The Middle-earth Box Set: Ultimate Edition *speculations*

Deleted Scenes (Header)

– You’ve probably heard it in passing, like a glimmer of hope beyond reach. You may have craved for it, but were left empty-handed.

Just going through some of the ‘making of’ documentaries on The Lord of the Rings DVDs, you’ll regularly come across glimpses of unseen images and footage. These rare shots had alsoOrcs from Moria made their way in several official trailers prior to each of the films’ releases.

Digging deeper, one is able to uncover a wealth of information regarding scenes throughout the Trilogy, which had been shot for inclusion in the final films, but due to time constraints and/or storytelling efficiency, were removed.

As mouth-watering as these tantalizing glimpses may have been, no word ever came out of their existence within The Lord of the Rings cinematic experience.

Such was their unhappy lot, that they didn’t even make it amongst the ranks of added scenes in the Extended Editions; removed to a dark corner that would never witness the light of day.

Year after year  we lost all trace of these rumours, although Peter Jackson mentioned in passing about a possible “The Lord of the Rings Ultimate Edition” as a 25th Anniversary release.

Gil-galad12In an interview, he also stated that such an edition would include the much-missed outtakes (or bloopers) and that the deleted scenes in question would not be re-inserted within the films – but would rather be presented in separate clips as a special feature (link).

In 2010, another online article contained an interview with Michael Pellerin (the brilliant filmmaker who produced all the behind the scenes footage of the Trilogy), explaining that:

there’s also another approximately 20 hours of materials and ideas that we specifically saved for future use.”

the future of when these treasures will see the light of day is unknown


I’m in a daze just re-reading that now: “… 20 hours of materials … treasures …” 

But again, years passed and the 25-year mark seemed too far away … and a remote possibility.


Now, with the release (and soon-to-conclude) The Hobbit Trilogy, it seems pretty certain that – after an Extended Edition release of the third film in late 2015 – the studios will undoubtedly be releasing a massive box set containing the two Trilogies.

Could this be the right time and moment when we’ll get that blessed Ultimate Edition all in one package?

(At this year’s Comic Con, Peter Jackson apparently addressed the issue by showing some of these deleted scenes.)

It’s difficult to say at this stage, but while we wait with bated breath, here’s a selection of images referring to deleted or unused scenes from The Lord of the Rings.

Deleted Scenes (LOTR)

Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did … (let us know below!) 😀

Just looking this collage, my heart beats a bit faster, and the amount of scenes we could potentially experience when they eventually make their way onto our screens is simply mind-boggling.

It’s fascinating how us fans – who’ve literally burnt the disc surfaces of our DVD copies through sheer overuse and know every scene, shot and frame of this Trilogy – instantly pick up any images that look unfamiliar and don’t fit within the whole aesthetic of the three films we’re so accustomed too by now.

The same thing happens to me whenever I re-watchthe trailers for An Unexpected Journey.

AUJ Deleted Scenes

There are many shots that still didn’t make the final cut in the Extended Edition; and whilst some are nothing more than different takes of a used shot, it’s interesting to see how they would fit in the whole film.


– Pondering the box-set’s title …

Ultimate Edition or not, it’s almost set in stone that we’ll be seeing two Trilogies packaged in one hefty box-set.

Peter Jackson, has already stated we might see the use of the long-lost “There and Back Again” title for this Trilogy; but what about the entire box-set itself?

I’m tempted by the title: The War of the Ring – and whilst The Hobbit doesn’t relate to that event, it still dwells rather strongly on the discovery and the story of the Ring.

Empire Magazine, in their August 2013 issue had – most probably, jokingly – considered the name: The Meddlings of Gandalf. To be honest, it does have a nice ring to it (no pun intended).

Let us know what you would love to see displayed on your shelf as you extend both hands to grab the massive box containing the two Extended Edition Trilogies …

**Oh, and if you want to read more about this unseen footage, Emily over at TolkienBlog has written a fantastic posted about it: There Are Still Scenes We Haven’t Seen

Till next time! 😉


Copyright of images belongs to Warner Bros, New Line Cinema & MGM Studios

81 thoughts on “The Middle-earth Box Set: Ultimate Edition *speculations*

  1. Oh, man, the prospect of a release containing those 20 hours of extra special features is tantalising, but I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable making such a hefty purchase if it were that soon after The Hobbit Extended Edition set came out. I’m not fond of double-dipping in general. A few years after, at least, and I’d consider it. If it were on a newer format it’d be a no-brainer.

    Possible titles:

    The One Ring Box Set
    The Baggins Hexalogy
    The Gandalf Saga
    The Many Appearances of Legolas
    The Third Age Not-The-Video-Game

    1. Yes, unfortunately double-dipping has been proven that it exists after the theatrical/extended releases of the LOTR trilogy first on DVD then blu-ray.

      Studios feeding on the cravings of us poor fans …

      But I admit, I’ll be one of those who’ll end up buying the final Hobbit film separately, then the trilogy and then the eventual two-trilogy box set … alas!

      1. Not a bad idea Richard! I can even image the cover art for the box set with the gorgeous red leather texture of the book – with an embossed “BB” on the corner 🙂

  2. The production of a single boxed set of all six films, as a marketing/repackaging exercise, is almost inevitable, I would have thought, because of its commercial potential. Furthermore, given productions of such vast scale, there must be a huge amount of behind-the-scenes footage that was shot but never edited for presentation on DVD/Blu-ray, so, yes, I would agree that new “extras” are also a possibility. I’m not so sure, though, whether we will ever see the additional scenes. I have a vague recollection that in one of the documentary extras for the extended edition of Fellowship, the editor (or someone) says that simply sticking together selected takes for all the scripted scenes (i.e. the editor’s cut) of Fellowship would give a running-time of about four hours. That might be wrong, but it’s what one might expect, anyway: the director will take the editor’s cut and from that start making creative decisions about what needs to go, what needs to be re-shot, where there need to be pick-ups etc. Any scenes that are cut at that initial stage are not going to receive any post-production work; and that is the category in which I suspect many of the unreleased scenes belong. There will have been no digital processing, no ADR, and no effects added (visual or Foley); so, either such scenes would have to be presented in a raw state, or they would need to be taken through the post-production process, which would require the studio to spend money.

    What I have always wished for is an “ultimate cut” of LotR with the subterranean portion of the fight between Gandalf and the Balrog (including the “nameless things”), which was planned but never shot because of budgetary limitations. I suppose that if Ian McKellen wasn’t available the technology by then would allow for a digital double to be used.

    1. Brilliant post, Graham – as always. You bring out many important points to be considered (and hoped for) in a future release.

      I’d love to see at least some test shots for that slimy-Balrog scene that was hinted at by PJ …

  3. I would also really like to have a look at some footage of Stuart Townsend as Aragorn, but I think we can be 100% certain that that material will never see the light of day.

      1. I’m sure they do. At this year’s Comic Con, Peter Jackson said – rather humorously, but quite possibly true – that the studios would have to dig them up from the Arizona desert, where they (apparently) store all of the raw footage from their films.

        So they’re still there, beneath tonnes of sand 😀

  4. Words fail me (almost). The English language lacks the proper words for how desperately I want such a thing to be true. 20 HOURS!!! I am awestruck by the magnitude of it all. 2025 can’t come soon enough! Mainly because I’ll be about 50, and ready for Gandalf to come take me on an adventure!

    …also, for a title for the Ultimate Edition Box Set, I would humbly nominate my choice: “The Lord of the Rings – The Passing of the Third Age.”

  5. Patience is not a virtue of mine but this boxed set will happen. Jackson hinted that it will be called “There and Back Again” so that’s my vote. I don’t know about the other images from AUJ you pointed out, but the one of Bofur is from the scene in Rivendell where he sings his song (this is featured in the Extended Edition). I’ve been saving money for a while now for this boxed set because it will not be cheap. The Battle of Five Armies may be the last theatrical release of a Tolkin adaptation by Jackson, but it is certainly not the “end of all things,” the Road goes ever, ever on.

    1. Yes indeed – the Road does go ever on and I’m hoping we may look forward to something else which brings Middle-earth to the cinema 🙂

  6. The mere idea of an ultimate boxset for LOTR and The Hobbit makes my heart beat faster!!! We needs it!
    All of of that unused footage, hours of bloopers, behind the scenes stuff that has never been seen before *fans self* We needs it ALL!!

    I like “There and Back Again” a lot, I really want it to be used for something.

    I have heard rumors of Faramir and Eowyn’s scene, I want that. I want everything. Just give us everything, PJ.

  7. That sounds like a wonderful collection. I would purchase it, but would also hope that if it gets released a better form of medium is used than DVD’s or Blue-Ray can provide. I would hope for a flash drive solution that can hold all movies and extra features, but has no problems with quality being deminished through scratches etc. I guess in some years it is not unthinkable that flash drives will have the capacity to make this happen.

    1. I like the idea of flashdrives, but personally, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned circular flat disc which you can insert and eject into a player 🙂

      1. That is the best fealing in the world. Having a physical disc, and the case to touch, and look at. A flash drive would take all that away.

  8. It’s so funny that you posted about this just a week after I did something similar (although less comprehensive).

    The scene that I want to see the most is the wedding of Faramir and Éowyn! It was filmed, but I’ve never seen any footage of it.

    From the little research that I did, I gathered that Jackson didn’t plan to release the footage ( I’m so glad you proved me wrong, though. I’ve been waiting for this for over a decade…

  9. Just wondering. New Line Cinema owns the LOTR trilogy, and Warner Brothers owns the Hobbit trilogy. That would mean they’d have to come to a consensus to release all the footages, right? That aside, when (not if 🙂 ) they do release an ultimate edition, I will definitely be getting my hands on them, and a few more sets as well for my yet unborn grandchildren 😀 And wouldn’t it be awesome if they collaborated with Weta one last time to release another limited edition statue?

      1. Didn’t New Line declare bankruptcy a while back? I remember reading somewhere that because they were getting sued by so many people over LotR (Tolkien Estate, actors, etc.), New Line disappeared so it didn’t have to deal with the lawsuits. I could be wrong though.

      2. I’m not well informed about these things, but I remember that when New Line failed for bankruptcy, it merged with Warner Bros. in 2008. So it still exists in a way … (0_o)

      3. In the UK Warner Bros have already started releasing LOTR, we’ve had The fellowship in October 2013 and then Towers in October 2014 which can only mean The King in October 2015 and maybe a complete Boxset of all 6 at the same time.

        The covers for the Warner releases are almost identical, the differences being the WB logo on the spine instead of EIV and the rear color/sound specs in Warners style.

        I’m not sure I would double dip for a complete set I kinda like the idea of keeping each trilogy seperate, I have resisted buying any hobbit movies on Blu ray so far and made do with UV copies of both Theatrical and Extended editions from eBay until the Boxsets are released. I double dipped enough with LOTR buying them a total of 4 times (all 6 releases separately on DVD and then both Boxsets on Blu Ray)

  10. That collage…*jaw drops* Legolas in Fangorn? ❤ Gimli in the Caves?! Sauron as Annatar!!

    Someone needs to start a petition to whoever's involved with releasing all this, whether it's PJ or New Line or Warners or all three. No doubt about it.

  11. The prospect of additional material being worked into Lord of the Rings makes me super exited! 😀 I’d especially love to see Gil-Galad finally make his appearance and Eowyn defending the innocents of Rohan! I’m also pretty intrigued to see how they integrate the Orc encounter in Lorien, but I’m not sure how they can edit it in, or even Faramir’s vision of Frodo turning into Gollum.

    Not to sound nitpicky, but I think there are a few sections of scenes that won’t make it into the ‘Middle-earth Ultimate Edition’, mainly because there’s little to no narrative space for them or because they would contradict the story; I can’t see Aragorn’s duel with Sauron being worked in because that’s already in the movie but with a troll placed over Sauron. Arwen was on the way to the Grey Havens and later seen dying in Rivendell, so there’s no chance of seeing her in Helm’s Deep. But those two niggles aside, I’m curious to see what they might do!

    1. Hey Oscar! Thanks for your input.

      I agree, some scenes wouldn’t fit at all within the narrative. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing the unused footage as separate video clips. They needn’t be edited back into the films.

      Just for curiosity’s sake 🙂

  12. Aragon’s duel with Sauron is in the movie, they edited over Sauron the troll so it is unlikely that will make it

    1. You are correct callum. It would still be interesting to see the actual raw footage that was shot though – with Sauron’s appearance as Annatar first, then transforming into his armoured self to challenge Aragorn 😉

      Again, not to be inserted within the film (I’m actually glad they didn’t go for that concept), but simply out of curiosity!

  13. First off I just want to say how much I love this blog just found it this past week, from a link on page. So thanks James for some really cool blog post to read. Now to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit ultimate box set. For me The Lord of the Rings movies changed my movie going life. I was a sophomore in high school and saw The Fellowship with my mother. I had not read the books before I saw the movies. I had an idea on what they were going to be like. But when I saw the first shots of Gandalf in the Shire I knew that this movie was going to be somthing cool. Afer seeing all three movies I had to buy all of JRR Tolkien books and have been reading epic fantasy book ever since . I also got all the EE Lord of the Rings movies and then the Lord of the Rings EE box set I have like all of you lost count on how many times of have seen the movies. Not only the EE movies but the making of the movies it made me want to move to New Zealand and work for weta. Fore me I could not get anuff Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson was a god to me. I can tell that I am just rambling on. What I am trying to get at like most of you I love Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit moives and if there is a way to get a longer movie for all of them give it to me I would watch a 4hr long cut of each movie. Unlike the Star Wars movis I hated how they have just add new stuff to them year after year. For me I want them to keep adding to the movies all 6 of them. Peter Jackson is such a amazing movie maker and any thing he does with the movies will be amazing. Thanks for reading not good I expling my self throug writting so hope you guys understand what I ment. Its much more of a commint on how much I love Lord of the Rings and Hobbit then about the ultimate box set.

    1. Hey Brian, thank so much for the nice comments 🙂 Glad you enjoy this blog.

      And thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences with us. You’ve certainly described them in a beautiful way – and I can really relate to what you went (and are going) through.

      These books and films are a life-changing and inspiring experience, which I’m sure we’ll all cherish for a long time 🙂

  14. I have been wondering about this for quite some time ever since the announcement of the Hobbit movies, do you think that Peter Jackson whhould ever add new scenes to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy with the dwarves of Erebor fighting the orc of Mordor while the battle at Mins Tarith is going on. my main reason for wanting this is because I love the dwarves. I would love to see King Dane iron foot his son Thorin Stonehelm fighting along the side of the men of Dal be. To me it would be great to see. Thanks for your time

    1. I’m sure Peter Jackson thinks it wise not to re-edit and interfere with what we already know of The Lord of the Rings – by adding new scenes. Though he did consider, when asked in an interview, about replacing Ian Holmes’ discovery of the Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring prologue, with that of The Hobbit. As much as I like that scene with Martin Freeman, I’m strongly against the modification of scenes to “update” the Trilogy with that of The Hobbit.

      That said, I agree with you that the Northern aspect of the War of the Ring (Lorien attacked, Erebor besieged) would make a great Middle-earth film 😉 After The Hobbit concludes, we will have been introduced to many of the places and characters found in that specific story-line – so it wouldn’t be such a stretch, in my opinion.

  15. It’s just wishful thinking on my part. As most Lord of the Rings fan I just want more middle earth on the screen and for me the more dwarves the better.

  16. Title for the Ultimate Edition? You’ll notice that many of Tolkien’s chapter titles etc found their way into the movies. Jackson particularly seems to have paid attention to the many crossed-out titles in the Red Book at the end of ROTK; the most logical choice would therefore be Frodo’s final decision:
    (as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the learning of the Wise.)
    Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell.”

    You gotta love the things Frodo comes up with, right?

  17. For as much as I love LOTR, I reckon that a box set of the six movies with exclusive bonus material of such nature would be a major rip-off. I held off buying the EE of the LOTR movies, as I had a hunch at the time that they would do something special after the third was released, and boy, was I glad I waited to buy it! And now I’m doing the same thing with The Hobbit, I’m expecting an EE box set of equal beauty to go side by side with the LOTR box. Now, I’d love to see the extra footage as much as any of you, but buying the same stuff all over again is throwing money away, I hope that they come to their senses and, specially considering the insane volume of material there is to be released, make a box set comprised solely of unreleased stuff to be sold separately. Now that would be a great idea!

    1. Hi Paulo, you speak the truth – but I’m afraid I doubt the studios will “come to their senses” any time soon. This is potentially the last Middle-earth film to be released, so I’m expecting a long wait until we get the ultimate/definitive collection of all 6 films into one (including unseen material),

  18. All the unused footage from the lords of rings trilogy is gone, and all the sets destroyed (except bag end which Peter Jackson bought from the studio and it’s in storage somewhere). It’s really sad actually, I spent a week watching all of the appendixes from the LotR extended edition box set and towards the end of the 6th one there was a video of the post production team burning all of the unused footage! I guess there still could be copies of it in one of those old computers or some harddrive, but there were millions of feet of film, they couldn’t have burned it all…. 😥 I mean those big-atures were amazing.
    If there was a box set, of all the appendixes and the extended versions of LOTR and the extended versions of the Hobbit trilogy ( I don’t know if it has appendixes) I would spend ALL of my money on it. I would die to have it. But what would it be called? Well for it to be Bilbos red book would be a dream, but it would really need be a mantelpiece, because if I had that box set I would want it to be on display, and maybe even shrine worthy. 😜 ok maybe not a shrine, it’s not like it’s the one ring or anything.

  19. I hope they put some of the 20 hours of scenes into the movie and make it a ultimate extended edition of LOTR.. And I def can’t wait to see the extended edition for battle of five armies i hope it’s in a classic black Blu rau disc again.. And I def can’t wait till the ultimate collectors The Hobbit Trilogy I hope it’s some crazy art work don’t and all that Peter Jackson is a goddess the whole LOTR and The Hobbit crew we praise you fer real fer real. Is it just me but I hope there is maybe a sequel to LOTR .. Maybe some day 😀

    1. Hey Ryan! I’m with you on everything you said. Collector’s editions, ultimate editions and the like – can’t wait to see what they come up with. And that sequel to LOTR? Who knows … look what’s happened to the Harry Potter franchise. First it was the end of it all and now there’s a new movie on the way 😉

  20. Not only Michael Pellerin shot all the material for the behind the scenes. First on board on making a documentary was Costa Botes who actually shot a lot of the on set and location material. (More on this in The Frodo Franchise by Kristin Thompson).

    Costa Botes finished documentary can be seen on the Extended Limited Edition DVD’s of the LOTR trilogy.

  21. I would love to see more from Battle of Dagorlad and Sauron is his noble form.

    Gil Galad Last High king of Noldor vs Sauron, Orcs attacking Lothlorien, Saurn vs Aragorn, more of Arwen!

    Mind blowing!

    I say yes to Ultimate edition! By the Valar, this must happen!

  22. I’m waiting for Peter Jackson to film The Silmarillion and The Childfen of Hurin. After that I expect a complete boxset named The Red Book of Westmarch or Stories from Middle Earth containing all the Extended Editions with a lot of making off etc.

    1. I would love to see this, Imagine a twelve movie box set with over 150 hours of special features. It will come in a replica of bilbo’s chest with the Red Book containing all of the novels. Then have the movies in slots along the sides, with little replicas in the centre portion. Imagine owning a replica of the one ring, the silmarilli, the arkenstone, maybe even sting or the mithril armour. This, I would pay for.

  23. A bit late to the party, but I just stumbled upon this post. This is the best Middle-earth-related news I’ve heard in a while…The day we get a boxed set of all six films and then some will be a grand day indeed. And college-student-sized budget or not, I am most definitely going to make hasty steps towards acquiring it. I’ve always been curious about the hours of material we’ve never seen – I do hope fervently that we get to discover more of it.

  24. When they do inevitably make the box set, I hope that they will revisit LOTR where Bilbo (Ian Holme) discovers the ring and changes it for the Martin Freeman scenes. My OCD kicks in when I watch the scene now, knowing how different it is.

      1. I think the best compromise is to leave it intact in the LotR box set, and change the scene in the big boxset with both trilogies.

  25. It’s 2016, and none yet, I don’t want singular scenes, I want them running in the movie, even if there is not an astounding transition scene between the cinema movie and the cut scenes. I hope it’s 20 extra hours, I would pay 100.00 to see this.
    Come-on. We are tired of waiting!

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