Rumour and debate has abounded recently on just how many shots from TTT:EX and RoTK may already have been flashed in front of our noses, in the form of the rapid-fire montages that make up the FoTR and TTT trailers. Ringer Spy Raggo mentioned in Barliman’s tonight the possibility that the venerable near-subliminal shots of Sauron wielding his mace in the first major FoTR trailer which we analysed back in the day – might in fact be an unintentional preview of RoTK goodness. Specifically, the bright blue sky doesn’t look particularly Mordoresque.
But on closer inspection, going through the footage of The Last Alliance in the FoTR Prologue (in the theatrical cut) reveals precisely the same shot…
…but now, with all-important digital colour correction applied; transforming a sunny day somewhere in New Zealand into the darkest shadows of Mordor. So the conclusion to be reached is, alas, that we have no better idea as to the nature of Sauron’s corporeal form (if any) in RoTK than we’ve ever had, since the original “20 Questions with PJ” AICN interview back in August 1998:
We still don’t have a definitive answer. The Sauron of the books is sketchy at best, which makes it hard to turn him into a screen villain to carry 3 movies. Imagine not really seeing Darth Vader for all 3 Star Wars films. You just can’t do it.
We obviously have Sauron’s various emissaries to represent him, but just how Sauron himself appears is still a puzzle we are trying to solve. I agree that you can’t reduce him to being a big guy striding around in black armour – but he cannot be limited to a flaming eye either. It’s tough. We’ll keep working on it.
Demosthenes did some digging around and found two key reports from almost precisely 2 years ago, courtesy of Ringer Spy Sylvesterpasemester by way of Tehanu, which describes how when working as extras on the set, they saw “a huge guy with black armour and a huge kind of battleaxe or a hammer, who was standing in the front of a giant bluescreen and there were nine, I repeat !!NINE!! smaller guys with crowns around him…” [More] (N.B. the updated report then reappraises this figure to EIGHT smaller guys). Now, there is obviously the chance that this was an abandoned shot from the FoTR Prologue – but the mention of “Around him there lay tons of dead human bodies and a great corps[?]” hints perhaps even at the infamous RoTK Oliphaunt Set? We sure didn’t see this in FoTR, though…
And further revelations about the extent of Sauron’s appearance in the films were made by Philippa Boyens herself in Creative Screenwriting Magazine as discovered by Ringer Spy Hunter – specifically the top of the third column on this page. And in the same story, Sylvesterpasemester updated his original report – giving details of the armour of the troops on set. But is it the Last Alliance (complete with Nazguls who never made it to the final cuts) – or the Last Battle before the Black Gate of Mordor? Decide for yourselves… [More]