'The Lord Of The Rings' Almost Killed Off One Of The Hobbits

If The Lord of the Rings wasn't emotional enough already, now we get word that New Line was angling to murder one of our precious hobbitses.

While promoting their new podcast, The Friendship Onion, with an interview for IGN, LOTR stars Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan described a request put forth by New Line during the making of the epic trilogy, which breaks down to "someone's gotta go." And by someone, they were looking specifically at the shorter folks of the Fellowship.

Farewell and Adieu to You Fair Little Hobbits

That's right. There was a concern from New Line about a need to jack up the stakes a bit and they felt that series needed even more death and sadness. That was one of many fights Peter Jackson won and, as a result, we are left with all the hobbits standing at the end of Return of the King.

Monaghan was absolutely certain that he would have been the one on the chopping block had Jackson given in to the studio's demands. Here's Monaghan's exact words on this:

"It would have been me. It definitely would have. There's no way they are killing Frodo and Sam, and the only ones that would be left would be Merry and Pippin. They wouldn't kill Pippin because Pippin has a really strong story with Gandalf. It would have definitely been me. I think Pete quite rightly was like, 'This is a luminary piece of written work, and we need to stick close to the text.' So, he stuck by his guns. Yeah, I'm thankful that didn't happen."

Monaghan isn't wrong here. If they were to sacrifice someone, Merry is the obvious choice. Frodo and Sam have to make it to Mt. Doom and audiences would have straight-up rioted if Pippin took an arrow at the Battle of the Black Gate, especially after that amazing pep talk he got from Gandalf about his importance in this world.

It is almost certain our precious little Merry's head would have wound up on the chopping block. But would that have made the adaptation any better? No way.

You have to remember that we see those films with the advantage of seeing how they performed. We know they're award-winning classics and returned billions for the studio, but at the time this was an all-in play by New Line. If these movies tanked, the studio was done. They entrusted their fate to a strange New Zealander half a world away adapting what had long been considered an unfilmable fantasy series.

Of course they'd get cold feet here or there, especially considering they were filming all three movies at once with a cast of largely unproven movie stars.

The Studio Also Almost Nixed Sir Ian McKellan, Too

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

One of my favorite tidbits I've heard over the years is that New Line really wanted some star power and put their foot down on one bit of a casting in particular. They wanted Sean Connery to play Gandalf. Jackson wanted Ian McKellan, but the studio wouldn't budge, so they sent the scripts and an offer letter to Connery.

My understanding is the offer to Connery was huge. Tons of money up front, a massive percentage of the gross of all the films, and Connery not only turned the offer down, he made fun of what he viewed as the ridiculous script in public during a press conference, which pissed off the studio so much they let Jackson hire McKellan almost out of spite.

I love me some Sean Connery, don't get me wrong. But can you really picture anybody besides Ian McKellan as Gandalf at this point? I think not.

Thankfully, Jackson largely got what he wanted and that translated into one of the best film series ever produced. All's well that ends well, as the saying goes.