It has been nearly 20 years since audiences first met and fell in love with the stellar and expansive cast of The Lord Of The Rings. Over the course of three epic movies released in sequential years, the Middle Earth saga became one of the most beloved and successful franchises in cinematic history, partly thanks to the all-star cast. But in the years following the conclusion of Peter Jackson's crowning achievement, what have cast-members like Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, and Orlando Bloom been up to?
Well, quite a bit, actually. In the 17 years since the release of The Return Of The King, everyone from Viggo Mortensen to Andy Serkis have gone on to become household names after spring-boarding into stardom for their appearances in J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece. And while we will have to wait a little longer than expected to see the cast of the Amazon's Lord Of The Rings series in action, let's take a look back at the original cast and everything they've been up to since completing their journey.
Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)
Cate Blanchett's voice is one of the first audiences hear in the prologue of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, during which time her character, Galadriel, explains the creation and history of the Rings of Power. Throughout here appearances in the trilogy, the wise elf provides guidance to Frodo and other members of the fellowship. Over the past 17 years, the Australian-born actress has starred in dozens of feature films, stage productions, and television series, during which time she has won two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actress in The Aviator; Best Actress Blue Jasmine). In addition to a number of dramatic roles, Blanchett has also popped up in Thor: Ragnarok, Cinderella, Ocean's 8, and is currently working with Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley, a psychological thriller co-starring Bradley Cooper.
Liv Tyler (Arwen Undómiel)
Liv Tyler was at the peak of her career when she starred as Arwen Undómiel in The Lord Of The Rings. Daughter of the powerful Elven leader Elrond, Arwen proves herself to be quite handy throughout the trilogy, including saving Frodo from the black riders and striking up a love affair with future king, Aragorn. Since she completed her role in Peter Jackson's trilogy, Tyler has had a great deal of success in her professional life, with appearances in films like The Strangers, The Incredible Hulk, and Ad Astra, as well as television series like The Leftovers and Harlots. Tyler also has a starring role in the Fox action procedural, 9-1-1: Lone Star, which also stars Rob Lowe.
Orlando Bloom (Legolas)
One of the nine key members of the Fellowship of the Ring, the Sindarian Elf Legolas was a vital character in the The Lord Of The Rings thanks to his cool, calm, and collected demeanor and his impeccable archery and swordsmanship. Brought to life by a young Orlando Bloom, Legolas quickly became a fan favorite. Just as one saga was coming to an end for the English actor, another began with the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise that only boosted Bloom's star appeal. Bloom's latest completed film, The Outpost, was supposed to premiere at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival, but the festival, and screening, was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to his movie roles, Bloom is also the star of the Amazon original series Carnival Row, which is currently in production on Season 2.
Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)
The de facto leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the main protagonist of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Aragorn proved time and time again why not all hope is lost for man. Brought to life by the superb acting prowess of Viggo Mortensen, the "King" is character worth remembering. Mortensen followed up his Middle Earth appearances with a long list of roles that includes A History Of Violence, Captain Fantastic, and Green Book, which netted Danish-American actor an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 2019. Mortensen recently made his directorial debut with Falling, a drama in which he stars alongside Lance Henriksen and Laura Linney.
Andy Serkis (Gollum)
Andy Serkis became a massive star after his gripping and frightening take on Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Over the course of three movies, audiences loved and hated this oddly sympathetic character, making Serkis a household name in the process. The English actor has continued to be one of the busiest figures in the film industry since the conclusion of the trilogy 17 years ago, including appearances in Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and The Planet Of The Apes reboot trilogy. The actor and motion-capture mastermind is currently directing the thrilling Venom 2 and starring in The Batman, both of which instantly become better with Serkis attached.
Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins)
Elijah Wood has been a name in Hollywood for about as long as I can remember. Even before he showed up as Frodo Baggins, nephew of Bilbo and carrier of the Ring, Wood was a major child actor and has continued to follow suit with some of the wildest roles in cinema. In recent years, Wood has shown up in everything from the 2019 psychdelic horror film Color Out Of Space to oddball dark comedy I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore, and just about every odd role in between.
Ian McKellen (Gandalf)
Throughout all of the Lord Of The Rings movies (and The Hobbit as well) Sir Ian McKellen kills it as the legendary wizard Gandalf (both grey and white). From the first time audiences catch an eye of Gandalf sitting atop a wagon of fireworks, it was easy to tell that there was a lot to love with this character. But it's not all fun and games with Gandalf, as the wizard proves to be powerful and stern throughout the journey to destroy the Ring once and for all. Much like Gandalf, McKellen has quite a track record, including his most recent appearances in The Good Liar, Ian McKellen On Stage, and Cats. Yes, Gandalf was in Cats.
Miranda Otto (Éowyn)
Introduced in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, Éowyn, a noblewoman from Rohan, quickly became one of the most badass characters in Peter Jackson's trilogy. Her role was expanded in The Return Of The King where she took on one of the nine Nightriders and gave the empowering line, "I am no man" as she cut him down. Miranda Otto, the Australian actress behind the role, has been quite busy in the years following her time in Middle Earth, including most recently in the Netflix series, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, where she portrays the young witch's aunt, Zelda.
Hugo Weaving (Elrond)
Elrond, one of the first of the Elves to be featured in the prologue of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, was one of the Elven leaders in Middle Earth who provided guidance and counsel for Aragorn and the rest of the Fellowship before and during the quest to destroy the Ring. Hugo Weaving, the man behind the role, is mostly known for the role of Agent Smith in The Matrix and its sequels, but the acclaimed actor has also appeared in V For Vendetta and Captain America: The First Avenger. Weaving is set to appear in three films in 2020: Measure For Measure, Loveland, and Lone Wolf, all three of which are in post-production.
Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee)
Sean Astin was already a star before he signed on to play Samwise Gamgee in The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, mostly notably for his appearances in The Goonies, Encino Man, and Rudy to name a few. His take on Samwise, the friend and sidekick of main protagonist Frodo Baggins, brought a great deal of humor, charm, and surprisingly enough seriousness to the trilogy. Astin has remained busy over the years, including an amazing role as Bob Newby in Stranger Things. Astin is next set to appear in the American crime thriller Adverse at some point in 2020.
Sean Bean (Boromir)
Is there a movie/television show where Sean Bean doesn't die? Patriot Games, Goldeneye, Game Of Thrones, and countless others all feature some pretty gruesome deaths involving the English actor. Well, add The Lord Of The Rings to that list as Bean's character, Boromir, dies in the final moments of The Fellowship Of The Ring. This noble character was a far-stretch from some of Bean's previous roles and cutthroat and power-hungry villains, but laid the groundwork for his portrayal of the ill-fated Ned Stark in Game Of Thrones. Bean is currently set to appear in Posessor, a 2020 horror film from Brandon Cronenberg, the son of body horror legend David Cronenberg.
John Rhys-Davis (Gimli)
John Rhys-Davies is best well known for his role of Gimli, the foul-mouthed and strong-willed dwarven warrior who served as an instrumental member of the Fellowship of the Ring. The Welsh actor also known for his performance in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, has appeared in dozens of roles following his time in The Lord Of The Rings, including his spin at the Brine King in the 2018 DCEU blockbuster Aquaman.
Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck)
Dominic Monaghan has been one of the most successful actors who achieved fame in The Lord Of The Rings. Featured in all three movies as the lovable and hilarious Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, Monaghan, alongside Billy Boyd, brought some much-needed comedic relief to some of the trilogy's darkest moments. In the years following the release of The Return Of The King, Monaghan has starred in Lost, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. And since 2012, Monaghan has even hosted his own nature series: Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan.
Billy Boyd (Pippin Took)
Wherever Merry went in The Lord Of The Rings, Pippin Took was sure to be right by his side or not far behind. Pippin, the fun-loving Hobbit with the voice of an angel worked his way into the hearts of millions of the trilogies fans thanks to that charm and innocence. Billy Boyd, the actor behind the famous character has had a successful acting and music career in the years following his appearances in The Lord Of The Rings, including a couple one-off performances on the hit fantasy series Outlander.
Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins)
Actor Ian Holm had one hell of a career in the decades leading up to his portrayal of an older Bilbo Baggins in The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, on the silver screen, on television sets around the world, and the stage. Holm would continue to add titles to his filmography in the years following his take on Bilbo, including Garden State, The Aviator, and The Hobbit, where he reprised his famous role. The English actor hasn't done much since he finished the filming of The Hobbit: The Battled Of The Five Armies, but at 88 years old, I don't blame him for taking it easy after all these years.
Well, that's what the cast of The Lord Of The Rings has been up to over the past 17 years. It's safe to say that each and every one of the actors who lent their talents to the legendary fantasy trilogy have been quite busy since then.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.