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This Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Actor Reveals Which Classic Character Almost Died

The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is one of the most beloved fantasy epics of all time, and for good reason. Director Peter Jackson paid close detail to J.R. Tolkien's books to ensure that all three films faithfully adapted the classic tale. That precise attention clearly paid off, as the trilogy won 475 awards over the years. "The Return of the King" even won Best Picture at the Oscars, and rightly so — who else when Sam (Sean Astin) carried Frodo (Elijah Wood) up Mount Doom?

The franchise is still held up as a high bar for what special effects can do on the big screen, including the lasting legacy of Andy Serkis' motion-capture work as Gollum/Smeagol. The star went on to portray other characters using similar technology, like Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and its sequels. Some of the characters aren't as visually impressive as Gollum, Sauron, or the various monsters that plague the Fellowship across the trilogy. 

That doesn't make them any less important — or does it? Studio executives supposedly wanted to kill off one of the main characters to up the emotional stakes of the quest to destroy Sauron. New Line Cinema didn't want to kill Frodo or make any radical decisions, but it's still surprising that the studio wanted to make a drastic change to the source material.

Merry was nearly killed

Dominic Monaghan recently revealed to IGN that Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck was nearly killed due to pressure from studio executives. He recently spoke to the outlet alongside Billy Boyd (who played Peregrin "Pippin" Took) about their podcast, where the duo discuss their experiences working on "Lord of the Rings" as well as interviewing other cast members. It gives fans a personal insight into how the franchise got off the ground and what it was like being part of it all.

Monaghan opened up about Merry's near death experience, saying, "Peter Jackson was being pressured from above to have one of the four Hobbits die in the film, even though they survived in the books." He added that the director didn't listen to the studio: "Luckily, Jackson didn't succumb to the demands of the producers." 

The star explained that out of all the Hobbits, Merry was the one who might've been expendable: "It definitely would have. There's no way they are killing Frodo and Sam, and the only ones that would be left would be Merry and Pippin." He went on to explain, "They wouldn't kill Pippin because Pippin has a really strong story with Gandalf. It would have definitely been me."

If Merry had been killed off, it'd be interesting to see how his death would've impacted the rest of the Fellowship. Would it have lit a fire under Frodo and Sam when they needed it most? Possibly. Thankfully, Monaghan says the director wanted to remain consistent with Tolkien's work, "so, he stuck by his guns." Sure, Merry and Pippin offer comedy relief, but they also live life to its fullest and provide hope in the darkest moments of the trilogy. We agree that it's a good thing they both made it out alive.