13 Things You Never Knew About 'Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'
"The Return of the King" came out 15 years ago, which seems pretty crazy when you think back to how excruciating the wait between "Lord of the Rings" sequels seemed. Celebrate the 15th anniversary of one of the most popular fantasy sequels of all time with these interesting facts about "Return of the King.
1. Because post-production work didn't wrap until the last minute, director Peter Jackson didn't actually see the final version of "Return of the King" until its official premiere.
2. Both Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis were given One Ring props as gifts after filming wrapped, and both believed they were given the only copy.
3. According to Philippa Boyens, Pippen's song was only added into the movie after she experienced Billy Boyd's singing voice during a night of karaoke.
4. While the climax of the film features Aragorn battling a troll, the original intent was to have him face a reborn Sauron. The Extended Edition DVD features a rough animatic that shows what this sequence might have looked like.
5. Gimli actor Jonathan Rhys-Davies often broke out in rashes because of his makeup and prosthetics. On his final day of filming, he relished the chance to throw his mask in a fire. (But did he keep his AX?!)
6. The Oliphaunt carcass Legolas kills during the Battle of Minas Tirith is an actual, physical prop and is reportedly the single largest movie prop ever created.
7. In English, the song Viggo Mortensen sings translates to, "Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth I am come. In this place I will abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world."
8. Jackson had to enlist the aid of the New Zealand army for the Black Gate sequence, both to serve as extras and to sweep the area for leftover landmines.
9. "Return of the King" cemented the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy as the most Oscar-nominated franchise in history at the time. It also tied the record for the most Oscar wins that year.
10. Denethor actor John Noble played himself on an episode of "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," with the time-travelling superheroes recruiting Noble in the midst of filming "Return of the King."
11. Elijah Wood was hospitalized after the prop of Shelob's stinger actually caused a puncture wound.
12. This movie, at the time, became only the second film in history to cross one billion dollars in global box office. Quite a few blockbusters have followed suit in the 15 years since.
13. While "Return of the King" is often criticized for its multiple endings, there was actually even more material that didn't make the final cut. Jackson originally planned to include an epilogue sequence -- narrated by Cate Blanchett's Galadriel -- that detailed the eventual fates of the various Fellowship members.