The Fellowship of the Ring is an 2016 American-British action adventure fantasy film based on the 1954 first three volumes of The Lord of the Rings of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was followed by The Two Towers and The Return of the King and had a prequel in The Hobbit. The film was directed by Joss Whedon and Guillermo del Toro as well written by the two. It was distributed by Disney.
In the Second Age of Middle-Earth, Elven smiths forged Nine Rings of Power for mortal men, Seven Rings for the Dwarf-Lords and Three Rings for the Elf-Kings. However, an elf named Mairon (Christopher Eccleson) was corrupted by a Necromancer, and using the secrets he had learned from his fellow elves, forged his own ring; the One Ring, which would allow him to control the other Ringbearers, thereby allowing him to conquer all of Middle-Earth. He became further corrupted by dark magic and became the Dark Lord Sauron (Robert Maillet). Sauron captured the Nine Mortal holders of the Rings and transformed them into terrible creatures known as Ringwraiths. It became clear to both Man and Elf that Sauron was a danger and they formed an alliance to bring him down. The One Ring was cut from Sauron's finger by Prince Isildur (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), but Isildur was also corrupted by the Ring and refused to destroy it. Isildur was eventually slain in battle by Orcs, and the Ring was dropped into a river and lost, until it eventually fell into the hands of Gollum (Andy Serkis), who held it for 500 years, his sanity deteriorating over time. One day, Gollum dropped the Ring and it was stolen by Bilbo Baggins (Benedict Cumberbatch) (as seen in The Hobbit), who held it for 60 years.
On his 111th birthday, Bilbo decides to leave his homeplace of the Shire and retire in Rivendell, an Elf haven. During his birthday celebrations, Bilbo is visited by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), a wizard who accompanied him on the quest during which he found the Ring years before. Bilbo then departs, leaving all of his possessions to his nephew, Frodo (Thomas Sangster). Amongst these belongings is the One Ring.
Later, Frodo is alone in the Shire when it is attacked by a Ringwraith. Gandalf arrives and fights the Ringwraith off before explaining the Ring's history to Frodo. It is revealed that Sauron is rising again ad Gandalf believes he is ready to make his return, but needs the Ring to do so. Not wanting to endanger his home, Frodo decides to leave the Shire, but runs into his friend Samwise "Sam" Gamgee (Peter Kay). When Sam learns what Frodo is doing, he refuses to leave him, and so Frodo reluctantly allows Sam to accompany him.
Gandalf goes to Isengard to meet with the head of his order, Saruman the White (Christopher Lee). Gandalf tries to discuss what to do about Sauron and the Ring, when Saruman suddenly reveals himself to be in league with Sauron. Gandalf is imprisoned atop the tower and Saruman reveals a new breed of Orc fightes he created; the Uruk-hai, led by Azog the White Goblin (Manu Bennet). He sends the Uruk-hai to retrieve the Ring.
Frodo and Sam decide to head towards Bree, and run into two more Hobbits, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck (Anton Yelchin) and Peregrin "Pippin" Took (Freddie Highmore), who are on the run from Farmer Maggot (Chris Elliot) after he caught them stealing crops from his farm. The group then encounter the Ringwraiths and are pursued down the Brandywine River, only to be rescued by the mysterious ranger Aragorn (Hugh Jackman). They learn that Elrond (Pierce Brosnan), Lord of Rivendell, has called a council of all races still loyal to Middle-Earth and Aragorn decides to accomapny them to Rivendell.
While resting, Merry and Pippin light a campfire, unwittingly alerting the Ringwraiths to their location. They are chased and Frodo becomes separated from the group. He is cornered by the Ringwraiths, but is rescued by Elrond's daughter Arwen (Keira Knightley), who summons a surge of water to wash the Ringwraiths down the river. She then unites with the rest of the group and escorts them to Rivendell.
Gwaihir, the Eagle King, rescues Gandalf from the tower and takes him to Rivendell in time for the council. Elrond reveals that the only way to destroy the One Ring in to toss it into the fire of Mount Doom in the land of Mordor. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring to Mount Doom to dispose of it, and is joined by Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf and Aragorn. Elrond assigns the Elf archer Legolas (Henry Cavill), Dwarf Gimli (Peter Dinklage) and Boromir (Robert Downey, Jr.), a man of Gondor, to accompany them. Together, they form the Fellowship of the Ring.
While the Fellowship make camp one night, flashbacks reveal that Aragorn once encountered Azog in battle, during which he cut his arm off. Azog, upon learning that Aragorn has joined the Fellowship, is further driven for revenge and increases the ferocity of his search. Meanwhile, the Fellowship must travel through the underground Dwarf city of Moria. They accidentally awaken the Balrog, an ancient demon made of shadow and flame. Gandalf confronts the Balrog and seemingly defeats it, allowing the others to escape. However, the stone bridge Gandalf is standing on is destroyed by the Balrog and they both plunge into the abyss.
Distraught by Gandalf's death, the Fellowship retreat into the forest of Lothlorien, and are granted shelter by it's rulers, Galadriel and Celeborn. That night, while the others sleep, Frodo is unable to, still haunted by Gandalf's demise. He is approached by Galadriel, who tells Frodo to rest, and also informs him that it is his destiny to destroy the One Ring. The Fellowship subsequently move on towards Parth Galen, while Boromir openly talks about the benefits of using the Ring against Sauron. When they make camp that night, Boromir tries to steal the Ring, but Frodo puts the Ring on and turns invisibility, using this to slip away. Regretful of his actions, Boromir also leaves the group.
The next morning, when Sam sees that Frodo has fled, he chases off after him. While the others debate on what to do, the Uruk-hai descend upon them and an epic battle ensues. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas try to hold off the Orcs, while Merry and Pippin run deeper into the fores to create a distraction, only to be captured. With the other three outnumbered, all seems lost, until Boromir returns to redeem himself and save them. He fights valiantly until he is shot with a crossbow by Azog. Before the Goblin can deal the final blow, he is tackled by Aragorn. However, Aragorn is exhausted by the battle and Azog easily pins him to a tree. Boromir uses his last ounce of strength to throw his shield at Azog, decapitating him.
Shortly thereafter, Boromir dies with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli at his side. The trio decide to set out to rescue Merry and Pippin, while Sam reunites with Frodo, once again reluctantly agrees to let him come with him to Mount Doom.
Before filming began on 11 October 2014, the principal actors trained for six weeks in sword fighting (with Bob Anderson), riding and boating. Whedon and Del Toro hoped such activities would allow the cast to bond so chemistry would be evident on screen as well as getting them used to life in Wellington. They were also trained to pronounce Tolkien's verses properly. The film is noted for having an ensemble cast, and some of the cast and their respective characters include:
- Thomas Sangster as Frodo Baggins: A hobbit who inherits the One Ring from his uncle, Bilbo Baggins. Wood was the first actor to be cast on 7 July 2014. Sangster was a fan of the book, and he sent in an audition dressed as Frodo, reading lines from the novel. Sangster was selected from 150 actors who auditioned.
- Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey: An Istari wizard and mentor to Frodo. Sean Connery was approached for the role, but did not understand the plot, while Patrick Stewart turned it down as he disliked the script. He enjoyed playing Gandalf the Grey more than his transformed state in the next two films, and based his accent on Tolkien. Unlike his on-screen character, McKellen did not spend much time with the actors playing the Hobbits; instead he worked with their scale doubles.
- Hugh Jackman as Aragorn: Dubbed Strider, he is a Dúnedain ranger and the heir to Gondor's throne. Daniel Day-Lewis was offered the part at the beginning of pre-production, but turned it down. Nicolas Cage also received an offer, declining because of "family obligations", while Vin Diesel, a fan of the book, auditioned for Aragorn. Stuart Townsend was cast in the role, before being replaced during filming when Whedon realized he was too young. Russell Crowe was considered as a replacement, but he turned it down after taking what he thought to be a similar role in Gladiator. Day-Lewis was offered the role for a second time, but declined again. Executive Producer Mark Ordesky saw Jackman in a play. Jackan's son, a fan of the book, convinced him to take the role. Jackman read the book on the plane, received a crash course lesson in fencing from Bob Anderson and began filming the scenes on Weathertop. Jackman became a hit with the crew by patching up his costume and carrying his "hero" sword around with him offscreen.
- Robert Downey, Jr. as Boromir: A prince of the Stewards of Gondor, he journeys with the Fellowship towards Mordor. Bruce Willis, a fan of the book, expressed interest in the role, while Liam Neeson was sent the script, but passed. After the refusal, Robert, whom had worked with Whedon before on another Disney films such as the Avengers, expressed interest in the role and accepted with just one call by Whedon.
- Peter Kay as Samwise "Sam" Gamgee: A Hobbit gardener and Frodo's best friend. Astin, who had recently become a father, bonded with the 18-year-old Wood in a protective manner, which mirrored Sam's relationship with Frodo.
- Freddie Highmore as Peregrin "Pippin" Took: A Hobbit who travels with the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor.
- Anton Yelchin as Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck: A Hobbit and distant cousin of Frodo. Yelchin was cast as Merry by Del Toro after auditioning for Frodo.
- Henry Cavill as Legolas: Prince of the Elves' Woodland Realm and a skilled archer. Bloom initially auditioned for Faramir, who appears in the second film, a role which went to David Wenham.
- Peter Dinklage as Gimli: A Dwarf who accompanies the Fellowship to Mordor after they set out from Rivendell. Billy Connolly, who was considered for the part of Gimli, will portray Dáin II Ironfoot in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy. Dinklage wore heavy prosthetics to play Gimli, which limited his vision, and eventually he developed eczema around his eyes. Dinklage also played Gimli's father Glóin during the scene where the fellowship is forged.
- Christopher Lee as Saruman the White: The fallen head of the Istari Order, who succumbed to Sauron's will via his use of the palantír. Lee is a major fan of the book, and reads it once a year. He has also met J. R. R. Tolkien. He originally auditioned for Gandalf, but was judged too old.
- Andy Serkis as Gollum: a wretched hobbit-like creature, owner of the Ring for centuries, who guides Frodo on his quest; voice and motion capture. This character appears briefly in the prologue. In Mordor, only can hear his voice shouting and in Moria, only appears his eyes and his nose.
- Christopher Plummer as Bilbo Baggins: Frodo's uncle who gives him the Ring after he decides to retire to Rivendell. Plummer previously played Frodo in a 1981 radio adaption of The Lord of the Rings, and was cast as Bilbo after Whedon and Del Toro remembered his performance. Sylvester McCoy, who would later play Radagast the Brown Wizard in The Hobbit, was contacted about playing the role, and was kept in place as a potential Bilbo for six months before Whedon and Del Toro went with Plummer.
- Pierce Brosnan as Elrond: The Elven master and Lord of Rivendell, who leads the Council of Elrond which ultimately decides to destroy the One Ring. David Bowie expressed interest in the role, but Whedon stated, "To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable."
- Keira Knightley as Arwen: An elf and Aragorn's lover. The filmmakers approached Tyler after seeing her performance in Pirates of the Carribbean, and Disney leaped at the opportunity of having one Hollywood star in the film. Actress Helena Bonham Carter had expressed interest in the role. Tyler came to shoot on short occasions, unlike the rest of the actors. She was one of the last actors to be cast, on 25 August 1999.
- Cate Blanchett as Galadriel: An Elf and the co-ruler of Lothlórien along with her husband Celeborn.
The Cast Also Includes
- Robert Maillet as the Dark Lord Sauron manifest as an Eye after the destruction of his physical form;
- Christopher Eccleson as the Elf Celeborn, co-ruler of Lothlórien;
- Manu Bennet as the Orc Azog, commander of Saruman forces
- Patrick Stewart as Elendil, High King of Arnor and Gondor
- Dominic West as Isildur; Elendil's son and Aragorn's ancestor who originally defeated Sauron.