7. Peter Jackson is everywhere

peter jackson cameo

Director cameos have been common ever since the days of Alfred Hitchcock, but the lord of the Lord of the Rings motion pictures Peter Jackson really stepped up to the plate. You can see PJ in various forms in every single LotR and Hobbit movie, often multiple times. Above you can see him in one of his more obvious cameos, as the carrot-munching Albert Dreary in Fellowship of the Ring.

You can also spot him in The Two Towers. Here he is throwing a spear, with vigor.

peter jackson cameo

He's shown very briefly in a scene in Return of the King, but in the Four Hour Sedentery Marathon Edition, you can see PJ die a grisly death as a punchline to an oafish Legolas/Gimli joke. 

The other Jackson cameo in RotK is impossible to find without foreknowledge. For just a second during a shot when Sam confronts the giant spider Shelob, PJ swapped in his own arm.

peter jackson cameo

You can bet the cameo train kept rolling when it came time for the Hobbit movies. Here's an almost unrecognizable PJ dressed up as a dwarf in An Unexpected Journey.

Desolation of Smaug has a particularly puzzling instance when it returns to Bree, the site of Jackson's first cameo. He looks to be playing the exact same character, despite the fact that this movie takes place almost 80 years before the events of Fellowship of the Ring. Maybe he's of the same race as Aragorn?

Timelords aside, the most meaningful cameo might have come in The Battle of Five Armies, when Bilbo is fixing up his home in Bag End.

peter jackson cameo

Do these portraits look familiar? On the right you can see what Peter Jackson would look like if he didn't have a beard (apparently like a grown-up Cabbage Patch Doll). On the left you can see Fran Walsh, co-writer of Lord of the Rings and Jackson's wife. It's fitting that these two, who are essentially responsible for bringing this vision of the books to life, are represented in the movie as Bilbo's parents. 

It's even better when you realize this easter egg has been there since the beginning. While it's pretty blatant in Battle of the Five Armies, you can actually see these same portraits way back in Fellowship. 

peter jackson cameo

Judging by the behind the scenes material, there was one cameo that didn't make the cut. Originally, PJ was supposed to play a spy that made bird sounds:

But when Fran heard Jackson's awful squawking, she nixed the scene entirely. Too bad she couldn't have done that when someone said "Let's make The Hobbit into three movies."

 

6. The hidden meaning of Boromir's death song

boromir dead

We already talked about how badass Boromir's death scene was, but we should probably talk about it again. Yes, he had minutes earlier tackled a hobbit to steal his jewelry, but his heart was in the right place. B-mir just wanted to save his people. Though the rest of the Fellowship pay tribute in their own way, the movie does so in song. If you listen closely as Boromir dies, you can hear Elvish singing in the background.  

If you translate the lyrics, you get this:

"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness; I love only that which they defend."

What sounded like Enya murmuring gibberish is in actuality an exact quote from the book, as spoken by Boromir's brother Faramir. It's a miracle that anyone figured out the reference in the first place, much less the fact that someone thought to sneak that into the film. This is yet another example of an amazing detail that isn't shoved in your face but instead is tucked away as a clever reward for ardent fans.

 

5. Links between Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies

hobbit links

The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies are obviously set in the same world and share a few key characters, but if you look closely you can see a lot more than a familiar seven foot tall wizard. characters. Maybe the most prominent links between the trilogies are the trolls, seen only for a brief moment in the Fellowship theatrical edition but explicitly called out in the extended edition. 

These are of course the same trolls that turned to stone in The Hobbit. They're even in the exact same positions. 

hobbit trolls

That's not the only location that repeats in the Hobbit. In the Hobbit, the scarred albino orc Azog has a meeting at a place called Weathertop, which resembles Stonehenge if it jutted up three hundred feet off of the ground. This is the very same place where the Nazgul attack Frodo and Co. in Fellowship. 

hilltop

But there are several more references to the Hobbit buried within LotR, the best of which involve the dwarves. 

gloin gimli axe

On the left you see Gloin, who happens to be the father of Gimli. Note that dad and son both wield the same axe. At some point between films, the weapon was passed down in the family line, along with what appears to be the exact same helmet Gloin finds in Battle of the Five Armies. 

gloin gimli axe

The other references are a bit sadder. In Fellowship, you can see the withered corpses of a couple of the dwarves in Moria.

lord of the rings oin

At some point during their tour of the mines, they come across the tomb of Balin, the wise old dwarf seen in the Hobbit films. He had led a doomed expedition into Moria to reclaim it for the dwarves, about 25 years before the founding of the Fellowship. Though Balin's crew found some successin recovering dwarven artifacts, they were eventually overrun by orcs and the Balrog. After Balin was killed, the rest of the dwarves barely had time to build him a tomb before they themselves were slain.

If you look closely next to that tomb above, you can see another dwarf corpse sitting on the ground.

lord of the rings ori

That's Ori, the dopey dwarf who was so fond of writing. It's somewhat somber for an easter egg, but it does give breadth to the world and tell us that the dwarves lived their lives well after the cameras stopped rolling.