When it comes to The Lord of the Rings, many fans will tell you that the only way to watch them is through the extended editions. These cuts of the movies add about two hours to the entire trilogy and stuff each movie with new scenes that help flesh out Middle-Earth or give more details about certain characters. They're not crucial to the viewing experience, but they bring a lot of great stuff to them either way.
If you're someone who has only watched the theatrical versions, then finally know what you're missing out on as we rank the 10 best deleted scenes that were in the extended editions.
10 WOOD ELVES
In The Lord of the Rings, there is talk about Elves leaving Middle-Earth. They are going to the Undying Lands to live forever, but that may be difficult to glean in the theatrical versions. In the extended edition, Sam and Frodo hear some singing shortly after starting their journey to Bree. They look and see a group of Wood Elves traveling to the Gray Havens, where they will board the ships to head out forever. Sam remarks that he isn't sure why, but seeing the elves leaving makes him sad. The scene isn't necessary, but it is great for those looking for details from the books.
9 WE FIGHT
Aragorn, being the heir of Isildur and the rightful King of Minas-Tirith, has access to the Army of the Dead down the Dimholt Road. He makes that trek with Legolas and Gimli to help them fight for Middle-Earth. In the theatrical cut, he beats the King of the Dead in battle and asks them to help fight. The movie then cuts away from the scene. In the extended edition, the trio has to run out of the Paths of the Dead to avoid getting crushed by falling debris. When it seems all hope is lost, the King of the Dead walks out of the mountain and says, "We fight."
8 THE GREEN DRAGON
The Fellowship of the Ring has a lot of time to get the ball rolling before the adventure begins, but many of the small scenes in the extended editions help add more weight to the Hobbits. In the extended edition, Sam and Frodo are seen at the Green Dragon Inn, which is referenced a few times in the trilogy.
It's there that we not only see people talking about evil rumors in the east, but we also get more details about Sam's relationship with Rosie, whom he marries at the end of the trilogy. This scene provides essentially a front cover to Sam's love story.
7 THE LAY OF LUTHIEN
The Lay of Luthien is a deep cut from the books. It's the story of Luthien, an elf, who fell in love with Beren, a man. Due to the differing mortality of the two species, their love was forbidden. In the extended cut of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo awakens to see Aragorn singing this tune to himself. This takes place before Aragorn and Arwen meet or are confirmed to have a relationship. In that sense, it sort of sets up their connection that would become a plot point later in the film. It's a great little scene, but it's easy to see why it was cut.
6 CONCERNING HOBBITS
After the epic prologue that sets the entire trilogy in motion, The Fellowship of the Ring opens with Bilbo writing about his adventures. He begins with a description of Hobbits in a chapter titled "Concerning Hobbits." This not only is a nice callback to The Hobbit novel, but it also allows viewers to spend a bit of time getting acquainted with these characters on the big screen. It also provides a look at the lush paradise that is the Shire (represented by a beautiful music piece). This peaceful scene is absent in the theatrical cut, which is a bit of a shame.
5 A DRINKING GAME
At the start of The Return of the King, the people of Rohan are celebrating the victory at Helm's Deep. In the extended edition, we get a little more details about the celebration. Some of the Rohirrim and Gimli are partaking in a drinking game. Legolas asks the rules and decides to join in. What proceeds is a fierce battle between the two. Gimli was getting more noticeably intoxicated before collapsing. Legolas felt just a slight tingle in his fingers. The scene isn't necessary to understanding the movie's narrative, but it added more to the friendly rivalry between the two characters. It was also very entertaining.
4 THEODRED'S FUNERAL
Theodred is the son of King Theoden, but a small character in The Two Towers. In the theatrical cut, we barely get any mention of Theodred at all, but he's a bit more important in the extended edition. Not only is he alive when we first meet him (if just barely), but we get his funeral once King Theoden is released from Saruman's mind control.
This scene gives more consequences to the state of Rohan and makes us more emotionally invested in what Theoden had just lost. It's also a nice background to Theoden's decision to later move people out of Edoras.
3 VICTORY AT OSGILIATH
Boromir and Faramir were brothers in The Lord of the Rings who were raised by a demented father who favored the former. However, the theatrical cut only shows the relationship between Faramir and his crazy father. The extended edition of The Two Towers brings Boromir and Faramir in the same scene. Not only do we see Boromir's leadership skills, but we see how the brothers get along and respect each other. The scene not only makes Boromir's death even more tragic, but it provides a great framework for the events seen in the third film. It also serves as the first appearance of Denethor.
2 THE DEATH OF SARUMAN
In the theatrical cut of the trilogy, a lot of people wondered what happened to Saruman, as the movies just left him alive and never addressed it again. This was a case in which the extended cut actually resolves an issue with the original trilogy. After Saruman reveals what Sauron was planning for Middle-Earth and Gandalf breaks his staff, Grima pulls out a knife and stabs his old master. Trying to keep Saruman alive for information, Legolas launches an arrow into Grima. Saruman then falls from his very own tower and is impaled on a wooden wheel.
When Aragorn and his army marches to the Black Gate, we see him travel up to its doors and call for the "Lord of the Black Land." The gates then open and Mordor orcs march out. That's what happened in the theatrical cut anyway. In the extended edition, Aragorn's request leads to the Mouth of Sauron making an appearance.
The Mouth taunts the heroes and tries to cause dissension between them. However, instead of going through with negotiations, Aragorn simply unsheaths his sword and lobs his head off. The presence of this character is one of the best parts of the extended editions. It makes the march on the Black Gate feel more complete.