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Saruman Completely Cut from 'Return of the King' 979

Posted by timothy
from the still-ticked-at-trilogy-ticket-snafu dept.
Dolemite_the_Wiz writes "Multiple News Sources report that Christopher Lee's Character Saruman will not appear in the LOTR: ROTK at all. From what I've been reading, the scenes total seven minutes and is a vital component of the whole storyline that the 'masses' should see in the theatrical cut of ROTK. Of course these scenes will be included in the DVD 'Special Edition' of ROTK. I've got tremendous faith in Peter Jackson's talents as a filmmaker. I've been a fan since his first movie but haven't read the LOTR trilogy books...yet. (I'm waiting for ROTK to hit the theaters) Given the fact that I haven't read the books but am a huge movie snob, how can you not have any sort of resolution of a character that has played a key component in the three movies? Articles on this story can be found at BBC, Christopher Lee Web, and theonering.net."
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Saruman Completely Cut from 'Return of the King'

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  • Sign the petition (Score:2, Informative)

    by baximus (552800) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:07PM (#7458642)
    If you want Lee's character back, SIGN THE PETITION! [petitiononline.com]
  • by F34nor (321515) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:08PM (#7458656)
    The fact that he now appears to belive his own bullshit regarding The lord of the Rings means that he has lost the Tao and gained some hubris.

    Remeber that he made a movie about not beliving your own bullshit called "Heavenly Creatures" which makes it not the least bit ironic.
  • Jackson (Score:5, Informative)

    by cowsgomoo666 (663881) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:10PM (#7458681)
    Jackson has said that Lee's parts were cut from the 3rd film because they should really be part of the 2nd, but he didn't want to start off with wrapping up the 2nd movie. They wanted to start off fresh. See: http://www.darkhorizons.com/news03/031110.htm
  • by Gyan (6853) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:11PM (#7458692)
    Here's Peter Jackson's take [theonering.net] on it
  • Re:No Sharky, eh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SoVeryWrong (576783) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:11PM (#7458696)
    Scouring of the Shire has been out for a while...
    The part they're talking about is when Gandalf goes to Isengard and breaks Saruman's staff. That's gone from the theatrical release (which really should have been at the end of TTT, but wasn't).
  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:12PM (#7458700)
    This article at Ain't It Cool [aint-it-cool-news.com] is where Jackson talks about it, which I'll go on mirror here since AICN's servers have been so touchy lately: (an e-mail from PJ to Harry Knowles)

    Saruman thing you describe is a muddle of half-truths.

    We have decided to save the Saruman sequence for the DVD. It's a great little scene. 7 mins long. Chris is wonderful, as usual. Brad is in about 6 shots. It was a film maker decision - nothing to do with the studio.

    The problem is that the sequence was originally shot for The Two Towers, as it is in the book. Since The Two Towers couldn't sustain a 7 min "wrap" after Helm's Deep, we thought it would be a good idea to save it for the beginning of the Return of the King. The trouble is, when we viewed various ROTK cuts over the last few weeks, it feels like the first scenes are wrapping last year's movie, instead of starting the new one. We felt it got ROTK off to an uncertain beginning, since Saruman plays no role in the events of ROTK (we don't have the Scouring later, as the book does), yet we dwell in Isengard for quite a long time before our new story kicks off.

    We reluctantly made the decision to save this sequence for the DVD. The choice was made on the basis that most people will assume that Saruman was vanquished by the Helm's Deep events, and Ent attack. We can now crack straight into setting up the narrative tension of ROTK, which features Sauron as the villian.

    It was a very similar situation to last year when we decided to take a nice Boromir/Denethor flashback out of The Two Towers, and put it in the DVD. It was causing us pacing problems in the theatrical version, but with the Extended Cut just coming out now, fans can see this great little scene. Thank God for DVD, since it does mean that a version of the movie, which has different pacing requirements, can be released later. The Saruman sequence will definately be a highlight of the Extended ROTK DVD.

    We have a lot of great DVD material this time around. As we crafted the movie, we reduced it from an over 4 hour running time, down to 3.12 (without credits - about 8 mins long). This was done by us. There were no studio cutting notes. We now have a movie with a pace that fells ok for it's theatrical release. One more week to go. We are nearly there. Will we still be standing? It's going to be a close run thing.

    Cheers,

    Peter J

    As he describes it, it definately sounds like just One of Those Things that happens when you're adapting books to film.

  • Re:WTF! (Score:4, Informative)

    by bman08 (239376) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:12PM (#7458705)
    Come on. All that happens is gandalf breaks his staff and expels him from the wizarding club. The only important plot element is wormtongue throwing the palantir out the window. They have to leave plenty of room for liv tyler dream sequences because that's what the fans want... am I right?
  • Re:WTF! (Score:2, Informative)

    by jasonbowen (683345) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:17PM (#7458772)
    Easy, they aren't even going to cover the book past the final battle. Him and wormtounge appear in the shire at the end of the book.
  • by mfago (514801) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:19PM (#7458806)
    or the Weirding Modules out of Dune

    God DAMN it: there are NO "wierding modules" in any written version of Dune. They are just a David Lynch appeasement for the moronic masses.

    Sorry: hit a sore point. Those abominations, and the fuckin rain at the end of Lynch's version ruined an otherwise fantastic movie.
  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrowScape (659629) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:23PM (#7458858)
    Plus the SE of the first included free movie tickets to the second. I thought that was a damn good deal, and I used them. Here's hoping the SE of the 2nd does the same!
  • by Veroxii (51114) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:28PM (#7458922)
    The decision was made by PJ himself. And since we didn't explicitly see Saruman's demise in TTT, this won't affect the storyline for the average movie-goer. More here. [aintitcool.com]
  • Re:Key component? (Score:2, Informative)

    by beavis_kc (323366) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:33PM (#7458987) Homepage
    Sam didn't look into the mirror. It was Frodo only (in the movie anyway). Your point is still valid, Frodo saw the shire under sharkey's control.
  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by emarkp (67813) <slashdot&roadq,com> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:45PM (#7459115) Journal
    You insightful post is actually wrong. Jackson has said he's not been under any pressure from the studio. See here [aintitcool.com] for more info.
  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Malc (1751) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:48PM (#7459146)
    Hideously expensive? The SE last year cost me CAD$35 + taxes (USD$25 at the time). I've pre-ordered it this year, and it was about CAD$41 incl. taxes and shipping (USD$31 at current exchange rate).
  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:4, Informative)

    by asobala (563713) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:55PM (#7459225) Homepage
    That's not actually true. What actually happened is that Peter Jackson always intended the 3-hour versions to be the ones shown in the cinemas. He also intended the extended editions to be on DVDs, for die-hard fans.

    Please don't spread FUD.
  • Re:Key component? (Score:1, Informative)

    by LineNoiz (616971) <kal_durak@yahoo.cLIONom minus cat> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:57PM (#7459240)
    Yeah, but then Galadriel says something along the lines of "You see what will come to pass if you fail" or whatever. I guess that's why Sam got rope instead of Magic Dirt....
  • They already made a big deal of the palantir in FotR and TTT, so I think they can give the audience some credit and let them assume that our heroes already dispensed of Sauraman and looted his tower between the two films.

    Also, a lot of people have been complaining that Sam foresaw the scouring of the Shire in his mirror...well, I think it was strongly implied in the movie that the Mirror was showing him the future if they failed in their quest. IIRC, Galadriel says something like "the future is not yet set." There was nothing to imply in the movie that they were foreseeing the Scouring, therefore, no audience member (excluding die-hards) will feel as if something is missing at the end.

    Additionally, I am going to take the controversial position that the Scouring would make for an anti-climactic ending and is best left out the movie altogether.

    Why?

    Spoiler

    A movie epilogue (of the non-"avant guarde" genre) should last 5-10 minutes. To do the Scouring justice would take 10-20 minutes of screen time. That means less 10-20 minutes less of Battle of Minas Tirith, Mt. Doom, Black Gate, etc.(if they want to keep it under 3 hours).

    The Real Story that these movies have portrayed to the audience is the destruction of the Ring...so once that plotline is resolved, said audience is going to get fidgety. Introducing a whole new mini-plotline (Scouring of Shire) right after the resolution of the Trilogy would really make the movie "drag" for the vast majority. Better to wrap things up as quickly as possible and leave a tear in the audiences' collective eye if possible.

    I just hope they end it with Frodo and Bilbo going West and Sam returning to his family - "Well, I'm back." If they end abruptly after the destruction of the Ring, it's going to suck.
  • by BlabberMouth (672282) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @08:26PM (#7459571)
    by the beginning of ROTK. I'm not sure that he has any role in the story at all until after the final battle with Sauron is already over. I believe that the original poster overstated his importance to the plot.
  • Re:Key component? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Suicyco (88284) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @08:40PM (#7459702) Homepage
    What appeared in frodo's vision isn't anything from the scouring of the shire, nor was it in Sams vision in the book. The visions they had were of after the shire had already been corrupted and turned to industry, Sauron had retrieved the ring in those visions. That hadn't happened in the scouring, there were no orcs in the shire, just men at that time.
  • by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @08:54PM (#7459820) Homepage Journal
    Uh, drop the conspiracy, K? Use Occam's Razor for chrissakes. It's unnecessary to con anybody into buying the DVD..."Geeks" are going to buy the movie on DVD no matter what. Since the release on the first movie, I've bought tickets to 5 showings (2 of FotR, 3 of TT) and bought three DVDs, soon to be 4. I haven't felt ripped off in the least...I bought this shit because *I* loved it and *I* got sucked into it and *I* enjoyed every minute of it.

    The last two Matrix films? Marketting ploy. Star Wars...now there's a marketting ploy. Did you hear they're rewriting Darth Vader's past to preserve the innocence of the Obi Wan character? Not that this surprises any of you, I'm sure...
  • Re:WTF! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hooded One (684008) <hoodedoneNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:53AM (#7461422) Journal
    Gandalf was the Maiar Olorin. The Valaquenta, the second chapter of The Silmarillion, says this about Olorin:

    Wisest of the Maiar was Olorin. He too dwelt in Lorien, but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.


    Of Melian much is told in the Quenta Silmarillion. But of Olorin that tale does not speak; for though he loved the Elves, he alked among them unseen, or in form as one of them, and they did not know whence came the fair visions or the prompting of wisdom that he put into their harts. In later days he was the friend of all the Children of Iluvatar, and took pity on their sorrows; and those who listened to him awoke from despair and put away the imaginations of darkness.


    This doesn't exactly peg Gandalf as Olorin, though a connection seems likely, as Gandalf is mentioned many times as having much pity upon others. However, in The Two Towers, Gandalf mentions once having the name Olorin. Finally, in one of Tolkien's letters that were later published (I can't remember if that one was in the collection compiled by Humphrey Carpenter or not) he explicitly states that the two were one and the same.

    (Hmm... from the preview it seems that accented characters are converted to the "normal" versions and entities don't work. Poop.)
  • Re:Key component? (Score:2, Informative)

    by galt2112 (648234) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:58AM (#7463419)
    No, Tolkien stated that he hated allegory. Many people have interpreted that statement to mean that he didn't want to continually argue about the books, and just wanted people to read the books for what they were, not over-analyze them. It does not mean that there was none in the books.

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