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AI Creates The Perfect '90s Lord Of The Rings Movie Trailer & Cast

AI may have many uses, but reimagining classic entertainment IPs in brand new settings has to be the one use case to rule them all. Reworking J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic fantasy world into various other adaptive scenarios is particularly entertaining. It doesn't matter if you're twisting "Lord of the Rings" into a 1980s sci-fi, giving Middle-earth Wes Anderson style vibes or plastering Arnold Schwarzenegger's face on everyone at the Council of Elrond. Tolkienian AI mash-ups are a hoot.

One fan-infused invention moves the needle back less than a decade from Peter Jackson's iconic Middle-earth trilogy (which came out from 2001 to 2003). Created by stryder HD, the concept trailer shows us what "The Lord of the Rings" could have looked like if it was a full-on '90s flick. The movie has a distinct '90s flare that is built primarily on real faces and physical props interrupted by CGI shots that, just like any good '90s cinematic experience, don't just hover on the edge of the uncanny valley. They dive headlong into it.

The nearly four-minute trailer starts with epic music as viewers are ushered through a series of backed out shots. We see fantastical reworked scenes of famous spots, including the Shire, Mordor, Lothlórien, and Gondor. Less than a minute through, we're treated to a shot of the One Ring with being picked up by an unknown but Hobbit-looking hand. From there, the rest of the clip is a series of shots of the story's top characters, recast '90s style. We get plenty of well-known actors and even a couple of new characters that didn't make the cut for Jackson's films, and it's where things get really fun.

Who could have shown up in a '90s Lord of the Rings adaptation?

It's always anybody's guess who would have been the best actor to play a role in a classic movie, especially if you move it to another era of Hollywood history. That said, stryder HD's '90s parody does a gosh-darn entertaining job with a reworked "Lord of the Rings" cast. Take Gimli, for instance, who appears as a younger Brendan Gleeson channeling his "Braveheart" bravado. Patrick Swayze also brings the smoldering swagger of an Elvish princeling through Gimli's bestie Legolas while Mel Gibson and Jennifer Connelly step into the shoes of Gondor's first couple, Aragorn and Arwen.

As far as supernatural power-players go, we get Sean Connery as Gandalf (Connery refused the role in Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" in real life). Richard Harris makes the Wizarding leap from Hogwarts to Middle-earth to portray Saruman. Michell Pfeiffer and Tom Cruise take up the roles of Galadriel and Celeborn in the Golden Wood and the one and only Jeremy Irons shows up as the Dark Lord himself (as Sauron without the armor).

Even amongst the Little People, the perfect casting continues. Michael J. Fox plays Bilbo, Jake Gyllenhaal is Frodo, and Jack Black plays the gardener-turned-adventurer Sam. Macaulay Culkin channels the mischievous Pippin and Leonardo Dicaprio is the level-headed Merry. Finally, we get the Hobbit-adjacent Gollum played by Jacki Earl Haley — a man who is no stranger to a tortured character. Our only real criticism with this half-sized cast? Jack Black sports some very non-Hobbity facial hair.

Rohan, Gondor, and two unexpected guests

The recast crew doesn't neglect the world of Men. On the contrary, we get a full stable of Rohan characters with Ian McShane, Nicholas Cage, and Rebecca De Mornay playing the royal Rohirric roles of Théoden, Éomer, and Éowyn. Christopher Walken also delivers a strong dose of creepiness in the role of Gríma Wormtongue. In Gondor, we get Val Kilmer as Boromir, Kevin Costner as a (doubtless accent-less) younger brother Faramir, and the stoic Anthony Hopkins as their dad, Denethor.

To top things off, the concept trailer absolutely nails the casting for an enigmatic character that Jackson completely cut from his trilogy: Tom Bombadil. Robin Williams is perfectly placed in the role of Bombadil, although we don't get anyone for Tom's wife, Goldberry. (As an aside, Bombadil will finally reach the adapted screen in August, as Amazon Studios is taking a fun but risky shot by including him in Season 2 of "The Rings of Power"). We also get Glorfindel. Like Bombadil, the reincarnated Elven Lord is in "The Lord of the Rings" books. Unlike Bombadil, whose part was completely axed, Glorfindel's role of saving Frodo from the Black Riders was reassigned to Liv Tyler's Arwen. This time Glorfindel makes the cut, and he's played by none other than Johnny Depp.

There are other actors in the mix, but you get the idea. The throwback recasting fever dream is as fun as it is clever, and it makes one wonder just what would have happened if Jackson had gotten a studio to sign off on his idea just a handful of years sooner.