The Lord of the Rings is perhaps the greatest fantasy series ever created, on both the page and the big screen. Director Peter Jackson succeeded after a massive undertaking, shooting all three films in succession over a period of more than a year. Featuring a gigantic cast, sprawling location shots and ground-breaking visual effects, it was one of the most ambitious cinematic projects ever conceived.
The first film introduces The Fellowship of the Ring, a group of nine individuals from different fantasy races who put aside their differences to destroy the all-powerful One Ring, and defeat the dark lord Sauron. Consisting of a cast of some of cinema’s finest actors (and Orlando Bloom), the Fellowship’s long shooting schedule lead to friendships, mishaps and mid-life crises.
From bizarre parties, questionable fashion choices and hilarious fan interactions, the cast of The Lord of the Rings are a weird bunch – probably because most of them are British – and since the completion of the fantastic trilogy, several images have emerged that Elrond certainly wouldn’t approve of.
Here are 20 Photos of the Lord of the Rings Cast That Would Get Them Kicked Out of the Fellowship.
20 Arwen's Aquaphobia
Portrayed by Liv Tyler, Arwen is the half-elven, youngest daughter of Elrond, who assists the Fellowship in their perilous journey. Despite being over a thousand years old, Arwen falls in love with the mortal Aragorn and eventually becomes his queen in The Return of the King. In the film adaptation, she is granted the ability to control the waters of Middle Earth, conjuring liquid horses to chase away a group of Nazgul.
Though the actress is seen here having a blast in the sea, Arwen wouldn’t want this image getting in the hands of her father, as it could reveal an ironic fear of the water that would have brought shame on his elven household. We doubt the strict high elf would approve of his daughter wearing such non-traditional and constricting garments, either, as elves are known for their silky robes and golden chain-mail, not wet suits.
19 Corrupted Frodo
One of the trilogy’s finest creations is Gollum, a creature portrayed by Andy Serkis with masterful motion-capture technology that demonstrates the final result of complete corruption by the One Ring. Winner of three Visual Effects Academy Awards, Gollum is perhaps their finest achievement. Malnourished, sickly and delusional, the creature formerly known as Smeagol helps Sam and Frodo in order to covet the ring for himself.
A potential plan for the film trilogy was to demonstrate the corruption of the ring by having Frodo briefly morph into a Gollum-like appearance, much in the way Bilbo Baggins does. This test shot shows what could have been, and had Samwise witnessed this, it may have been wiser to take the ring from Frodo and complete the task himself.
18 Sleeping on the Job
Merry and Pippin are known for enjoying the occasional pipe, pint and second breakfast, but luckily Aragorn was usually there to prevent their layabout ways and kick them out of bed in the morning. After some sword-fighting training and helpful encouragement from the rest of the Fellowship, they eventually became integral to restoring peace to Middle Earth, after a couple of mistakes along the way.
Played brilliantly by Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, the two developed a close bond over the film’s year-long shoot. Some of the best moments of the film emerge from their penchant for food, drink and naps, but they always had the common sense to stay awake in battle. Seen here cosying up for a long, hard rest, had Aragorn known they were this lazy, he would have likely just left them in the snow.
17 Stunt Double Scandal
With some of the best camera trickery put to film, Peter Jackson utilized stunt doubles and forced perspective shots to give the impression that regular-sized characters such as Gandalf were actually talking to four foot hobbits. Tables, horse and carriages and entire sets were built to construct the illusion that characters such as Frodo and Gandalf had a whole four feet of height difference when sitting right next to each other.
This wasn't always the best way to shoot hobbits, however, as fans of the films will remember the large number of wide shots of walking, riding and fighting. Many of the shots on horseback or featuring stunt work were therefore achieved through the use of a stunt double, but had the Fellowship known that Frodo was getting someone else to do his work for him on his perilous journey, he would have been sent straight back to the Shire!
16 Hot Pink
Painstaking production design ensured that each character had over forty versions of their costumes made. Ten outfits in general due to the long schedule, then an additional thirty altered costumes for scale and stunt work. In total, over 19,000 costumes were made for the trilogy, as well as 48,000 pieces of armour. Each of the trilogy was nominated for the Oscar for Best Costume design, with The Return of the King's sweep at the 2004 ceremony symbolic of the unprecedented production design for the whole trilogy.
How embarrassing, then, to find Aragorn wearing this disaster of a suit after the Fellowship became known for their iconic costumes and expertly crafted armor. Viggo Mortensen should be glad that Elrond never saw him like this, as the flimsy fabric provides absolutely no armour from incoming swords or arrows, and the hot pink colouring would make him an easy target amongst the foliage, snow and rubble. Go back home and change.
15 Belly Button Banter
A respectable Sindarin Elf of the Woodland Realm, Legolas is the son of the Elvenking of Mirkwood, Thranduil, and his heightened, elvish abilities were paramount in the quest to destroy the One Ring. Never one to shy away from fun - see his magnificent shield surfing at the Battle of Helm's Deep - Legolas still maintained a cool and collected attitude when battling orcs and hiking across Middle Earth.
What Elrond’s Council wouldn’t have stood for, however, is frivolous high-jinks with young hobbits, especially the brandishing of one’s belly button for the enjoyment of Billy Boyd (Peregrin Took). Played by Orlando Bloom, we expect his father, Thranduil, would demand he return his shirt to its rightful place and start behaving like an elf. It's also likely that the foolish Took would have been shunned by the elves after disrespecting them in such a manner.
14 Homeless Galadriel
Most recently seen as Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, Cate Blanchett is also known for taken on more experimental acting roles when she fancies a bigger challenge. After playing Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, Blanchett undertook the foreboding task of playing 13 different characters delivering their own monologues in art film Manifesto. The movie was mostly well received, receiving a 78% rating on the Tomatometer, along with an audience rating of 56%
In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Blanchett plays Galadriel, an elven queen known as one of the most beautiful creatures in Middle Earth. Practically unrecognizable in one section of Manifesto as a homeless man, had the graceful elven queen turned up to Lothlórien one morning sporting a long beard, dirty trench coat and beanie hat, we doubt she would have made it past the front gates.
13 Chipped Tooth
Actor Viggo Mortensen’s numerous injuries on the set of Lord of the Rings are now ingrained in fan canon, most notably his broken toe. Filming a scene in which he presumes Frodo and Sam have been killed by orcs, Peter Jackson wanted more anger from Aragorn. Kicking a helmet and breaking his toe, Viggo screams in genuine agony and the take was left in the final film.
In what he described as “the heat of battle,” Mortensen also managed to chip one of his front teeth. While the actor laughed it off and had the job fixed within the afternoon, the real Aragorn likely would have been chastised for leaving his face open to attack. One of the most committed performers to his role, Mortensen received some of the most injuries of anyone on set, also coming to work one morning with a glowing black eye after a hard day's fighting.
12 Chilling With the Enemy
Sean Bean is now best known for his portrayal of Ned Stark on HBO's Game of Thrones, but before he was Lord of Winterfell he was known better as the son of the Steward of Gondor. A noble warrior and worthy heir to his father Denethor, Boromir is the only member of the Fellowship to come close to being corrupted by the One Ring’s power enough to try and wrestle it from Frodo’s grasp.
In one of Sean Bean’s most famous of his many, many on-screen deaths, Boromir managed to redeem himself by making a sacrifice to allow the Fellowship to escape the deadly Uruk-hai. Seen here getting chummy with a group of orcs, had the Fellowship witnessed Boromir with an arm around a minion of Sauron like one of his best friends, his redemption would have been for nothing. If anything, he would have deserved those three arrows to the chest.
11 Tickle Me Gandalf
Pictured with best friend Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen is looking especially fabulous in a yellow vest, pink scarf and bowler hat. Wardrobe missteps aside, J.R.R. Tolkien is likely rolling in his grave picturing his favourite wizard fraternizing with a creature he’d likely describe as “somewhat like a hobbit, but soft, cuddly and covered in vulnerable red fur, terrible for camouflage.”
The hobbits’ ability to sneak about unnoticed (foolish Tooks aside) made them ideal companions on the Fellowship’s quest to Mordor, yet Elmo’s only discernible abilities seem to be teaching young children their ABCs, 123s and colors. A foolish partnership for a quest of such grave importance, Gandalf would have been the laughing stock of the Fellowship had he arrived in Rivendell with a cuddly muppet by his side.
10 Not So Scary Vampire
Sean Astin perhaps has the most geek cred of all the cast of The Lord of the Rings, having featured in The Goonies in one of his first roles. He then went on to play Frodo's best friend and faithful companion, Samwise Gamgee, who fans have embraced as the real heart of the fantasy trilogy. Sharing the burden of the One Ring with Frodo, Sam went from a simple gardener to one of Middle Earth's greatest heroes.
He then enjoyed a resurgence in last year’s Stranger Things 2 as fan favourite Bob Newby, who finally put a smile on poor Winona Ryder’s face. While we loved his cuddly persona in the Netflix series, his attempt to be scary with a pair of goofy false teeth left a lot to be desired and wouldn’t impress the Elvish Council if this was Samwise’s idea of threatening. Perhaps if he had at least gone for sharp fangs, Sauron might’ve thought twice about crossing Frodo’s faithful friend.
9 Frodo Gets Cosy
Elijah Wood is well-known as one of Hollywood’s friendliest actors. A mainstay at Comic Cons around the world, Wood always appreciates interactions with Lord of the Rings fans and especially loves cosplay. Rather than resent his typecasting as a filthy hobbit, Wood has embraced it and is always excited to meet a fellow halfling.
Had the Fellowship came across this sight, however, we imagine a stern talking to from Gandalf about distractions would follow. Seen here getting very comfortable with an enthusiastic fan, this sort of behaviour might fly in the Prancing Pony, but there’s no place for it on the road to Mount Doom. Frodo was never one for romance, but Samwise knew that the time for romance could wait until after Middle Earth had been saved from the clutches of darkness.
8 Shortcut to Mordor
The Lord of the Rings is frequently criticized for its apparent plot hole that the Great Eagles should have taken the Fellowship all the way to Mordor, though this is explained by the fact that the even the skies are too dangerous for the Eagles to fly all the way. They also make an appearance in the divisive Hobbit trilogy, in which they save Gandalf, Bilbo and their party of dwarves from a Warg ambush.
Though the Eagles are good for a quick boost or escape, they're not an indispensable mode of transport. Had the hobbits had a helicopter, however, it may have been a different story. Pictured here are Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd getting a lift over the luscious scenery of New Zealand to a filming location, but had the rest of the Fellowship known they were taken shortcuts, they would have been straight off the team.
7 Sam's Unwise Fashion
The early 2000s were truly a terrifying time for fashion. Double denim, frosted tips and fake fur were running rampant. Spotted here in 2005, just a couple of years after the original trilogy was completed, Sean Astin seems to have let stardom go to his head a little, experimenting with wardrobes that only a star of a multi-million franchise could believe they can pull off.
Astin was spied here looking more like a rejected Backstreet Boy than a heroic hobbit. Much like Viggo’s awful pink suit, the see-through tank top and baseball cap offer next to nothing in the way of body armour and, frankly, I’d be surprised if anyone on the Fellowship would want to be seen with anyone who dressed like this. At least Astin wised up and we we’re no longer subjugated to vests that leave very little to the imagination.
6 Psycho Killer
After The Lord of the Rings’ success, Elijah Wood took a break from blockbusters. Much like Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), the young actor instead opted to go for challenging and peculiar roles that many found unexpected, most recently in the Netflix original I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore. In 2012, Wood starred in a small horror film called Maniac, in which he plays a twisted individual.
Although the Fellowship definitely would have been embarrassed by some of his other roles, Happy Feet's singing and dancing penguin has no place in Middle Earth, none are quite as disturbing as this. Also known for a similar role in Sin City, Elijah Wood is seen here looking like a sight that would make any hobbit squirm.
5 Knives and Forks
Much like the costume department, the weapon design and manufacturing team was one of cinema history’s biggest endeavours. Not only were thousands of rubber swords made for the countless extras that encompassed Middle Earth’s armies, Weta Workshop also forged real swords for its main characters that took up to three days to complete. They're still available for auction if you're willing to pay a pretty penny.
How embarrassing it would have been then to come across this site of The Lord of the Rings cast brandishing cutlery in the middle of a battle scene. Aragorn would have been especially ashamed of his real life counterpart, Viggo Mortensen, who swaps the Flame of the West, Andúril, for a cardboard tube. Not only a shameful sight considering the amount of work behind the characters’ real weapons, but also a golden opportunity for any orc with a sword bigger than a butter knife.
4 Boromir's Night Out
Nobody could claim that enjoying a drink or two was discouraged along the way to Mordor, though it is usually Merry and Pippin who partake. After enjoying pints in the Prancing Pony, the two hobbits are also seen enjoying “Ent-Draft” courtesy of Treebeard in the novels and extended cut, and we’re sure the rest wouldn’t turn up their noses at an occasional mead or fine elvish wine.
Sean Bean is seen here enjoying a drink a little too much, however, during an incident that saw the Boromir actor chase after some paparazzi, before drunkenly falling and injuring his hand. We all like a drink, but after Boromir was already almost corrupted by the ring’s power, the Fellowship wouldn’t want the influence of alcohol clouding his mind further.
3 Agent Elrond
Who would have thought that the originator of the Fellowship could be so evil? Though his role as Elrond is a benevolent one, Hugo Weaving is perhaps best known for his villains, including Red Skull in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and voicing Megatron in the Transformers series. He will soon appear as the morally ambiguous Thaddeus Valentine in Peter Jackson's upcoming project, an adaptation of the popular Mortal Engines series.
His most iconic role, however, comes in the form of a computer programme that takes the appearance of Agent Smith, a powerful firewall that protects the machine-made Matrix from internal threats. Had the Fellowship discovered that their world was an illusion orchestrated by machines, it’s unlikely their medieval minds could handle it.
2 You Shall Not Pass!
When Ian McKellen isn’t fighting Balrogs as Gandalf or moving bridges as Magneto, he’s better known for his brilliant work on stage, as well as frequent collaborations with his X-Men co-star, Patrick Stewart. As well as garnering excellent reviews for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, McKellen has lent his skills to everything from Amadeus to pantomime.
In 2010, Ian McKellen hosted the 11 Year Anniversary Gala for the non-profit, children's hospital organisation "Only Make Believe." His appearance included a performance that required him to strip off to his tighty-whiteys, which were emblazoned with a mocking image of Gandalf, and his iconic catchphrase. Undoubtedly hilarious for the children, we don’t think the White Wizard would be too keen on having his face on the posterior of one of Britain’s finest thespians.
1 Deal with the Devil
Much like Elijah Wood, Sean Astin is always excited to meet fans and hang out with cosplayers who love The Lord of the Rings, and have forgiven him for his fashion mishaps. Any fan is welcome for a photoshoot, even one dressed as the sinister Witch King of Angmar. One of Sauron’s most formidable right-hand warriors, the Witch King acts as the chief of the Nine Riders known as the Nazgûl, and is pretty much the scariest character in the trilogy.
With finely crafted armor and film-accurate attention to detail, it would be easy to mistake this cosplayer as the real thing. Seen here shaking hands with the dark enemy of all things good, Astin isn’t doing his reputation amongst the Fellowship any favours by fraternizing with evil, dooming Sam to a life of exile, or worse.
Which of these made you laugh most? Let us know in the comments!