeared in Robot & Frank, alongside Peter Sarsgaard, Frank Langella, and Susan Sarandon. Her most recent film, Space Station 76 was a major flop, but she has starred in the HBO television series The Leftovers since 2014 as Meg Abbott.
Most recently, Tyler has taken on the role of Ann Vaux and she is currently filming a television miniseries for BBC entitled Gunpowder. The television series also stars Kit Harington and Shaun Dooley. Next up, Tyler has landed the lead role in an upcoming fantasy horror film called Wildling.
11. Karl Urban (Éomer)
Originally hailing from Wellington, New Zealand, Tolkienites will undoubtedly remember Karl Urban for his role as Éomer in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Fresh out of Middle-earth, Urban made the jump to other science fiction franchises, starting with The Chronicles of Riddick in 2004. Urban also took on the role of Kirill in the action-packed thriller, The Bourne Supremacy.
In 2009, Urban starred as Bones in Star Trek, and later reprised his role for Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond in 2016. Urban also took on the leading role as Judge Dredd in 2012. Over the years, Urban has found widespread success from starring in genre adventures, whether it’s with the Riddick series, Dredd, or Star Trek.
Last year, he appeared in Disney’s live-action adaptations of Pete’s Dragon. Next up, he is slated to appear in Thor: Ragnarok as Skurge, and also roles in films like Hangman, Stoic, and Bent.
10. Miranda Otto (Éowyn)
Fans will likely remember Miranda Otto as the iconic shieldmaiden from The Lord of the Rings, Éowyn. Since her days of crushing on the battlefield (and opponents like the Witch-king of Angmar), Otto has continued to work in television and film.
After Lord of the Rings, Otto starred as Ruth in The Three-Legged Fox, Penny in In My Father’s Den, and Kelly Johnson in Flight of the Phoenix. She later joined the cast of The Starter Wife as Cricket Steward and Juliet Draper in Cashmere Mafia.
Otto also starred in several television movies, like A Marriage, Locke & Key, and Mabo, before returning to several film projects like Reaching for the Moon, The Turning, I, Frankenstein, and The Homesman. Most recently, Otto has worked on several television projects like Rake, where she took on the role as Maddy Deane, and Homeland, as Allison Carr.
Otto’s most recent projects include her portrayal of Rebecca Ingram on 24: Legacy. Otto is set to star in the upcoming horror sequel, Annabelle: Creation, along with a role in Zoe, a romantic film slated for release next year.
9. Hugo Weaving (Elrond)
After starring in The Lord of the Rings as Elrond, Weaving took the lead role as V in V for Vendetta, and worked heavily in voiceover. Joining his fellow LOTR castmate, Elijah Wood, Weaving took on the role of Noah the Elder in Happy Feet. Later, Weaving also took on the role in another big franchise as Megatron in the Transformers series.
Since then, he has also appeared as Johann Schmidt / Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. After starring in Cloud Atlas, director Peter Jackson asked him to return to Middle-earth for roles in The Hobbit trilogy. Last year, Weaving appeared as Tom Doss in the critically acclaimed historical drama, Hacksaw Ridge.
This year, Weaving is set to appear as Mad Jack Lionel in Jasper Jones and as Alex Klima in the upcoming television series, Seven Types of Ambiguity. Recently, Weaving joined the cast of Black 47 as Hannah, which is currently filming. Weaving will also appear as Thaddeus Valentine in Mortal Engines next year.
8. Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)
Most Lord of the Rings fans remember Cate Blanchett for her role as the Lady of Lothlorien, Galadriel. Since her time in Middle-earth, the Australian actress has made extraordinary achievements in her acting career. In 2005, she nabbed an Oscar for her work in The Aviator. She was also nominated again for her work in Notes on a Scandal and I’m Not There. Blanchett was nominated for her first Oscar for her leading role in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. At the 2014 Academy Awards, Blanchett took home her second Oscar, this time for Blue Jasmine. She was also nominated one more time for her leading role in Carol from 2015.
Over the years, Blanchett has appeared in films like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Hanna, and recently in the romantic drama Song to Song. Blanchett reprised her role as Galadriel for The Hobbit trilogy, and also portrayed Valka for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and the upcoming third installment of the franchise.
Next up, Blanchett will star in the upcoming Marvel film, Thor: Ragnarok as Hela. Blanchett is also set to star as Kaa in the upcoming Jungle Book movie, directed by fellow Lord of the Rings co-star, Andy Serkis.
7. Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck)
After starring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as one of the most mischievous hobbits, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Monaghan has pursued various roles in film, television and even voiceover work for video games.
Right after his work on Return of the King, Monaghan took roles in films like Spiva, The Purifiers and Shooting Livien. He also reprised his role as Merry for the various Lord of the Rings video games which were released after the trilogy of films. Monaghan then starred as Charlie Pace in J. J. Abrams hit television series, Lost. He also appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Chris Bradley, aka Bolt.
Monaghan’s most recent work is his role as Robinson for the recent horror film Atomica. Last year, Monaghan joined the cast of Quantum Break as William Joyce. Monaghan also starred in films like Pet, Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism, and Soldiers of Fortune.
6. Billy Boyd (Peregrin Took)
Lord of the Rings fans certainly can’t forget Billy Boyd, who starred as the lovable hobbit, Pippin, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic novels. In 2015, Boyd was nominated for an Online Film & Television Association Film Award for Best Music, Original Song for his work with “The Last Goodbye” from The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Boyd wrote the original song and performed the piece for the film’s soundtrack.
He was also recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series, for his work on the television series, Motive. Last year, Boyd appeared in Stoner Express as Gordon, and Kyle in the Ibiza-set thriller White Island.
Next up, Boyd is slated to star in an upcoming drama called I Feel Fine. Writer Des Hamilton is attached to the project, and Boyd is set to star alongside Dominic West, Gary Lewis, and Sharleen Spiteri.
5. Sir Christopher Lee (Saruman)
Although most Lord of the Rings fans will remember him for playing Saruman, Sir Christopher Lee has left an illustrious career over the past decades. Sadly, Lee passed away at the age of 93 years old in London on June 7, 2015.
Born Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, the late actor was known for being one of the only members of the Lord of the Rings cast to have actually met Tolkien. Lee is also remembered for having read the Lord of the Rings books at least once a year, every year.
Since his role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Christopher Lee has amassed numerous film credits, along with several appearances in some television mini-series shows and voice over work. Before he passed,he portrayed Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, and provided the voice of The Programmer in Deus ex Machina 2 and The Boss for Angels in Notting Hill. Lee also provided narration for The Hunting of the Snark and The Time War, two projects which are currently in post-production.
4. Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee)
Since his time as Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, Astin has been involved in numerous projects. Right after the release of The Return of the King, Astin starred in the television series, Jeremiah where he played Mister Smith, and joined Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore for his role as the lisping Doug Whitmore for 50 First Dates. Later, he joined Sandler for the 2006 drama, Click.
Astin has also delved into voiceover work, joining projects such as Balto III: Wings of Change, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and Justice League Action. His most recent animated project has been providing the voice of Raphael for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series. Earlier this year, Astin starred in the comedy action film Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, where he played Headmaster Nash. He also starred in the comedy and drama film called The Lears, which was written and directed by Carl Bessai.
Catch Sean Astin as Bob Newby in the upcoming season two of Stranger Things on Netflix, set to debut later this year. Astin will also play the lead roles in the upcoming comedy Dead Ant and a drama called LAN.
3. Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)
After starring in the Lord of the Rings as Aragorn, Mortensen hopped in the saddle once more for his role as Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo. The following year, Mortensen starred in the crime thriller A History of Violence, directed by David Cronenberg, and then rejoined Cronenberg for the crime drama Eastern Promises.
In 2008, Mortensen joined the cast of Appaloosa, a Western directed by Ed Harris. Mortensen also took on the lead role in Good, a historical drama about socialism in Germany. Mortensen then starred in the leading role of the Cormac McCarthy film adaptation for The Road. In 2011, he linked up with Cronenberg once more and joined Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley for A Dangerous Method. In 2012, he portrayed William S. Burroughs in the film adaptation of On the Road.
Later that year, he took the leading role in the Argentinian-based film Everybody Has a Plan. His most recent films include a romantic thriller called The Two Faces of January, where he starred alongside Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac. Last year, he starred in the critically acclaimed Captain Fantastic, for which he was Oscar-nominated. He also contributed as a narrator for an upcoming television mini-series called The Revolution Televised.
2. Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins)
Elijah Woods had child actor’s career before he played Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. After Return of the King, Wood appeared in the critically acclaimed indie film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Kirsten Dunst. He also took on a chilling role as Kevin in Sin City.
Continuing his indie streak, Wood appeared in the film Everything Is Illuminated as Jonathan Foer. He has also worked extensively in voice acting, landing the lead role as Mumble in Happy Feet. Amusingly enough, he also voiced himself on an episode of Family Guy and Robot Chicken.
In 2011, Wood focused primarily on voiceover work and appearing in some short films, but he returned to live action films in 2012 with Celeste & Jesse Forever and made his triumphant return to Middle Earth for The Hobbit films. S
ome of his more recent television roles include his character Ryan Newman for Wilfred, voicing Wirt in Over the Garden Wall and his role as Todd in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Wood’s most recent film credits include The Last Witch Hunter, The Trust, and his role as Tony in I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.
1. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf)
Certainly one of the most prolific actors from Lord of the Rings, Sir Ian McKellen has steadily continued his work in film, television and voiceover roles over the years. McKellen, who is best known as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was even nominated for an Oscar for his work on The Fellowship of the Ring. In 2006, McKellen starred in the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, alongside Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou.
His iconic portrayal of Magneto in the X-Men trilogy will go down in history. McKellen reprised the role in The Wolverine (2013) and again for X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). In 2012, director Peter Jackson asked him to return to Middle-earth for all three of the film adaptations of The Hobbit.
Most recently, Sir Ian McKellen has taken on roles ranging from television to theater, including a role as Norman in the TV movie, The Dresser. He also starred as Freddie Thornhill in the television series Vicious, and returned to the stage for a role as Spooner in National Theatre Live: No Man’s Land. Earlier this year, McKellen starred as the animated character Cogsworth for Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
McKellen is slated to appear in Hamlet Revenant, and provide the voice for Horatio Huntington in the upcoming film Animal Crackers.
Have you followed the careers of these Lord of the Rings actors? Let us know what we missed in the comments!