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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Why Elijah Wood doesn't think the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy could be made today

The early 2000s were a pretty wild time.

By Josh Weiss
The Lord Of The Rings The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) *Spotlight* PRESS

There is no arguing that Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the greatest cinematic triumphs in Hollywood history. But could a director — one mostly known for schlocky horror flicks in his home country of New Zealand — get away with such a big-budget studio undertaking today? Elijah Wood isn't so sure.

"There was a great sense of a lack of oversight. Peter and the larger team were allowed to make the movies the way that they wanted to make them without much outside perspective," the actor who played the Ring-bearing Hobbit, Frodo, across the three Tolkien-inspired movies told The New York Times. "That doesn’t mean the studio wasn’t afraid or invested. They knew the risk of making these films back to back. I don’t know if he would be able to make them in the same way now."

In today's filmmaking landscape, studio oversight is almost always par for the course, particularly when mega blockbuster franchises rule the day (and the box office). Moreover, the internet has, for better or worse, played a massive role in how movies are produced and sold. A great example is the overwhelming fan backlash over the main character design for Sonic the Hedgehog that prompted Paramount to delay the movie's release so the character could be redesigned to look more like he does in the video games. There's also The Last Jedi, which split Star Wars fans right down the middle — a development that almost certainly resulted in all the narrative backpedaling done by The Rise of Skywalker.

"Look, the internet’s different too. There was less scrutiny on the films," Wood continued. "There was less known about them. We were able to make the movies in a bubble. We had quaint problems, like there would be some photographers up on a hill, but it was pretty minor. I don’t know if that would be possible now. Now the world is online and there’s a great deal of access afforded to pretty much anybody about anything."

Without those bygone days in which a director could simply carry out their vision unhindered, however, New Line may never have set the benchmark for epic fantasy cinema. That old way of doing things has all but been cast into the fires of Mordor.

"It’s representative of one of the greatest experiences of my life, movies that I adore and memories that I’ll cherish forever," Wood concluded. "At the end of my days, that is what I will be linked to probably more than anything else. I can only equate it to similar scenarios like Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford. They are associated with their classic [Star Wars] characters more than others. Now that we’re standing on the precipice of 20 years, which is so difficult to comprehend, my reflection is one of such gratitude and such love that I’ll never be upset at being associated with those films or for them being the largest in people’s memories of who I am."

Amazon is currently hard at work on its own uber-expensive Lord of the Rings adaptation for the small screen. Set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and the main trilogy, the project (it still doesn't have a title) is expected to arrive on Prime Video sometime next year.