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It’s been nearly 20 years since the first Lord of the Rings film hit theaters -- but the impact the trilogy had on the cast and crew, as well as legions of fans worldwide, remains as strong as ever. The passionate response to the film series made it possible for plenty of additional content to be released but, despite that, plenty still remained on the cutting room floor. One of the trilogy’s stars, Viggo Mortensen, even admits that there’s one scene in particular he wishes had survived the editing process.
In Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen played ranger-and-reluctant leader Aragorn. Though much of his story is focused on the way he learns to embrace his destiny, we also see his love affair with Arwen, a half-elf played by Liv Tyler. While they seem to be star-crossed lovers at first (with Aragorn resistant to letting her in), Return of the King ends with them not only as husband and wife but also king and queen.
The three films give us enough of an idea of their abiding love for one another to make their happily ever after work. But Viggo Mortensen recently told NME that there was even more to their story that didn’t make the final cut -- and he thinks that’s a bit of a shame:
There was a scene that we shot as a sort of memory flashback. It was from the courtship days when he first met Arwen – and we shot it just before we were taking a break so I was clean-shaven and prettied up. They’d tried to make me look as young as possible. I had different hair and I was dressed like an elf. It was a scene from the book where they’re walking in this flowery meadow. It was a beautiful sequence but obviously it wasn’t needed for the movie. I’ve never seen it but I enjoyed shooting that scene. It’d be nice to see it actually, it’s not in the extended editions either.
The extended editions of each of the Lord of the Rings films did feature a bit more of Arwen and Aragorn’s backstory but nothing to the extent Viggo Mortensen is referring to here. Maybe Peter Jackson still has the footage sitting on a hard drive somewhere and he’d be willing to share it with the world someday. The twentieth anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring is just around the corner, after all.
Even if that is not the case, Lord of the Rings fans still have new content awaiting them. Amazon Studios’ miniseries adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books is still in the works, which means we’ll get to see the beloved characters reimagined yet again.
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is currently available to stream on HBO Max.