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Is using Frodo to create a 'Hobbit'-'LOTR' connection a bad idea?

January 7, 2011 |  7:28 pm

This afternoon the studio behind "The Hobbit" confirmed that (and the Lord of the Rings fan site The One Ring explained how) Elijah Wood will reprise his Frodo role for a small part at the beginning of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit," which centers on Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins.

According to the J.R.R. Tolkien mythology, the fictional "Red Book of Westmarch" tells the story of both "The Hobbit" and "LOTR." Frodo is an author on the book, and he'll appear in "The Hobbit" (which takes place about 60 years before the "LOTR" trilogy begins) setting up the story that happened lo those decades before. "The fictional book, and either the telling from it or the reading of it, will establish Frodo in the films experiencing Bilbo [Baggins'] story," says The One Ring.

This might all seem like Jackson is tossing a little something to the devotees, an Easter egg for those initiates who see Tolkien's worlds as connected.

But in reality it may well be the opposite: this is a move aimed mainly at the average moviegoer. "Lord of the Rings" was hugely popular even among people who'd never read a word of Tolkien, so a little link to the original trilogy, the thinking seems to go, wouldn't hurt to get audiences into the two "Hobbit" films.

For Tolkien devotees, though, the news may be less exciting. Frodo doesn't appear before the "Lord of the Rings" so the cameo could be considered unnecessary. And in fact, putting characters into a context where they never existed before could ruffle feathers.

On the whole this seems like a harmless indulgence, and Peter Jackson has earned the trust of Tolkien purists.

Still, the Tolkien-loving public has an all-seeing eye, and expectations from the franchise can be as daunting as, well, the burden of the ring itself.

--Steven Zeitchik and Jevon Phillips


Photo: Elijah Wood as Frodo in 'Lord of the Rings.' Credit: Warner Bros.

Comments () | Archives (10)

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I think it's a smart move on the part of Jackson. What he's done for the Tolkein franchise is incredible - the greatest contribution since Tolkein wrote the works in the first place. He's brought this fantastic world to millions and millions of people who would never have, and still never will, read the books. Linking the new movie to the old helps establish for the non-reading audience, "Okay...WHEN did this all happen?"

The same can be said about the "new" scenes which will be added, specifically the White Council moving against the Necromancer in Mirkwood. That DID happen during the timeline of The Hobbit. I know that, because I've read all the Appendices to Lord of the Rings. Do 90% of Lord Of The Rings movie fans know that? No. And they never would, if this part wasn't put in The Hobbit.

As for the purists? Well, they'll all have their own opinions, of course. But this one wholeheartedly approves.

The Rankin-Bass version of "The Hobbit" did it, if I recall correctly, and it worked well.

The day may come when we break our bonds to profit, but it is not this day.

July, 2941 - Bilbo Baggins obtains the One Ring(The Hobbit)

September 22, 2968 - Frodo Baggins is born

2982 - Birth of Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry)

2990 - Birth of Peregrin Took (Pippin)

3001 - Bilbo Baggins turns 111, passes the One Ring on to Frodo Baggins

3018 - September 23 - Frodo leaves Bag End

I had no problem with compressing the timeline at the start of the adaptation of LOTR, but putting Frodo into a story 27 years before he was born seems unnecessary.


Hated the earlier movies he did, all war war war -- none of the other things that made the tolkien world whole. It was botched, and in a world where the most violent movie wins, he did. Tolkien was a student of the vedic traditions, the mahabarata, and many other old religions which he drew on to make his analogies. this is all lost on hollywood, which is always happy to make a movie with new special effects but has lost the ability to tell anything but a war story.

why not rewrite a perfect novel -- add as many characters as you like. i am sure this will be another one of his dark war movies. i wish he wouldn't use tolkien's name for his 3-hour war festivals.

Bilbo Baggins is the connecting character between the two. Why do you need Frodo? And I'm not a Tolkien 'purist.' I just remember from the books.

Is anyone minding the Tolkien estate? Yes, the White Council ousted Sauron, aka "the Necromancer" (sorry, Dr. Orpheus). In an APPENDIX. While we're griping, Gollum is clearly described as being black - about the only thing that Rankin-Bass did get right. But let's not have someone fabricating yet more non-Tolkien material (like having elves fighting at Helm's Deep) just to stretch this into two movies, which will then get released on DVD only to have "extended versions" and "director's cuts" and "Blu Ray Special Editions". If you're going to include stuff, have it be what Tolkien actually wrote. Tom Bombadil lives. Denethor dies on a pyre, and the palantir is forever haunted. The Shire is scoured. Bilbo sees the West. And, eventually, so does Sam.

That would be cool if Frodo was making out with Samwise during the scenes.

I can see why Frodo makes this recounting it as a story of Bilbo's adventure a good connection. On the other hand, it could just as easily be Sam, befitting the way the LOTR movies were ended with the book passing to him and the remaining Shire Hobbits.


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