Lord Of The Rings Art Recasts Trilogy With ‘80s Stars (Including Harrison Ford As Aragorn)

Lord Of The Rings Art Recasts Trilogy With ‘80s Stars (Including Harrison Ford As Aragorn)

Summary

  • AI-generated images imagine what
    The Lord of the Rings
    would look like if it was cast in the 1980s, including Sean Connery as Gandalf, Harrison Ford as Aragorn, and Val Kilmer as Legolas.
  • One of the greatest strengths of Peter Jackson’s trilogy is its cast, and many of the actors remain best known for their roles in the franchise.
  • None of the actors were giant movie stars prior to joining Jackson’s movies, allowing them to more fully become those characters for audiences.



The Lord of the Rings trilogy gets a 1980s-inspired recast in a new batch of AI-generated images. Based on the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter Jackson brought the world of Middle-earth to life for the first time in 2001, telling the epic tale of Frodo’s (Elijah Wood) quest to destroy the One Ring across three films. The trilogy’s cast includes a number of actors who have since become synonymous with their roles, including Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and more.

In a new batch of AI-generated images shared by @lotrology on Instagram, the Lord of the Rings cast gets an ’80s-inspired reimagining. Check out the images below:


The carousel of images features a number of big names stepping into now-iconic roles, including Sean Connery as Gandalf, a role he was actually offered in real life but turned down. Check out the full list of recastings below:

Character

Actor

Gandalf

Sean Connery

Frodo

Michael J. Fox

Aragorn

Harrison Ford

Legolas

Val Kilmer

Gimli

Brian Blessed

Samwise Gamgee

John Cusack

Boromir

Richard Gere

Saruman

Peter Cushing

Galadriel

Meryl Streep



Would Lord Of The Rings’ 1980s Castings Have Worked?

Or Would They All Have Been Too Famous Already?

Gandalf fighting the Balrog in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

There are so many beloved aspects of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the cast is certainly one of them. None of the actors were really considered big movie stars (though many had impressive filmographies) prior to joining the franchise, which is one of the key differences with the ’80s recastings above. Ford and Connery, for example, were big stars in the ’80s thanks to the likes of Indiana Jones and James Bond. Fox, too, was very much a known quantity due to Back to the Future in 1985.


Ford and Connery would go on to star together in 1989’s
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
.

It could be argued that one of the many reasons why the Lord of the Rings cast ended up being so effective in Jackson’s trilogy is that each actor had relatively little baggage. Most of the actors didn’t have any other roles for which they had become iconic Hollywood figures, and this ultimately helped them fully embody their characters in Middle-earth. Despite this, however, it would obviously be remarkable to see how the franchise would be different if it had starred big movie stars like Ford and Connery.

The
Lord of the Rings
trilogy is currently available to stream on Max and Prime Video.


Actors like Kilmer and Cushing, too, are evidently very talented, with the former rising to fame after 1986’s Top Gun and the latter playing an especially evil villain in 1977’s Star Wars:A New Hope. Streep is widely considered one of the best actors of all time, and her take on Galadriel could have been a memorable one. While it’s interesting to imagine how a 1980s version of The Lord of the Rings would have been different, Jackson evidently struck gold with his casting in the early 2000s.

Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings Came At The Perfect Time

It’s For The Best J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works Weren’t Adapted In The 1980s

Aragorn, Legolas, and other soldiers brave the harsh winds on foot and horseback as they prepare for battle in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


Before Jackson took a stab at adapting Tolkien’s source material, the only major adaptation of the works came in 1978, in the form of an animated movie from director Ralph Bakshi. Jackson’s trilogy marked the first time the books were translated into a live-action experience. Although seeing actors like Ford and Connery as Tolkien’s characters would’ve been exciting, it’s ultimately for the best that the movies didn’t get made in the 1980s, purely from a technological standpoint.

1978’s animated
The Lord of the Rings
earned mixed reviews from critics and currently holds a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy still holds up remarkably well today visually, featuring a blend of practical and digital effects that was essentially unrivaled at the time. The trilogy makes exceptional use of miniatures and make-up effects, but it also relies heavily on visual effects to pull off more audacious sequences, including a fight with a cave troll, Gandalf’s battle with a Balrog, Aragorn’s interactions with the Army of the Dead, and much of the Battle of Pelennor Fields.


If The Lord of the Rings had been made in the 1980s, it may have struggled to pull off bold sequences like these with the technology that was available. Stop-motion, for example, may have been necessary to capture creatures like the cave troll and the Balrog, but Jackson’s use of VFX in these instances just looks better from a visual standpoint. Of course, Jackson would arguably rely too heavily on VFX and CGI during his divisive Hobbit trilogy years later, meaning The Lord of the Rings really came at the perfect time in terms of filmmaking technology.

Source: @lotrology/Instagram

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