This Wholesome Lord of the Rings Character Was Almost Killed Off for No Reason, Got Saved by Peter Jackson
One of the hobbits in Lord of the Rings almost fell victim to the bloodthirsty studio to add more angst, but the trilogy’s director was adamant about protecting him.
As far as live-action adaptations of famous book series go, most studios fail to remain faithful to the original. The source material often gets discarded or disregarded in favor of flashier scenes, shorter screen time, or simpler stories with fewer characters. This kind of butchering happens all the time with adaptations.
Few directors really stick to book authors’ vision, and they have the most grateful audiences. This is one of the reasons why Tolkien fans love Peter Jackson so much: while the director had to cut several storylines and characters, he was keen on remaining as faithful to the source material as possible, and fans appreciated it.
But sticking to Tolkien’s narrative was not always easy for the Lord of the Rings director. While Jackson was proficient in adapting longer sequences into the movies, he was also pressured from above: his producers tried to change something from time to time, especially when it came to adding more angst to the trilogy.
One time, they demanded Jackson kill one of the four hobbits in The Return of the King!
"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,” laughed Dominic Monaghan, the actor behind Merry Brandybuck.
Monaghan was immensely grateful for Peter Jackson’s intervention: apparently, the director directly opposed his producers and insisted no hobbits would die at all.
“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 told IGN.
The movie turned out emotional enough either way, the Merry actor was glad his character made it, and Tolkien fans were thankful for a faithful adaptation… All that thanks to Peter Jackson’s adamant decision to stick to the source material and disallow the producers from killing one wholesome hobbit for the sake of angst.