1 GANDALF Known to the races of Middle-earth by various names, wizard Gandalf the White(Ian McKellen) makes a final appearance in The Return of the King, the concluding installment in director PJ's film trilogy. After coming to aid his allies to victory in the awesome battle of Helm's Deep, Gandalf heads for a final reckoning with former friend and fellow wizard Saruman, now a servant of Sauron's evil. Ultimately, an even greater Dark Lord challenge awaits…with the fate of Middle-earth hanging in the balance.
2 FRODO He was born a Hobbit, carefree and peaceful like others of his kind. But a tranquil life in the Shire wasn't what fate had in mind for young Frodo Baggins. As the valiant Ringbearer, Frodo has battled terrifying forces of evil. Continually tempted by the One Ring's seductive power, he must remain true to his mission, even as he is helped and hindered by the twisted Gollum along the way. These intense emotional conflicts reach a shattering conclusion in The Return of the King.
3 SAM An innocent Hobbit like his friend Frodo, Sam Gamgee has remained steadfast through a series of harrowing Middle-earth adventures. Nothing can diminish Sam's commitment to Frodo and their noble quest to destroy the One Ring. In PJ's final installment, Sam finds his friendship with Frodo tested as the Hobbits, along with the untrustworthy, half-mad Gollum, come dangerously close to achieving their goal.
4 ARAGORN The last, best hope for the fate of Middle-earth, courageous swordsman Aragorn is more than just an exemplary warrior. He is the heir to the throne of Gondor, a responsibility like no other. And yet Aragorn is driven by the passions of a man, torn between his love for the Elf princess Arwen, and his destiny as a great leader of Men. In The Return of the King, these emotional conflicts and predestined challenges are at long last resolved.
5 LEGOLAS A prince of the Elven kingdom of Mirkwood, master archer Legolas joined the original Fellowship because he shared a kindred goal: thwarting Sauron's evil by destroying the One Ring. To this end, he put behind him long-held differences and fought alongside the mortal Aragorn and the blustery Dwarf named Gimli. Now, as depicted in The Return of the King, these three have become more than just allies with a common cause. They are valiant friends to the end.
6 GIMLI He has faced Orcs, evil magic and all manner of life-threatening obstacles, but Gimli the Dwarf remains ready for battle. A member of the Fellowship and committed to their cause, he has learned much over the course of his amazing adventures. Initially distrusting of Elves, Gimli now considers the Mirkwood prince Legolas a trusted friend and ally. The Dwarf's prowess with a bread axe and endearing, earthy sense of humor are his colorful trademarks.
7 THEODEN The King of Rohan, Theoden was a pawn of Saruman's monstrous evil in TTT. Himself once again after Gandalf the White cast out Saruman's debilitating influence, King Theoden saved his people from Uruk-Hai annihilation by spearheading a spectacular defense at Helm's Deep. In the film trilogy's concluding story, the great ruler, along with his courageous niece Eowyn and nephew Eomer, once again raises his sword in battle against Sauron's nightmarish armies.
8 EOWYN Beloved niece to King Theoden of Rohan, Lady Eowyn was relieved when the wizard Gandalf restored her possessed uncle to vigorous health. Dedicated and courageous, Eowyn is a master swordswoman and grows frustrated when she is forbidden to fight alongside her brother, Eomer, in the ongoing battles against Sauron's minions. Undeterred, she is determined to yet play a role in the struggle between good and evil.
9 EOMER Like his sister, Eowyn, Eomer of Rohan despised King THeoden's slithering "advisor" Grima wormtongue, who was in truth an agent of the corrupt wizard Saruman. Initially suspicious of Fellowship heroes Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, Eomer quickly came to respect these great warriors and came to their aid in the spectacular battle for Helm's Deep. Now, in RotK, he again joins these brave defenders in a massive struggle for the future of Middle-earth.
10 DENETHOR The Steward of Gondor, Lord Denethor defended his homeland with a fervent, all-consuming passion. Indeed, for years the lands of Middle-earth were kept safe by the blood of Gondorian soldiers. Proud of his late son, Boromir, he is far less pleased with his younger offspring, Faramir, who, against his wishes, allowed a pair of captured Hobbits to retain the all-powerful One Ring. Now descending into madness, the bitter Denethor becomes an unreliable ally during the battle of Pelennor Fields with Sauron's dreaded forces.
11 FARAMIR The youngest son of Lord Denethor of Gondor, Faramir is a decent man who strives to earn the affection of this troubled father. Faramir's brother was the Fellowship member Boromir, who was tempted by the One Ring and later killed in a heroic battle with the Uruk-Hai. Denethor always favored Boromir, and Faramir's decision to deny Gondor the use of the One Ring after capturing Frodo and Sam further widened the emotional gulf between father and son.
12 ARWEN The luminously beautiful Arwen is an Elf princess torn between duty to her people and love for a mortal man, Aragorn. The daughter of Elrond and granddaughter of Galadriel, she is a person of quiet dignity, but also a woman of great passion. In RotK, Arwen realizes at last that she may never see the great love of her life again, and reluctantly must make her final choice to join her fellow Elves in their departure from Middle-earth.
13 PIPPIN The Hobbit Pippin, whose full name is Peregrin Took, originally joined the Fellowship on a lark. As a result, Pippin's tendency to make a bad situation worse has not escaped the scornful eye of the wizard Gandalf. In RotK, his unchecked curiosity leads the Dark Lord Sauron into thinking that he's the true Ringbearer. Now this young Hobbit must summon inner reserves of strength and courage for the awesome struggle that lies ahead.
14 MERRY Like his friend Pippin, the Hobbit Merry has an overdeveloped sense of fun and enjoyed playing practical jokes on his neighbors in the Shire. He was forced to grow up in a hurry after hoining the Fellowship, as he and Pippin were nearly slaughtered by the Orcs before an Ent named Treebeard came to their rescue. Now, facing the ultimate Orc confrontation, Merry bravely offers his sword to King Theoden as they prepare to march to the battle of Pelennor Fields.
15 THE WITCH-KING Greatest of Sauron's dark servants (known to Men as the Ringwraiths or Nazgul), the Witch-king is his master's lieutenant in the field and dwells in the cursed fortress of Minas Morgul. When the Dark Lord sends his armies against Gondor, the Witch-king falls above them as their chief. The terror he commands and exerts upon the hearts of Men is the Witch-king's greatest weapon, for it has been prophesied that no mortal Man can slay him. Few can withstand his overwhelming presence in battle.
16 ELROND An austere and immortal Elf lord, Elrond of Rivendell knows first hand the evil, seductive nature of the One Ring, and wisely insisted that the dreaded object be cast back into the fires of Mount Doom. At first unconvinced that mortal men were key to the salvation of Middle-earth, he has come to respect Aragorn and supports Gandalf's ambitious plans to thwart the Dark Lord Sauron. On a more personal level, Elrond wisely counsels his daughter, Arwen, whose love for Aragorn cannot be denied.
17 GOLLUM Once a Hobbit named Smeagol, the odd, wretched little creature called Gollum once possessed the One Ring before losing it to Bilbo Baggins. Now, years later, Gollum aids Frodo and Sam in their perilous journey to Mount Doom, where the accursed object may finally be destroyed. Although he clearly shares an emotional bond with sympathetic Ringbearer Frodo, Gollum is a being literally at war with himself, struggling against evil instincts that threaten to undermine the Hobbit's noble objectives.
18 SAURON The Dark Lord Souron is the ultimate threat to the peace of Middle-earth. Although his physical form has been destroyed, the Dark Lord's spirit remains bound to the world as long as the One Ring exists. His will and power is of sufficient strength that, even in this ethereal state, he can still exert his dominance over the countless thousands in his service. From atop the summit of his mighty tower, the great Eye of Sauron burns as a fiery tempest, seeking the return of the One Ring.
19 Journey To Mount Doom Continuing their noble journey to Mount Doom in Mordor, Hobbits Frodo and Sam, led by the schizoid Gollum, make their way across a grim landscape of thorn bushes and jagged rocks. Stopping by a pond, Sam overhears the Ring-obsessed Gollum plot their demise. "I heard it from his own mouth…he means to murder us!" an enraged Sam yells of Gollum. But unexpectedly, Frodo turns on his friend from the Shire, insisting he leave the miserable creature alone.
20 Friend Against Friend Feeling a strange kinship with the pitiful creature once known as Smeagol, Frodo has grown tired of Sam's seemingly endless accusations about Gollum. "I'm not sending him away!" yells Frodo of the former Ringbearer, turning his anger once more against Sam. Hurt by Frodo's betrayal in TTT, Gollum no longer seeks to serve "master". Instead, he delights in their fight, playing innocent as he secretly pits friend against friend and plots to reclaim the One Ring.
21 Gollum's Scheme Reeling from Frodo's angry defense of the untrustworthy Gollum, Sam grows more worried about his friend's well-being. The terrible, seductive power of the One Ring is warping Frodo's judgment. Complicating matters is Gollum's secret plot to regain the One Ring by pitting the Hobbit friends against each other and luring them to their deaths. Front: Gollum smirks at Sam as his mad scheme unfolds. Back: A stunned Sam worries about Frodo.
22 Victory Celebration Isengard has fallen and the evil wizard Saruman's forces have been defeated at Helm's Deep. Although untold numbers of soldiers and civilians lost their lives, the victories are cause for a brief yet morale-boosting celebration throughout Rohan. A long way from the Shire, but feeling momentarily carefree again, Hobbits Merry and Pippin lead the festivities, celebration the recent triumphs by drinking and dancing on the tables in Golden Hall.
23 Pippin's Folly Already sorely tires, sleep comes particularly easy following the night's festivities. But even though this round of fighting is over, even greater danger lies ahead for the battle-weary heroes of Helm's deep. While his companions sleep in the Golden Hall of Edoras, an overly-curious Pippin takes hold of Saruman's Palantir. Foolishly gazing into the Seeing Stone, the eye of Sauron appears as the Palantir is engulfed in flames. As Pippin screams, his sleeping comrades awaken.
24 Fool Of A Took! In a frightening scene, Pippin stares into the flaming Palantir, and the evil, lidless eye of Sauron stares right back at him! It is Aragorn who wrenches the fearsome object from Pippin's hands, and Gandalf who swiftly throws a blanket over it, temporarily ending the danger. Front: " Did you tell him anything about Frodo and the Ring?!?" an enraged Gandalf shouts as he grabs a trembling Pippin. Back: Merry watches the scene unfold in horror.
25 A New Danger Gandalf informs King Theoden of Pippin's foolish actions with the Palantir as Aragorn listens intently. "Sauron has looked into the face of young Peregrin Took and mistaken him for the RIngbearer," Gandalf explains. "The Eye of the Enemy will be turned this way - he will send for Pippin." The youthful Hobbit is understandably shaken by the ramifications of his misdeed.
26 In Aragorn's Care Front: "How do we know Frodo is alive?" Gandalf asks Aragorn, giving in briefly to doubt during their respite in Edoras from battle. "What does your heart tell you?" Aragorn answers, to which Gandalf can only nod knowingly, confident once more in the young Hobbit's resourcefulness and resolve. Back: Later, Gandalf entrusts Aragorn with the Palantir. "You alone have the power to wrench it to your will," Gandalf says. "Sauron will find that hard to endure."
27 Under A Wizard's Wing Front: Pippin, now in deadly danger after staring into the Palantir, is to be whisked safely away by his wizard guardian Gandalf. The two will ride to Minas Tirith as a final defense against the Dark Lord Sauron, who now believes Pippin to be the Ringbearer. Back: In a scene set in Edoras just before they separate, Merry is angry with his friend Pippin for causing himself - and everyone - this latest difficulty.
28 A Farewell To Friends Front: As Lady Eowyn looks on, Shadowfax carries Gandalf and Pippin out of the Edoras gates and down the winding road towards the plains of Rohan. Back: "Pippin will be alright," Aragorn assures Merry as they watch their friends leave. "Gandalf is taking him to the safest place in all Middle-earth, to the city of Minas Tirith. No army of Sauron has ever crossed the Anduin, not while the men of Gondor have held the passage of the river."
29 Escape From Osgiliath Front: A once mighty Gondorian city, West Osgiliath has fallen into disrepair. But the desolation of East Osgiliath is far more pronounced - it is held by the forces of Mordor. Now these forces are marshaled against Faramir and his Gondorian Rangers in the West. In an exciting visual set-piece, the Rangers fight valiantly against hundreds of Orc invaders, at the same time didging attacks from savage Nazgul astride winged Fellbeasts. Back: Faramir's battle-weary warriors are pursued across Pelennor Fields.
30 Deadly Fellbeast Attack Faramir beats a hasty retreat across the fields of Pelennor as shrieking Nazgul on their Fellbeasts swoop down from the skies. Osgiliath is clearly lost, and the surviving Gondorian Rangers are now being picked off by the flying monsters. Only Gandalf's unexpected arrival halts this deadly assault. The great wizard uses his staff to ward off the wicked Nazgul, then helps Faramir back to Minas Tirith.
31 Addressing King Denethor In the Minas Tirith tower hall, Lord Denethor sits solemnly upon his throne as two visitors approach him - Gandalf and young Pippin. Denethor is bitter over the death of his son, Boromir, and has little regard for his remaining son, Faramir. Moreover, "I will not bow to this Ranger from the North - this Aragorn, son of Arathorn," a defiant Denethor tells Gandalf. "The rule of Gondor is mine, no other's"
32 What The Wizard Sees Front: At Minas Tirith, Gandalf and Pippin look toward the jagged, saw-tooth mountains of Mordor as a great black cloud streams slowly toward the West. "This is not the weather of the world," Gandalf tells his young friend. "It is some device of Sauron's malice; some broil of fume from the Mountain of Fire that the Dark Lord sends ahead of his host." Back: A close-up of wizard Gandalf, deep in thought.
33 Gandalf's Plan Walking through the city Minas Tirith, the wizard Gandalf is displeased with King Denethor's lackluster response to the Mordor threat. Turning to his little friend Pippin, Gandalf makes a suggestion. "Peregrin Took, my lad, we have another opportunity for one of the Shire-folk to prove their great worth," he says with a twinkle in his eye. "There is a task now to be done, and you must not fail me!"
34 Lighting The Beacon Since the first LotR film, many members of the original Fellowship have gone their separate ways, performing heroic deeds in different Middle-earth locations. Front: Prompted by Gandalf, a resourceful Pippin lights the beacon at Minas Tirith, even though King Denethor his yet to order it. Back: In Edoras, Legolas and Aragorn see this all-important signal, which will now spur the soldiers of Rohan into action.
35 The Signal At Last "War is kindled," Gandalf says to himself after Pippin ignites the Minas Tirith beacon. Front: In a scene that quickly follows, King Theoden, conferring with his advisers in the Golden Hall, is suddenly informed of this development by a ready-for-action Aragorn. Back: Theoden's niece Eowyn and nephew Eomer listen in, bracing themselves for the upcoming battle.
36 Leaving Edoras Front: Having received the beacon signal from Gandalf and Pippin, Aragorn prepares to leave Edoras with King Theoden and the remaining Rohan warriors for the long journey to Minas Tirith. Back: A close-up of pensive Merry, who offers Theoden his sword in battle. Impressed, the wise king dubs Merry "Esquire of Rohan," but only allows the brave young Hobbit to accompany his soldiers as far as Dunharrow.
37 The Road To Gondor Front: The mighty Rohan army heads for Minas Tirith, a hard journey that will take them several days. Among those riding with King Theoden are Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Merry, who is determined to be of some use to this heroic assemblage. Back: Eomer rides with his Rohirrim brethren to their confrontation with Mordor, a battle that will determine the fate of all Middle-earth.
38 Return To Rivendell While an emotionally-conflicted Arwen rides through the forest towards the Grey Havens, she suspects her father, Elrond, hasn't told her everything, and suddenly decides to turn around. Front: The Elf Figwit reminds her that they must go to the ships, but the determined Arwen simply rides off without explanation. Back: Arwen returns to Rivendell to search for ways to help her beloved Aragorn. While researching some ancient texts, she learns about the mysterious Army of the Dead.
39 The Sword Reborn Having learned about the Army of the Dead from her research, Elf princess Arwen approaches her father, Elrond, and asks him to re-forge the shattered sword Narsil. She also insists that the valuable information she has discovered be passed on to Aragorn immediately, to which Elrond agrees. Front: Arwen gazes upon the shards of Narsil, which the Elves reforge and rename Anduril, meaning "Flame of the West." Back: Elrond and Arwen discuss her request.
40 Faramir's Suicide Mission Only hinted at in TTT, the troubled relationship between Faramir and his father, King Denethor, is more fully explored in RotK. Disgusted with Faramir's decision not to interfere with Frodo's mission to destroy the One Ring and claim it for Gondor, Denethor insists that his son retake Osgiliath. Front: Faramir's troop's leave Minas Tirith. Back: Faramir accepts his father's suicide mission.
41 Monarch…Or Madman? Although their meeting is brief, Pippin and Faramir become friends at Minas Tirith. Impressed with the Hobbit's loyalty and willingness to fight, Faramir gives him his old armored uniform, a childhood memento. Front: Pippin is shocked by King Denethor's heartless decision to send his son to certain death in Orc-controlled Osgiliath. Back: Despite the impossible odds, Faramir's brave troops head back into battle.
42 Dunharrow Encampment In a scene of relative quiet, King Theoden and his army make camp beneath the cover of trees. The journey from Rohan to Minas Tirith is long, giving the traveling warriors time to reflect on recent events and their uncertain future. Front: Eomer ponders the upcoming battle as his sister, Eowyn, offers words of encouragement. Back: The cark days ahead consume the pensive Eomer's thoughts.
43 A King's Counsel While Frodo carries the One Ring to Mount Doom, it is up to King Theoden and Aragorn to lead the defense against the forces of Sauron and their attacks on the lands of Men. Front: With time running short, Theoden informs Aragorn that a seven-day trek to minas Tirith is simply too long. They must make it there in three. Back: Later, Aragorn is summoned to Theoden's tent, where a visitor of great importance awaits his arrival.
44 Anduril Bestowed While camping at Dunharrow, Aragorn is mysteriously summoned to King Theoden7s tent. After Theoden exits, he is greeted by Elrond, who gives Aragorn the magnificent sword Anduril, which has been forged from the shards of Narsil by the Elves. As Elrond explains, the man sho wields the power of this weapon can summon the most terrifying army on earth…the Army of the Dead. Aragorn now realizes that the greatest of all challenges lies before him.
45 Now armed with the great blade Anduril, Aragorn must leave King Theoden's army and embark on a unique task, one that will determine the future of Middle-earth. But Aragorn does not leave alone. As established in TTT, the bond between Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli is unshakeable. These warriors from different races, part of the original Fellowship, have pledged their lives to each other. Now, all three set out for the dreaded haunted mountain.
46 Fortress Of Evil Front: Once the shining sister-city of Minas Tirith, Minas Morgul has now become a place of consummate dread. In this captures fortress (first glimpsed in FotR), the terrible Witch-king directs his master's forces against Gondor, driving from the land all love, life and liberty. Back: Frodo and Sam begin the difficult climb up the long staircase of Cirith Ungol, Peril awaiting them at every turn.
47 A Dangerous Trek Still guided by the untrustworthy Gollum, Frodo and Sam continue their treacherous trek up the Cirith Ungol mountainside. Above them, a 2000-foot vertigo-inducing climb spirals into the sky above Morgul Valley. Suddenly, rising into the sky above them, ascends the dreaded Witch-king astride a deadly, winged Fellbeast. His appearance strikes fear in the hearts of the Hobbits, who quickly scramble for cover from this deadly agent of Sauron.
48 The Lord Of Minas Morgul Flying high above the Cirith Ungol mountainside, the Witch-king circles the sky with majestic evil. Hurrying to safety, Frodo, Sam and their guide Gollum watch as Sauron's dark servant descends to rest briefly upon the towers of his cursed fortress, Minas Morgul. As the lord of the Nazgul takes flight again, the Hobbits catch sight of thousands of Orcs marching to Minas Tirith. Frodo and Sam now realize that the final war for Middle-earth has begun.
49 Kingdom Under Siege King Denethor is horrified. Before him, facing Minas Tirith, thousands of Orcs are spread out across Pelennor Fields like a sea of black ants. "Abandon your posts! Flee!" the King shouts to his assembled soldiers, who quickly begin to panic. Frustrated with Denethor's madness, Gandalf takes command of the Gondorian forces. "Prepare for battle!" he exhorts as he gallops down the winding labyrinthine streets on Shadowfax, against the flow of now-fleeing soldiers. "Back to your posts!" the white wizard shouts. "Stand to arms!"
50 Rallying His Warriors "Return to the outer Walls!" Gandalf shouts to the fleeing Gondorian soldiers. Surprised at the sight of this mighty white rider, the Gondorians find renewed courage and hurry back to their posts. Then, with a sweep of his majestic sword, the warrior-wizard signals to his men. One hundred wooden catapults positioned within the walls send their great rocks high into the air, directly over the battlements.
51 Barbarians At The Gates In a spectacular cinematic set-piece, the Orc army attacks Minas Tirith. Front Using Siege Towers propelled by trolls, the Orcs fall upon the battlements and flood over, engaging the defending Gondorian warriors in vicious battle. Back: Seeking to enter the main gate, the Orcs hammer it with battering rams. As Gandalf looks down from the besieged battlements, the Orcs finally employ Grond, a monstrous battering ram with an enormous iron head cast in the likeness of a snarling wolf.
52 Paths Of The Dead The heroic trio of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli make their way to Dimholt Glen, a mysterious and intimidating place. "The very warmth of my blood seems stolen away," Gimli grumbles to his companions. Now, within a mountain wall before them, a creepy dark door gapes like a menacing mouth of night. "The way is shut," Legolas translates an inscription above the arch. "It was made by those who are dead, and the dead keep it."
53 "What Say You?" Following the Paths of the Dead, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter a forbidding mountain tunnel. There they encounter a ghostly army that materializes form the rock walls. Finally crossing swords with the King of the Dead, Aragorn proclaims himself Elessar, Isildur's rightful heir. "Fight and regain your honor!" the son of Arathorn shouts. "Fight and I will release you from this living death. What say you?"
54 King Theoden's Crusade At last, King Theoden and his Rohan army arrive less than a mile away from the besieged Minas Tirith. Thousands of Orcs are swarming around the base of the city, thick black smoke belching from within it. As Theoden rides past the ranks of soldiers, he runs his blade along their upraised spears. This noise echoes through the ranks as the weapons of other riders clatter in response. "Forth now, fear no darkness!" the great, courageous king commands.
55 Battle Of Pelennor Fields "Arise, arise, riders of Theoden!" King Theoden shouts to his army. "Spear shall be shaken, shield shall be splintered…a sword day, a red day 'ere the sunrises! Ride now, ride now, ride to ruin and the world's ending. Death!!" With that, the Rohirrim soldiers move forward, a great wall of horses and spear points, building up to a gallop like a rising tide. They charge fearlessly towards Minas Tirith - and the massive Orc army!
56 The Rohan Offensive The charging wall of Rohirrim horses and spears is seemingly unstoppable! Entire Orc companies vanish under their hooves as King Theoden's men race toward the main body of this monstrous, inhuman army. Orc arrows fire at the oncoming enemy, but cannot stop this crushing tide. Within seconds the Rohirrim soldiers crash into the frenzied Orcs and the field is filled with hacking, slashing swords and clashing shields.
57 An Army Of Monsters King Theoden and his warriors seem to be gaining the upper hand in their spectacular battle with the Orcs. But then, across the vast sea of battle, Mumakil appear…massive, elephant-like creatures, each carrying a war tower packed with Haradrim archers! The Mumakil bellow as they are goaded into war. Driven by merciless masters, these behemoths lumber into the sea of panicking men, crushing riders and horses beneath their giant feet.
58 Victory Or Death! Surpassing the spectacular Helm's Deep battle of TTT is an even larger-scale confrontation on Pelennor Fields. Driven into battle by brutal Haradrim archers, the giant Mumakil swing their spiked tusks wildly, sweeping and impaling King Theoden's riders. Unknown to the stalwart leader, his niece Eowyn has disguised herself as a Rohan rider…and Merry, compelled to do his part in this historic conflict, rides along with her!
59 Whither Minas Tirith? Front: The great gate is smashed and Orcs stream into the first circle of Minas Tirith, under the archway that no enemy has ever passed! The murdering monsters charge into burning streets even as Gandalf leads a counterattack, followed by several thousand Gondorian foot soldiers. Back: In a funeral-like procession, mad King Denethor has his unconscious son Faramir brought into the vaulted chamber of the Steward's Tomb.
60 A Premature Funeral Front: Servants place Faramir's unconscious body on a stone table as his crazed fathe, Denethor, speaks in a hushed voice: "No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No long, slow sleep of death embalmed…we will burn like the heathen kings of old!" Back: Realizing that the king intends to burn his son on a funeral pyre, a horrified Pippin tries to halt the proceedings, but is cowed by Denethor.
61 Battling The Witch-king For the second time in RotK, Gandalf raises his staff against an attacking Fellbeast. This occurs when Pippin races to the great wizard for help in thwarting Denethor's mad plan to burn Faramir alive on a funeral pyre. Rushing to help Faramir, Gandalf is besieged by the airborne Witch-king. It is a mighty confrontation, one from which the mighty warrior-wizard emerges victorious.
62 Rescuing Faramir Fresh from their battle with the Witch-king and his winged Fellbeast, Gandalf and Pippin burst into the royal tomb, where the still-unconscious Faramir is about to be burned alive on a funeral pyre by his demented father, King Denethor. "Stay this madness!" Gandalf shouts, his weapon raised as he and Pippin attempt to save Faramir from a fiery death.
63 Arwen Imperiled All three of derector PJ's films based on LotR have charted the romantic relationship between Elf princess Arwen and the man-who-would-be-king, Aragorn. Placing that love above her own well-being and immortality, she defies her father Elrond's counsel to journey to the Grey Havens with her fellow Elves. Now, Arwen's precious life-force is growing weaker.
64 Lured Into Death's Domain In RotK, the great friendship of Frodo and Sam is put to the ultimate test. Seeking to separate them, Gollum steals the last of their food and sprinkles breadcrumbs on Sam while he sleeps, causing the Hobbit friends to argue yet again when he awakes. An unwitting pawn in Gollum's evil scheme to reclaim his "precious" Ring, a too-trusting Frodo is then led into a mysterious, forbidding cave by the devious guide.
65 A Gift Against Darkness His sinister plot unfolding, Gollum leads an unsuspecting Frodo into a strange, cobwebbed cave…and suddenly disappears. As he wanders the cave's dark tunnels, Frodo quickly realizes with increasing horror that his "friend" Gollum has abandoned him. Tripping in a ditch, Frodo fumbles in his jacket and pulls out a glass phial - his special gift from Galadriel in FotR - to light his way.
66 The Threat Of Shelob Lured into forbidding caves by the scheming Gollum, Frodo holds aloft the phial as it dramatically kindles into a bright, radiant starlight! Even more dramatic - and certainly more terrifying - is what this light reveals: Shelob, a huge, loathsome spider-monster grotesquely unfolding herself from the dark cave walls! Eager for new prey, Shelob lunges forward as the frightened Hobbit races through the cave, hoping to outrun the deadly beast and escape Gollum's trap.
67 A Narrow Escape? Emerging from Shelob's cave, Frodo continues climbing the Cirith Ungol staircase, believing he's escaped. A relentless predator, Shelob doesn's abandon the chase so quickly. Dropping down, she viciously stabs Frodo with her monstrous abdominal stinger and begins spinning webs around her now-immobilized prey. Suddenly, Sam attacks, wielding Frodo's phial and sword Stting as he fights off the giant spider-monster.
68 Captured By Orcs The slimy Orc leader Gorbag and his soldiers stumble upon the cocooned body of Frodo, who has fallen victim to the paralyzing sting of the giant spider-monster Shelob. Powerless against a whole patrol of Orcs, Sam watches helplessly as Gorbag's troops take the comatose Frodo along with them to the tower of Cirith Ungol.
69 Gorbag's Prey Front: In the tower of Cirith Ungol, Frodo slowly stirs to consciousness, and realizes that he's been stripped of most of his garments. Possession of these "spoils of war" prompts a violent confrontation between Gorbag, leader of the Orcs, and Shagrat of the Uruk-Hai. Back: Taking advantage of this sudden squabble is Sam, who manages to spirit Frodo away in the confusion.
70 The Wounds Of War Aragorn, with considerable help from the ghostly Army of the Dead, turns the battle of Pelennor Fields around, forcing thousands of Orcs to retreat. Even so, countless good men have been slain or seriously wounded this day. Front: Searching the battlefield, Pippin comes upon his companion from the Shire, Merry. He helps the injured Hobbit to his feet, and both make their way through the wreckage of war. Back: Gandalf surveys the battles aftermath.
71 United Against Sauron As the surviving heroes tend to their wounded, Aragorn confers with Gandalf and his Fellowship companions. He suggests that they march on the Black Gates of Mordor in order to give Frodo more time to complete his mission. It is Gimli who breaks the silence that initially greets Aragorn's audacious battle plan by proclaiming, "I like it!"
72 Their Greatest Challenge Front: Legolas rides with the surviving warriors from Rohan and Gondor as they march on he Black Gates of Mordor, weapons at the ready, banners fluttering in the wind. Although these men are battle-weary, the noble task undertaken by the Fellowship - the destruction of the One Ring - is still not completed. Back: A full view of these brave soldiers, determined to thwart Sauron's evil at all costs.
73 March On The Black Gates Front: Aragorn, now wearing a breast plate emblazoned with the fabled White Tree, rides at the head of a column of foot soldiers. These surviving warriors from Rohan and Gondor are led through the blood-stained ruins of Osgiliath. Ahead of them: the mountains of Mordor, and a date with destiny. Back: Armed with the great sword Anduril, Aragorn leads his army of Men into battle against the Dark Lord Sauron's remaining forces.
74 Orcs Against Them Although both were wounded in the battle of Pelennor Fields, Merry and an armor-clad Eowyn bravely ride along with Aragorn's soldiers as they head for the Black Gates of Mordor for a final confrontation with Sauron's forces. Front: Merry, standing next to Eowyn, stares at the awaiting Orc army, fearful of the impending battle. Back: the surviving Orc warriors rally for the coming fight.
75 Fury Of The White Wizard Even as the Hobbits struggle to complete their task, Aragorn and his army of courageous warriors from Rohan and Gondor arrive at the dreaded Black Gates of Mordor. This is the climactic confrontation of LorR trilogy, which will determine the ultimate fate of Middle-earth. Front: Tireless warrior-wizard Gandalf thrashes away at Sauron's Orc army. Back: The trilogy's final battle is waged at the Black Gates.
76 The King Has Returned Front: It is a final, furious confrontation at the Black Gates of Mordor. Although our heroes all plunge into action against the remaining Orc army, it is the new King himself- Aragorn - who must ultimately face the supernatural wrath of Sauron. But with the One Ring still not destroyed by Frodo, does the son of Arathorn stand a chance? Back: Once again in the thick of battle, Gandalf defies the evil power of the Dark Lord.
77 Decision At Mount Doom On the Gorgoth Plains overlooking Mount Doom, exhausted Hobbits Sam and Frodo stop for a second wind. Frodo seems to be getting weaker by the second, and even steadfast Sam wonders how long his strength will hold up. It has been a long, challenging journey from the blissful comforts of the Shire to the smoldering mountains of Mordor. But now their great trek is nearing its end. Just beyond the precipice, Mount Doom awaits…
78 The Trilogy Concludes Movie audiences worldwide have been swept up in the compelling universe of Middle-earth. With an eye toward pleasing the hardcore fan, while at the same time winning over mainstream moviegoers, director PJ developed a unique creative formula that has succeeded beyond all expectations. The three New Line LotR productions are lavish, stylish and heartfelt cinematic experiences, deemed by many critics the best fantasy movies ever made.
79 Movie Masterpiece PJ wraps up his epic film saga based on LotR with RotK. An astonishing undertaking, the trilogy is a masterful blend of action, imagination, heartfelt performances and CG special effects. Front, clockwise: KarlUrben, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen. Back: Director Jackson constantly re-works the films, shifting and re-editing sequences right up to their release.
80 The Truth About Gollum Front: Gollum himself, Andy Serkis, relaxes on the movie set with Hobbit co-stars Elijah Wood and Sean Astin. It was Serkis' innovative voice for Gollum that first impressed director PJ, and soon the versatile performer found himself in the heart of groundbreaking CG technology. Back: A closer view of Serkis, all suited up and ready for key-frame animation.
81 Making Up An Orc There are various permutations of Orcs and Uruk-Hai featured in LotR film trilogy, and thanks to meticulous craft and workmanship, none of these creatures look exactly alike. The make-up and sculpting wizards of WETA Workshop have worked tirelessly on these magnificently wretched beings, conjuring up new variations for each of the three films, including the final chapter, RotK.
82 Filmmaker In The Field Director PJ is a perfectionist who encourages the creative forces in front of and behind the movie cameras to push their artistic abilities to the max. Fantasies this exotic require subtle, very human touches to promote the desired realism. Front: Jackson offers advice to an armor-suited Eowyn, now fighting alongside her male counterparts for he first time. Back: Jackson hams it up for the camera with Otto.
83 A Poet's Approach Adapting LotR into an epic movie trilogy was the most daunting challenge of filmmaker PJ's career. In addition to spectacular visuals, the poetic aspects of the characters and conflicts needed to be convincingly conveyed, so the proper casting was essential. Front: Cameras catch the subtle emotions of Arwen as she is watched over by her father, Elrond, in Rivendell. Back: another view of the lovely Arwen, against blue screen.
84 Making The Unreal Real CG technology has made the spectacular battle sequences of LotR movies possible, offering thousands of Orc warriors in a single frame. About 250 real horses were transported to the outdoor set for increased realism, a spectacular sight in itself. Front: WETA Workshop Supervisor and Designer Richard Taylor checks out the battlefield along with Director PJ. Back: Taylor marches before his movie army.
85 The Magic Of Blue Screen The Blue screen special-effects technique allows for imaginative backgrounds to be added after the live-action photography is completed. As spectacular as the New Zealand locations are, the larger-than-life vistas of Middle-earth obviously require artful CG applications. Front: Once this scene between Arwen and Elrond is completed, the Elven city of Rivendell will be added into the background behind them. Back: Aragorn is filmed in front of a blue screen.
86 Filming Pippin's Perils In RotK, the character of Pippin is thrust into life-threatening danger once again thanks to his unabashed curiosity. When the reckless Hobbit liiks into Saruman's Palantir, the Dark Lord Sauron mistakes him for the Ringbearer. Front: Director PJ offers Boyd some useful tips. Back: Boyd prepares to perform one of the film's many exciting stunts.
87 A Fateful Friendship The deep friendship between Hobbits Sam and Frodo plays a crucial role in RotK, as the stakes are raised even higher in the third and final film. The actors' real-life friendship grew during filming and is evident onscreen, adding emotional depth to their film trials. Front: A cameraman films the Hobbit duo. Back: Director PJ discusses an upcoming scene with Astin in Shelob's lair.
88 Master Of Middle-earth Frond and back: Director PJ enjoys playing both sides of the fence, serving as "general" for both the forces of light and darkness. Jackson considers RotK films he's directed. "We've saved the best for last," he said in a pre-release interview, explaining how the powerful emotional arcs of all the main characters finally come to fruition.
89 Ghoulish Delights Front: So who said being an actor was easy? Three hardy performers, fully made-up as Orc warriors, take a breather between shots during filming for RotK. The heavy costumes and complex creature make-ups were difficult to endure, especially with all the sun-baked exterior shooting. Back: The malevolent Witch-king, key to this final story, poses for a publicity still.
90 CHECKLIST THE CHARACTERS 1~18 THE STORY 19~77 BEHIND-THE-SCENES 78~89 CHECKLIST 90