'Lord Of The Rings:' Lost Footage Shows Gandalf Battling The Balrog In Ralph Bakshi's Film

Lost footage from Ralph Bakshi's animated film, The Lord of the Rings, finally expands on a scene fans know all too well from Peter Jackson's trilogy.

Bakshi's film, released in 1978, tells the story of two J.R.R. Tolkien books, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. In the live-action versions by Jackson, those films are linked by Gandalf's battle with the massive Balrog in the Mines of Moria. Bakshi's film has a version of that battle, but it's very sparse and, frankly, pretty cheesy.

Now, after 36 years on the cutting room floor, Bakshi's full early vision of the epic showdown has come to light via lost animation cells  Check out some Lord of the Rings lost footage below.

The below clips come from Bakshi's Facebook, where his son has been posting short, deleted scenes. Click here to see them all and thanks to io9 for the heads up.

Boing Boing has a great article on these scenes including some quotes from Bakshi on why these scenes cut and why this Balrog looks so much different from the one that ended up in the final version of the film (a clip you can watch right here).

"If you're getting close to delivery, it's better to cut the animation out to make the scene work, than racing to reanimate it to make the cut work," Bakshi said, recalling the hectic atmosphere as the film's deadline loomed.

Asked why Gandalf and the Balrog look quite different in these new scenes, compared to the rotoscoped Gandalf and Balrog seen on The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, Bakshi said, "Well, it's hazy, but I was trying to make memories different than the real time story. I was wrestling with trying to separate the styles."

Head there to read the rest of the piece.

More than anything, watching these clips makes me nostalgic not only for Bakshi's film, but Tolkien's books and even Jackson's older films.