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What the cast of the Lord of the Rings looks like now

It's been a long time since Peter Jackson dazzled moviegoers with his award-winning, blockbuster film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Premiering in each December from 2001 through 2003, all three of the trilogy's movies have aged respectably. Not only are the films getting older but, naturally, so are the stars who helped or hampered Frodo's quest to take the ring to Mordor. The star-studded cast has, by and large, been quite busy since the early 2000s, and you've probably seen most of them on the big and small screens. Here's what the cast of Jackson's trilogy looks like today, and what they've been up to since the ring was destroyed.

Elijah Wood - Frodo

Best known for his high-profile role as leading man and ring-bearer Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood doesn't look so much like a young Hobbit these days.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was by no means Wood's only baby-faced role. The actor not only starred in various movies as a child—including Radio Flyer, The Good Son, North, and Flipper—but also made his name in the film industry as a teenager, taking on roles in The Ice Storm, Deep Impact and The Faculty. Nonetheless, taking the one ring to rule them all to the fires of Mount Doom was easily Wood's most massive role, and will likely remain so for the rest of his career.

Since the LOTR days, the instantly-recognizable star has popped up in various high-profile movies—including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sin City—though has actively appeared elsewhere, as well. Wood hosted MTV's Xbox 360 unveiling party in 2005, hosted Discovery Kid's Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue after voicing Mumble in animated penguin classic Happy Feet, starred in FX's weird dog-friend series Wilfred, voiced Sigma in Machinima's Red vs. Blue, and—rounding out the diverse portfolio—made a cameo appearance in the Beastie Boy's "Make Some Noise" music video.

These days, Wood is co-starring in BBC America's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, alongside Samuel Barnett—but we will always think of him as the hairy-footed Hobbit.

Sean Astin - Sam

Perhaps best known for his role as Frodo's right-hand man, Samwise Gamgee, actor Sean Astin no longer looks like the stockier member of the Hobbit fellowship. Instead, he's making the 40s look like the new 30s.

Astin has two other major claims to fame, and shame on you if you don't know which films we're talking about! Back in 1985, Astin played Mikey Walsh in the classic children's adventure film The Goonies, which served as his breakout role. Eight years later, Astin landed another role that would follow him for the rest of his life—as the title character in famous Notre Dame football walk-on story Rudy. After playing Sam in The Lord of The Rings, however, Astin hasn't really been in the spotlight. He was in Adam Sandler's 50 First Dates and Click, guest-starred in FOX's once-famous 24, and made cameo appearances in a whole slew of television shows—but nothing too major. Astin also narrated Meerkat Manor, voiced the title-character of Disney Channel kids' show Special Agent Oso, and played a plastic surgeon in not-so-kid-friendly Funny or Die fake trailer Boobathon.

What's Astin doing now, you ask? Expect to see the older Samwise in Season 2 of Netflix's uber-popular Stranger Things.

Ian McKellen - Gandalf

Undoubtedly the most decorated of all the Lord of the Rings cast members, Sir Ian McKellen only looks all the more wiser than when he played legendary wizard Gandalf the White. (And, previously, Gandalf the Grey.)

The knighted actor has more awards than you can shake a wizard's staff at. McKellen won a Golden Globe Award for his role in the Made for TV movie Rasputin, two Saturn Awards, an Annie award, two ACCA awards, one Honorary Golden Berlin Bear, one Variety Award, one British Independent Film Award, two Critics Choice Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards… and the list only goes on from there. (And don't get us started on the nominations.) He is an accomplished stage actor, in addition to one of the big screen's biggest stars—with The Lord of the Rings merely being another accomplishment to add to his already extensive résumé of fine films.

McKellen's most recent work includes playing Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast and the role of King Lear in Chichester Festival Theatre's 2017 season. He also remains one of the staunchest and most influential advocates for LGBT rights.

Sean Bean - Boromir

Sean Bean, who tried to take the ring from Frodo, is no longer the young-dad type we're used to seeing in The Fellowship of the Ring. These days, the actor behind Boromir looks, rather, more like the older-dad type.

Bean was perhaps most widely known for his role as Boromir in the first Lord of the Rings film, though—given the success of HBO's Game of Thrones—that may no longer be the case. The actor notably played George R. R. Martin's most honorable man in the Seven Kingdoms and all-around good dad, Ned Stark, on the first season of the hit TV-adaptation of the popular A Song of Ice and Fire book series—though (spoiler alert) he gets his head lopped off in the penultimate episode. Playing characters who meet tragic ends is nothing new for Bean, however, as the actor is notorious for being killed off in what seems like every role he's ever played.

The actor has always had a knack for fantasy, and the trend is continuing in his most recent work, having voiced King Regis in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and narrated Netflix's Roman Empire: Reign of Blood.

Orlando Bloom - Legolas

A household name today, Orlando Bloom is no longer the immortal, baby-faced elven bowman we first met in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though recently turning over-the-hill, Bloom is still a Hollywood heartthrob, whose romantic endeavors are always front-page news.

The Fellowship of the Ring, and the two LOTR films that followed, launched Bloom into a Hollywood career largely centered around fantasy-themed blockbusters. He notably played Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Paris in historical-epic Troy, and took on the leading role of Balian de Ibelin in Ridley Scott's medieval battle-for-the-Holy-Land epic Kingdom of Heaven. Additionally, Bloom reprised his first major role as Legolas in the more-recent Hobbit trilogy, proving—with the help of some makeup—that elves truly do not age.

Bloom's current work remains in line with the body of his previous roles, most recently reprising his role—once again—as Will Turner in the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, titled Dead Men Tell No Tales, as well as the upcoming drama Romans.

Dominic Monaghan - Merry

The more serious of the two 'other' Hobbits, the actor behind Meriadoc Brandybuck isn't quite the pipe-weed smoking halfling we remember from the Lord of the Rings films.

Dominic Monaghan might be most well-known for his role as Merry in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of Tolkien's novels, but fans of the once-famous television series Lost surely know the actor as Charlie Pace, one of the show's central characters. The English actor also played Chris Bradley in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in addition to acting in a bunch of other films you've likely never heard of, and making cameo appearances on Top Gear, Children's Hospital, Ridiculousness, and The Eric Andre Show.

Today, Monaghan has found moderate success hosting Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, a wildlife documentary series nominated for numerous awards. He can also be found in the 2017 SyFy chiller Atomica, though critics would probably recommend the former.

Billy Boyd - Pippin

You'd be forgiven for not being able to name another film featuring Billy Boyd, the actor behind The Lord of the Rings' Peregrin "Pippin" Took—as you would be for not recognizing the middle-aged actor, who always manages to look younger than he really is.

Boyd's biggest role, by far, was playing the most confused, pipe-weed toking Hobbit of the bunch. The actor's only other film roles worth mentioning include playing Barret Bonden in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and voicing Glen in Seed of Chucky. Though he has acted and lent his voice to other projects, Boyd's real bag is music. The famous Hobbit is the front-man for a band called Beecake, playing guitar and providing vocals, and has made guest appearances on LOTR co-star Viggo Mortensen's experimental album Pandemoniumfromamerica. Boyd also wrote and performed the end-credits theme for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, further lending his influence to Middle-earth and providing trivia material for die-hard Hobbit fans.

Viggo Mortensen - Aragorn

Viggo Mortensen is no longer the long-haired ranger turned King of Gondor from days of old. Now, the accomplished actor and artist is a full-fledged silver fox.

Before The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen had already come into his own as an actor, spending the '90s acting in such notable films as The Indian Runner, Carlito's Way, G.I. Jane, A Perfect Murder, and A Walk on the Moon. Nevertheless, Peter Jackson's award-winning trilogy cemented the Danish-American actor's place in the film industry. Mortensen later acted in David Cronenberg films A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, the latter earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Working well together, the director and actor teamed up again for 2011's A Dangerous Method, which landed Mortensen a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Other well-known films featuring the man behind Aragorn include The Road, Appaloosa, Far from Men, and The Guest—all of which were received well by critics and fans alike.

Mortensen's artistic impact is not limited to the film industry, however. The actor founded Perceval Press, a publishing company that aims to help artists get out work that would likely fail to find a home at traditional publishing companies. He has also written and published a wide variety of work, including books of poetry and paintings. He is also known to have rocked out with guitarist Buckethead, producing multiple albums with the avant-garde guitarist.

John Rhys-Davies - Gimli

John Rhys-Davies is known almost entirely for two roles—the first being, of course, Gimli, the axe-wielding dwarf who refuses to be tossed. (Except when there's no other choice.) In addition to being recognized as the son of Gloin, Rhys-Davies is also well-known as Sallah, the likeable Arab in the Indiana Jones films. However, the British actor has appeared in a variety of other films—as has his voice.

Before The Lord of the Rings set the standard for fantasy film in the 2000s, Rhys-Davies appeared in a pair of James Clavell-novel adaptations—namely, the 1980 miniseries Shogun and the 1989 miniseries Noble House—in addition to The Untouchables, Sliders, Star Trek: Voyager, and The Living Daylights. The actor also showed up in various video games, including Ripper, Dune 2000, and Wing Commander, with his voice appearing in a whole plethora of places, such as Justice League and Gargoyles. Having a voice well-suited for fantasy, the actor provided voice work for Lords of Everquest, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, and a documentary titled The Glory of Macedonia.

Most recently, the definitely-not-dwarfish actor—standing at a slightly-above-average 6 feet 1 inch—can be seen starring in historical action-adventure film Beyond the Mask and formerly-MTV, now-Spike fantasy drama The Shannara Chronicles.

Liv Tyler - Arwen

Most famously known as the daughter of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, Liv Tyler barely looks a day older than when she played Aragorn's elven love Arwen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Formerly a teenage model, Tyler got her acting start in the mid-90s, appearing in Silent Fall, Empire Records, HeavyThat Thing You Do! and, most importantly, Stealing Beauty. Afterward, she acted in Inventing the Abbotts, Cookie's Fortune, and 1998's Armageddon—in which she played Bruce Willis' daughter and Ben Affleck's love interest. After playing Arwen, Tyler moved on to Jersey Girl, Reign Over Me, The Strangers, and The Incredible Hulk.

Most recently, Tyler has played Megan "Meg" Abbott in HBO's The Leftovers, which saw its third and final season premiere in April 2017.

Hugo Weaving - Elrond

Though not necessarily the most award-winning or well-known actor to appear in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hugo Weaving has a handful of important and memorable roles to call his own.

In addition to playing Lord Elrond in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Weaving is easily recognizable as Agent Smith from the famous The Matrix trilogy. He has also played V in V for Vendetta, Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, appeared in Cloud Atlas and, most recently, Tom Doss in Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge. Furthermore, his voice has been featured in some pretty famous films, including the sheepdog Rex in Babe, Noah in Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two, and—most notably, Megatron in the Transformers series of films.

Weaving has recently teamed up with LOTR and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson to act in 2018's Mortal Engines.

Cate Blanchett - Galadriel

The fabulous actress behind the elven queen Galadriel needs little introduction, having received more awards and nominations before the age of 50 than most actresses can even dream of.

Her role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a mere side note in Cate Blanchett's impressive curriculum vitae. The actress owns a pair of Academy Awards, a few British Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Critics Choice Awards, six Australian Academy Awards, and a whole cabinet full of awards from other festivals, associations and circles. She is the first performer ever to win an Oscar for portraying another Oscar-winning performer, thanks to her role as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, and has everything from a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to a wax figure in Madame Tussauds.

With such accolades, it's clear that Blanchett's roles on film have been extensive and noteworthy. She has played Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, the title character in Charlotte Gray, an iconic-version of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, and acted in Little Fish, Babel, The Good German, Notes on a Scandal, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and How to Train Your Dragon 2—in addition to reprising her role as Galadriel in all three films of The Hobbit trilogy.

Fans of the phenomenal actress will be able to next see her in Thor: Ragnarok and Ocean's 8.

David Wenham - Faramir

David Wenham, the actor known in The Lord of the Rings universe as Faramir, has been busy since his days of fighting for Gondor and the world of men.

Wenham broke through into the upper-tier of actors by starring as Diver Dan in ABC's SeaChange, a highly-successful television series that helped land the actor an important role in the second and third installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. After Middle-earth was saved, Wenham moved on to a pair of supporting roles alongside Hugh Jackman and Gerard Butler—playing Friar Carl in Van Helsing and Dilios, the narrator and warrior in stylistic Persian-slaying epic 300.

In 2009, Wenham went back to the stage, playing the title-character in Jerry Springer: The Opera, which ran for six sold out days at the Sydney Opera House. The following year, he portrayed Melbourne lawyer Andrew Fraser's long fall from the top in the Australian television series Killing Time. Most recently, Boromir's brother starred in BBC's Top of the Lake, Melbourne Theatre Company's rendition of famous American play The Crucible, Australian children's drama Paper Planes, Jacko in computer-animated adventure-comedy Blinky Bill: The Movie, and back-from-the-dead Harold Meachum in the Netflix original series Iron Fist.

Expect to keep seeing more of the blond-haired Aussie in the years to come.

Christopher Lee - Saruman

A fellow knight, Sir Christopher Lee famously played Saruman, Sir Ian McKellen's nemesis in The Lord of the Rings series. And like the actor behind Gandalf, Lee had a storied acting career—spanning some 70 years.

In addition to a fairly eventful World War II military career, Lee's acting portfolio was extensive. He most notably played Francisco Scaramanga in James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, assumed the role of Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, and resumed his role as Saruman in The Hobbit series. He famously played Frankenstein's monster in 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula in the following year's Horror of Dracula and 1965's Dracula: Prince of Darkness, as well as a whole slew of Hammer Film Production's other Dracula films. He spent nearly his entire life acting, culminating in him being called 2005's "most marketable star."

After living a remarkable life, Sir Christopher Lee passed away on June 7th, 2015.