In Another World The Lord Of The Rings Was A Stanley Kubrick Beatles Musical

Did you know The Shire was almost called The Octopus' Garden? Okay, not really, but it could have been! Before Peter Jackson got his hands on the project in the late '90s, there was some other interest in the project from an unexpected party: the Beatles.

Jackson is best known for directing the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, a fantasy adventure epic based on the book series of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien. His most recent project, "Get Back," is a three-part docu-series that follows the making of the Beatles' last released album, "Let it Be." The series unveils hours of lost footage that tracks the slow dissolution of the world's most famous band.

The documentary was of course not the only creative connection Jackson shared with the band. While working on his award-winning fantasy series, the director learned that the rights for the story were almost given to his favorite rock stars, and the series nearly starred the four Beatles themselves.

The Fab Four already had the casting down

According to the BBC, the Beatles reportedly first got the idea to adapt the series from a producer at Apple, who sent them the trilogy to read during a trip to India in 1968. The whole group was excited about it but, as Peter Jackson told People, "it was something John was driving." In their proposed version, Paul McCartney would play adventurous Frodo Baggins, Ringo Starr would play his sidekick Sam, George Harrison would play wise wizard Gandalf the Grey, and John Lennon would play the cave-dwelling Gollum. If the casting were left up to Jackson, he wouldn't have changed a thing. "They cast themselves and they did it right," he told Stephen Colbert.

The band also had a director in mind for the project: none other than legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick would release "2001: A Space Odyssey" that same year before starting to work on his subsequent film, "A Clockwork Orange." The psychedelic set design and ironic tone of "Clockwork" are comparable to Beatles productions like "Magical Mystery Tour" (1967). Given the similarities between their work around this time, it makes sense that the Beatles would have looked to Kubrick to create a surreal fantasy film.

Jackson is left conflicted

Sadly, the project may have never even crossed the director's desk. The band tried acquiring the rights to the book series from J.R.R. Tolkien, but the author reportedly "didn't like the idea of a pop group doing his story" (via BBC). The response is a bit pretentious, but perhaps his inclination was right. The Beatles had a strong sense of humor that shone through in all of their films. They likely would've given the series a lighthearted musical treatment that made for a very creative interpretation of the source material. Peter Jackson may not have brought as unique a spin to "Lord of the Rings" as the Beatles would have, but his adherence to the novels allowed him to bring the beloved series to life onscreen.

As a die-hard Beatles fan, Jackson is left conflicted. On the one hand, had the Beatles made their project, he may have never had the chance to adapt the trilogy himself. On the other, a "Lord of the Rings" soundtrack written by the Beatles would have been his absolute dream come true. Paul McCartney graciously told the filmmaker he was "glad" the Beatles never got the chance to make the film because he likes Jackson's version so much. Jackson, for his part, told the BBC:

"So I've got two minds about it. I would have loved to hear that album, but I'm also glad I got the chance to do the films. But those songs would have been fascinating."

We're with you, Peter!