Hardly any film trilogy is more successful and popular than The Lord of the Rings. Director Peter Jackson and his team have created a masterpiece with a lot of love and passion. However, the final battle of the third film almost looked very different. All that’s left of it is a cut scene.
The Lord of the Rings almost had a different finale
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King concludes the story of the one ring. Accordingly, the film doesn’t lack epic either. The final encounter between good and evil takes place before the Black Thor in Mordor, where King Aragorn and his followers face the endless hordes of Orcs. However, the original version of the film would have featured a very special duel: Aragorn versus the evil ruler Sauron himself.
A deleted scene here shows Sauron appearing in front of his orc army. First of all, his radiantly bright Elven form can be seen, around which the black armor, which was already seen in the intro of the trilogy, finally closes. It even became one full fight between Aragorn and Sauron filmed, in which Aragorn rams his sword into Sauron’s chest. Undeterred by this, the villain wants to finish off the man, but is only stopped by the fact that one ring finally sinks in the lava of Mount Doom.
YouTuber Bagus Arda compiled all available scenes of the duel:
Why was the Sauron duel removed?
Movie fans will of course know that Aragorn is actually fighting a duel in front of the black gate. But not against Sauron, but against one armored troll. As seen in the films’ bonus footage, the CGI model was unceremoniously superimposed over Sauron’s body.
But why didn’t Sauron make it into the finished film? The simple explanation is that the scene would have strayed too far from the original book. After all, Sauron put all his power into the ring and can upon its loss no longer take physical form. Jackson also talks about how the fight diminished the role of Frodo and Sam, who are actually responsible for Sauron’s ultimate defeat. Aragorn’s battle was only meant to be a desperate diversion to buy the hobbits more time.
Most fans agree that Jackson made the right decision in ditching the Sauron duel from the film. Under the Bagus Arda video, user Michael Weir writes that it is these restraint is that still make the movies a masterpiece today. A final duel with the villain, which is a must in almost any action movie, would have looked cool, but it would have taken some of the impact and uniqueness out of the story.