December 2001 is a month and year I’ll never forget. A group of my friends and I made our way to the movie theatre and for 3 hours and 48 minutes, we were transported to a fantasy land none of us had ever been to before. We were captivated by the story of a young Hobbit whose fate it was to destroy a powerful ring that threatened the future of civilization.
Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring captivated not only my friends and I, but pretty much the rest of the world. It was a story that focused on hope and bravery when all odds are stacked up against you. It was no surprise then that the franchise earned hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. The success of the follow-up movies – The Two Towers and The Return of The King re-affirmed the worldwide appeal of the franchise.
Audiences were not only drawn to the engaging and thrilling storyline, we also fell in love with the characters. From the little Hobbits to the warrior Elves and Dwarves, the Wizards…all these amazing characters in one movie!
Lord Of The Rings offered us some of the most exciting characters we’ve ever seen onscreen and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wondered what happened to the actors who played them. This is, therefore, a list for the true Lord Of The Rings fans. Scroll down below and find out what happened to our favorite Hobbit and some his friends and enemies.
19 Frodo Baggins/Elijah Wood
Of course we need to start the list off with our favorite blue-eyed Hobbit. The one Hobbit who displayed an immense amount of bravery when the future of civilization was literally put on his shoulders. We all fell in love with Frodo Baggins, and the actor who played him was Elijah Wood. Naturally, after the release of Lord Of The Rings in 2001, Elijah’s face and name were all over the place.
One thing you may not have known though is that Elijah was already making a name for himself before he was made into a Hobbit. He did a few modeling gigs and local commercials from the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Since Lord Of The Rings though, his career seems to be a bit of a hit and miss game with some roles that went well but many others which weren’t as well received by the public.
His most successful gigs were probably Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004), Sin City (2005), Happy Feet (2006), Grand Piano (2013) and he also had a little role in The Hobbit (2011). Unfortunately, none of these roles were as big as the Frodo role he played in Lord Of the Rings, which makes you wonder if roles like that truly do come “only once in a lifetime”.
18 Bilbo Baggins/Ian Holm
Ian Holm has had an incredible career, even before landing the role of Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit who brought the ring to The Shire. Before Lord Of The Rings, he was an English actor who was famous for his stage roles, as well as film roles. He was involved in multiple films including; Alien (1979), Henry V (1989), The Madness of King George (1994) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968). His career seems to have taken off even before Lord Of The Rings as he received a number of recognitions: Tony Award in 1967, a Laurence Olivier Award in 1998, as well as a BAFTA in 1981.
Before he was Bilbo Baggins, did you know that Ian was another Baggins from all the way in 1981? The English actor played Frodo in 1981, in a BBC radio adaptation of the book series. I guess from long ago, he was always meant to be a Hobbit.
After Lord Of The Rings, Ian made a small appearance in the prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as the story dealt with a much younger version of Bilbo finding the ring and going on his unexpected journey. The man is currently 86 years old so no one is expecting him to be all over our TV and Film screens and that is why you probably haven’t seen him lately.
17 Gandalf/Ian McKellum
Who didn’t love Gandalf? The Wizard who gave everything he could to make sure that he protected Frodo along his journey to destroy the ring. The actor who played Gandalf was Ian McKellum and just like Ian Holms, he had a successful acting career way before his Gandalf years.
The English actor is the recipient of a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, two Saturn Awards, six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. McKellum is probably one of the most successful of the cast members and you might have seen him in a number of big roles besides Gandalf, such as Magneto in the X-Men franchise from 1999.
In 2014, he appeared as the supervillain Magneto again in X-Men: Days of Future Past. McKellum’s Gandalf character also made its way to The Hobbit, from 2012 – 2014. In 2013, McKellum made an appearance in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, which was a Doctor Who 50th anniversary comedy homage. The last time you probably heard his voice was last year as he voiced Cogsworth, in the successful live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
16 Samwise Gamgee/Sean Astin
Now I don’t know about you, but Sam Gamgee from The Shire was one of my all-time favorite characters from the franchise. Of course, he wasn’t the lead, he wasn’t a warrior or even a Wizard. He was just a regular Hobbit who had given his word to his friend that he would accompany him on his journey…and he kept his promise, even when times really got rough (We all need a Sam Gamgee in our lives).
Sean Astin played this incredible character. You’ve probably seen Sean in a few movie and TV roles since hanging his Hobbit shoes. He played Doug in the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore Romantic Comedy 50 First Dates (2004). If you didn’t see him there then you might have caught him in the first season of The Strain (2014) as Jim Kent and his most recent role was on the second season of critically acclaimed Stranger Things (2017) as Bob Newby.
Sean has been quite busy and has received a number of accolades including a Saturn Award for best actor in 2004 and a Behind The Voice Actors Award in 2012 for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At 47 years old, he has had 20 awards and 21 nominations for the various characters he has played over the years, including 1 Oscar nomination so it is safe to say that we are still going to see much more of Sean in the years to come.
15 Legolas/Orlando Bloom
Number 15 on the list is for the ladies. Our favorite Elve Legolas was portrayed by handsome English actor Orlando Bloom. Orlando is probably the most mainstream actor on the list as since his Lord Of The Rings days, he has played leading characters in some of the most successful Hollywood franchises. You’ve probably seen him on Kingdom of Heaven (2005) or Elizabethtown in the same year.
If you haven’t seen him there then you most certainly saw him acting opposite Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl in 2003 as well as the sequels to the franchise in the following years. Orlando also played Paris, in the epic Trojan War film Troy in 2004 which enjoyed much box office success. As a Lord Of The Rings fan, you also saw him return to his Elve bow and arrow as Legolas in part 2 and 3 of the prequel The Hobbit.
His role as Legolas left a lasting impression on him that he even got a tattoo for it – He had the word “nine” tattooed on his wrist written in fictional Tengwar Elvish as it made a reference to being one of the 9 members of the Fellowship of The Ring. Besides all the career success, Orlando has also been in many blogs for his love life – As the ex-husband of Miranda Kerr and the on again, off again boyfriend of Katy Perry.
14 Eomer/Karl Urban
New Zealander Karl Urban joined the Lord Of The Rings cast in the second and third installments of the trilogy as Eomer. In The Two Towers, Eomer is exiled by Grima and then arrives at the climax of the Battle of Helm’s Deep, along with our favorite Wizard, Gandalf. Karl was also seen in another big franchise. He was in the Star Trek reboot film series (2009 – ).
You can also catch him on the Bourne Supremacy as Kirill, the Russian Federal Security Service agent, Doom and The Chronicles of Riddick. Did you know that Karl almost got the role as James Bond? Well, The Hollywood Reporter reported that he was one of the actors being considered for the 007 role in Casino Royale but he was unable to make the audition due to filming commitments and as we know, the role went to Daniel Craig. There are plenty of other tv and movie roles he has had since Eomer but most recently, he was in Thor: Ragnarok (2016) as Skurge. Karl seems to be one of those “serious actors” who is hardly ever in the tabloids.
13 Faramir/David Wenham
New Zealander, Karl Urban, joined the Lord Of The Rings cast in the second and third installments of the trilogy as Eomer. In The Two Towers, Eomer is exiled by Grima and then arrives at the climax of the Battle of Helm’s Deep, along with our favorite Wizard, Gandalf. Karl was also seen in another big franchise.
He was in the Star Trek reboot film series (2009 – ). You can also catch him on the Bourne Supremacy as Kirill, the Russian Federal Security Service agent, Doom and The Chronicles of Riddick. Did you know that Karl almost got the role as James Bond? Well, The Hollywood Reporter reported that he was one of the actors being considered for the 007 role in Casino Royale but he was unable to make the audition due to filming commitments and as we know, the role went to Daniel Craig.
There are plenty of other tv and movie roles he has had since Eomer but most recently, he was in Thor: Ragnarok (2016) as Skurge. Karl seems to be one of those “serious actors” who is hardly ever in the tabloids
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12 Galadriel/Cate Blanchett
At number 12, I bring you one of the most powerful and also one of the most important elves in the trilogy, Galadriel. She had knowledge, power and most certainly beauty. Galadriel was one the greatest of Eldar in Middle Earth and she was played by Cate Blanchett.
In terms of accolades, Cate can be regarded as the most successful amongst her Lord Of The Rings cast members as she has received two Academy Awards, three BAFTAs, six AACTA Awards, 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as three Golden Globe Awards. Cate earned her two Academies for her roles in The Aviator as Katherine Hepburn in 2004 and her role in Blue Jasmine (2013).
The Australian actress has made a name for herself in Hollywood and has had incredible roles in many films, including; Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), The Hobbit trilogy (2012 – 2014), Babel (2006), Robin Hood (2010), Cinderella (2015) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Her most noticeable recent role has been last year in Thor: Ragmarok. Cate not only acts on screen but on the stage as well. She also had a successful stage career and is the 4 time Helpman Award winner for Best Female Actor in a Play.
11 Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck/Dominic Monaghan
“Merry”, as he was fondly known, was one of the many friends of Frodo who helped him along his journey to destroying that dreaded ring. Dominic Monaghan played Merry in Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. He is a German-born English actor. I’m sure you’ve seen Dominic in a number of TV roles since his fellowship days.
The TV roles that you might have seen him in is in Lost from 2004 – 2010, as Charlie Pace and in the superhero film franchise X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009 as Chris Bradley. He is currently hosting a nature program called Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.
Being a big TV and film star has not always been easy for Dominic as he has dealt with a number of unsettling threats from obsessed fans. One fan once wrote him a number of emails and threatened to take the British out of him. TMZ reports that the deranged fan wrote a number of emails to him. One of those emails read: “I could show up in New Zealand tomorrow and you (sic) I could rip off your clothes and take the British out of you and you couldn’t use the restraining order against me because it’s in L.A. Country, not New Zealand”. Dominic has gotten a restraining order against this lunatic.
10 Peregrin “Pippin” Took/Billy Boyd
Merry’s best friend was “Pippin” and he too joined the Fellowship and accompanied Frodo to destroy the ring. Pippin was played by Billy Boyd who is a Scottish actor and musician. Since his Lord Of The Rings role, he has made an appearance in a number of other movies which have not been as successful as his Pippin role so don’t worry if you haven’t actually seen him in any of these movies and if you have, then you must be a real fan of his.
Billy has been in Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World (2003), Seed of Chucky (2004), The Flying Scotsman (2006), as well as Dorothy and The Witches of Oz (2012).
Besides acting, as I’ve mentioned, Billy is also a singer and songwriter. Did you know that he actually wrote and sang the song “The Edge Of Night”, which you might have heard in the last movie of the trilogy – Return of The King? This same song was later used in the trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies (2014). He also wrote and performed “The Last Goodbye” for The Hobbit and you would have heard it being played over the credits of The Hobbit.
9 Elrond/Hugo Weaving
Elrond Half-elven was played by Hugo Weaving who is an English-Australian film and stage actor. Hugo had another big role around the same time he was cast as Elrond. Do you remember The Matrix Trilogy? Hugo was cast as Agent Smith from 1999 – 2003. After Lord Of The Rings, he was part of the cast who made it to the prequel, The Hobbit from 2012 – 2014.
Hugo has been in a number of big films outside of the Peter Jackson franchise: You might have seen him in V for Vendetta in 2006 or in Captain America: The First Avenger as Red Skull. Outside of just being on our screens, Hugo has also had a number of voice acting roles in more recent years. He was in Babe as Rex, he was Noah in Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two (Remember Elijah Wood was also in Happy Feet, as the lead).
If you’re a Transformers fan, you definitely also heard his voice in the first three Transformers films as he was the voice of Megatron. Hugo has a number of awards for his acting and these include an MTV Movie Award, a Satellite Award as well as six Australian Film Institute Awards.
8 Gimli/John Rhys-Davies
Everyone’s favorite dwarf makes his way on the list at number 8. Sure, we loved our dear Hobbits, we also loved the Elvish, and definitely Gandalf…but the Fellowship wouldn’t be complete without our favorite short and funny man – Gimli. Gimli not only brought some comic relief to the intense situations the Fellowship found themselves in, but he was also a strong and brave old warrior who showed that age and size do not really matter (well, at least not in Middle Earth).
Gimli was played by Welsh actor and voice actor John Rhys-Davies. Just like most of his fellow cast members, John hasn’t really gotten a role as big as Gimli since wrapping Lord Of The Rings. He’s acted in The Apostle Peter: Redemption (2016), Camera Stone (2016), as well as Golden Shoes (2015). If you haven’t seen any of these movies, don’t worry – As they were not big box office hits. John told FoxNews that he believes that the reason why he hasn’t really gotten big roles lately is because of his outspoken nature. “I know there are certain people in Hollywood who would not work with me because I have said things that are not PC. I have lost friends and that saddens me”.
7 Boromir/Sean Bean
I don’t know about you, but when Boromir bravely died in Fellowship Of The Ring at the hands of that big Orke, I was heartbroken that the Fellowship had lost a member. Boromir was played by English actor, Sean Bean. Unlike some of his Lord Of The Rings cast members who have faded into the background in non-significant roles since the franchise, you most definitely have seen Sean in a number of TV and Film roles since the Fellowship.
There are quite a number of roles he has been in but some of the more popular roles are in: Troy (2004), The Frankenstein Chronicles (2015), The Martian (2015), Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), Broken (2017) and of course, his Game Of Thrones role.
Sean has been busy not only onscreen but also in his personal life. For starters, he has been married 5 times and the dailymail reported that in 2012, he was arrested over claims of abusive text messages and phone calls to one of his ex wives, Georgina Sutcliffe. If you hadn’t heard about this, it would be because the charges were soon dropped. With such a busy and successful acting career, one wonders where on earth he gets the time for all this drama in his life.
6 Denethor/John Noble
The father of Boromir and Faramir – Denethor, was portrayed by Australian actor John Noble. You might have seen the Australian in a number of roles since Lord Of The Rings including; Fringe (2008 – 2013), Sleepy Hollow (2013 – 2017), Elementary (since 2012) and The Last Airbender in 2010.
Outside of acting, John has made sure that he gives back by being involved in a number of charities. One particular charity he is passionate about is his own charity, Noble Bones, which helps to raise awareness for Oesteoporosis. He is passionate about raising awareness for this disease in particular because he was diagnosed with the disease back in 2012.
Other most recent TV roles have been on DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (which he has been a part of since 2017), Salvation (2017) and The Blacklist (2018). In terms of awards, besides all the awards he and his fellow Lord of The Rings cast scooped up, he also has a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2010) for his role in Fringe.
5 Theoden/Bernard Hill
Theoden joined Lord Of The Rings in the sequels: The Two Towers and Return Of The King. Theoden was played by English actor Bernard Hill. If you feel like you had seen his face way before his appearance on Lord Of The Rings, you are correct. Bernard has had quite an incredible acting career as he has been in multiple film and tv shows but the one role that he you might have seen him in before Lord of The Rings is in the 1997 James Cameron hit Titanic. Yep, he was the Captain that sank the Titanic.
After Lord Of The Rings, you might have seen him in Gothika (2003), ParaNorman (2012), The Boys from County Clare (2003) and Valkyrie (2008) and as Luther Plunkitt in the Clint Eastwood film True Crime. Regarding awards, he hasn’t really received much recognition since his multiple awards with his Lord Of The Rings cast.
His large major TV role was as Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk in the 6 part BBC Wolf Hall in 2015. The man is currently 74 years old so I’m not mad at all that he hasn’t really been up to a lot in recent years.
4 Eowyn/Miranda Otto
The beautiful Eowyn was one of the few women in Lord Of The Rings. According to the books, her full title was White Lady of Rohan, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, Lady of the Shield-arm, Lady of Ithilien, Lady of Emyn Arnen (That’s a mouthful).
As one of the few women in the series, you know she was very strong. One famous quote of hers is when she told Aragorn: “Shall I always be left behind when the Riders depart, to mind the house while they win renown, and find food and beds when they return?” It seems like Eowyn was fighting for feminisim and female empowerment back in those days.
Eowyn’s character was played by Australian actress, Miranda Otto in The Two Towers and Return Of The King. Since Lord Of The Rings, you have probably seen her in Homeland (since 2011), I, Frankenstein (2014), War of The Worlds (2005), and most recently in 24: Legacy (2017). Most of her film and TV roles have been in her country Australia and she gained Hollywood’s attention after appearing in a few ‘90s roles and of course Eowyn.
3 Saruman/ Sir Christopher Lee
We start off number 3 on the list with the one who betrayed Gandalf, Saruman the White. According to the book series, his full title is Lord Of Isengard, Head of the White Council, The White Wizard, “The Boss”. After realizing that he had betrayed Gandalf, I hated his character but we all know that Gandalf had the last laugh when they battled so all is good.
Saruman was played by the late English actor Sir Christopher Lee. Sir Christopher Lee passed away in 2015 at the age of 93, after having a career that spanned almost 70 years. He was not only an established actor, but also a singer and author. You have definitely seen him in multiple roles outside of Lord Of The Rings including: The second and third films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy as Count Dooku in 2002 and 2005. He was also included in The Hobbit film trilogy (2012 – 2014). Outside of the acting, singing and also being an author, Sir Christopher Lee also served his country as a Flight Lieutenant from 1939 to 1946 in Winter War and World War II.
2 Arwen/Liv Tyler
The lady of Rivendell, Queen of the Reunited Kingdom comes in at number 2 as Arwen. The Half-elven was played by Liv Tyler. This American actress and former model is the daughter of former model Bebe Buell and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.
Liv had a few major roles before Lord Of The Rings but her big role was in the big-budget Armageddon in 1998. After Lord Of The Rings, she has appeared in a number of films, including Reign Over Me (2007), The Strangers (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Jersey Girl (2004) and Lonesome Jim (2005).
Liv then made her television debut in 2014 on the HBO series The Leftovers. Outside of her acting, she became the spokesperson for Givenchy in 2003 and a rose was named after her by Givenchy in 2005. If you haven’t really seen her much lately, it is probably because she is busy with a lot of charity work. In 2012, she participated in a gala event for the David Lynch Foundation that focused on providing transcendental meditation to disadvantaged people in society. She is also a supporter of UNICEF and was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for The US in 2003 and she helped launch the Emergen-C Pink energy drink, in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness.
1 Aragorn/Viggo Mortensen
Chieftain of the Dunedain, King of the Reunited Kingdom – Aragorn. I know I’m not the only one who rejoiced and felt a huge sense of relief when Aragorn, the great warrior, was rightfully placed as King. The man who played this incredible role was Danish-American actor, Viggo Mortensen.
My biased opinion feels that Viggo will probably never have another role that comes close to the role of Aragorn, but I do have to admit that since Lord Of The Rings, the man has continued to receive critical acclaim for a number of roles. Besides the numerous awards he received as part of the Lord Of The Rings ensemble, Viggo earned a nomination for the Academy Awards for Best Actor in Eastern Promises (2007). He’s also received a nomination for the Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture in the 2011 film A Dangerous Mind. You might have also seen Viggo in Appaloosa (2008) as well as Far From Men (2014). Unlike many of his Lord Of The Rings cast members, his acting career seems to be on the incline as he last year received another Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in his role in Captain Fantastic.
References: DailymMail, FoxNews, TMZ, The Hollywood Reporter
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