Lord of the Rings star claims Peter Jackson was pressured to kill a Hobbit

Dominic Monaghan, one of the stars of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, says that Peter Jackson was forced by producers to murder off one of the popular Hobbits in the film franchise, despite the fact that all four Hobbits survived in the literature. In 2001, J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy works were adapted into a trilogy of films called Lord of the Rings. It follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from the Shire, and his companion Sam Gamgee on a quest to destroy the One Ring.

Some of the finest films ever made were shot in New Zealand and included an ensemble cast of well-known performers, including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean and Andy Serkis, among other stars. During the film trilogy, Dominic Monaghan played Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck, a hobbit. A podcast called The Friendship Onion was just started by him and his LOTR co-star Billy Boyd, who portrayed Peregrin “Pippin” Took in the movie. Aside from chatting about pop culture, the two actors also offer unique anecdotes from their time filming the Lord of the Rings trilogies in the podcast’s episodes.

In an interview with IGN, the duo reminisced about some of their most memorable experiences during the trilogy’s production. Boyd’s singing prompted the co-writer to include a song in Pippin’s screenplay, among other things. Jackson was also under pressure from executives to kill off one of the four main hobbit characters. Following an evaluation of each character’s role, Monaghan decided that Merry would’ve been their choice and expressed his relief that it didn’t happen. Monaghan made the following statement:

“It’s a good job that didn’t happen, because 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.”

He was the perfect filmmaker to bring this narrative to life for Lord of the Rings devotees, as Monaghan noted in his allusion to Jackson’s aversion to deviating from the book and his commitment to keep the novelized characters alive as Tolkien intended. It would have ruined the tone of the epic tale if they had murdered off Merry. How the franchise would have turned out if any one of the four major halflings had failed to complete the quest is revealed in Monaghan’s remarks.

As Monaghan’s relief and the popularity of the films show, Jackson made the correct option in refusing to comply with his producers’ requests. It’s no secret that many book-to-film adaptations are heavily criticized for failing to fully interact with the source material. In the wake of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy that followed, Jackson has become the third-highest-grossing film director in history.

Consider how another filmmaker could have bowed to the producers’ demands and deviated from the script for shock value or dramatic effect. To gain the global attention these films received, Jackson did not need to make this decision. Many fans will be happy that Merry didn’t disappear halfway through the series, knowing his effect on the other hobbits.


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