Lord of the Rings: The Cut Sauron Scene That Would Have Ruined the Finale

Lord of the Rings: The Cut Sauron Scene That Would Have Ruined the Finale
Image credit: Legion-Media

Peter Jackson's movie trilogy is often considered to be as faithful an adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, as we can realistically hope for.

But that does not mean that that Jackson was completely free from the tendency to change elements of the book, often for the worse. We have covered some scenes where he took creative liberties too far recently.

A few more scenes of the sort were added by the extended edition of the trilogy, like Aragorn beheading Mouth of Sauron before the battle of the Black Gate (that deleted scene is the reason why Aragorn's sword is smeared black before the battle in the theatrical cut of The Return of the King).

And some, thankfully, were left on the cutting floor in the end. For example, at first Peter Jackson wanted Sauron to personally appear at the Black Gate, in his luminous fallen angel form, and have a fight with Aragorn.

There are some frames surviving from that incomplete scene:

But eventually Jackson realized that personal appearance by Sauron in flesh would only distract the audience from the real climax of the film, Frodo, Sam and Gollum on Mount Doom and destruction of the Ring.

So he removed it from both the theatrical and the extended cuts, and replaced Sauron with a big troll, to give Aragorn a noteworthy personal fight in the final battle.

Well, as the most popular comment in the Reddit threat about that scene said:

"It was a stupid idea but it shows why he did such a great job because he can be self critical or have people around him whom he trusted that could tell him the truth about his ideas."

Notably, as the amount of additions to the book content grew in The Hobbit trilogy, because the studio mandated making another trilogy of long films out of a fairly short book, the quality of the films declined – while The Hobbit films still were decent, there is a broad consensus that they were not as good as Jackson's first trilogy.

Apparently, whatever filter for stupid ideas Peter Jackson used when filming The Lord of the Rings, that filter had to be at least partially set aside, for the sake of filling The Hobbit with more content.