Celebriel reports that one must-attend session for Ringers at Dragon*Con 2004 was The Road Goes Ever Onward, a preview of The Return of the King Extended Edition presented by staffers Mr Cere, Balin, and WeeTanya on Saturday and Monday. This preview consisted of screen caps of assorted images we’ve run across in the past few months and even all the way back to original trailers (ie the Merry/Theoden scene). This represents TORN’s speculations about what the EE holds for us fans.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers related to the content in the 50 minutes of footage added to the theatrical version. If you want to be surprised when you insert that first disc into your DVD player, READ NO FURTHER!

Additional scenes expected to appear in the Extended Edition are:

1. The long-awaited confrontation with Saruman at Orthanc which was cut from the theatrical edition. At the end of this confrontation, Saruman is killed by Grima, who pushes him, causing him to fall and impale himself on a spiky wheel. (An image of Saruman impaled has been floating around for a few years). This scene is an homage to Christopher Lee, who has appeared in numerous Dracula and other horror films in his long career, dating back to 1948.

2. Grima’s death. Legolas shoots Grima at Orthanc.

3. Merry swearing allegiance to King Theoden. Merry’s role is expanded in several scenes in the Extended Edition.

4. A scene between Aragorn and Eowyn, in her bedroom at Edoras. Many people seeing this image on the Internet believed it was set in the Houses of Healing.

5. A drinking game at Edoras involving Legolas and Gimli.

6. A conversation between Eomer and Eowyn that gives us insight into their relationship.

7. Aragorn explains Pippin’s flight.

8. A conversation between Elrond and Arwen , again giving us insight into their relationship.

9. Footage of Aragorn with the palantir.

10. Much more footage from the journey through the Paths of the Dead. In one spectacular scene, skulls rain down on Aragorn. Aragorn leaves the Kingdom of the Dead without an answer to his question, “What say you?”

11. Legolas consoles Aragorn after they leave the Paths of the Dead, placing his hand on Aragorn’s shoulder. (This image has also been floating around for a few years, and has been the subject of caption contests.)

12. There is much more background on the black ships of the Corsairs. The Army of the Dead arrive and conquer the Corsairs. Look closely and you will see a lot of cast and WETA production crew members in these fight scenes. (Remember that Peter Jackson’s cameo in the theatrical version was as a Corsair.)

13. Expanded conversation between Gandalf and Pippin in Minas Tirith, including Gandalf’s explanation of significance of The White Tree.

14. A conversation between Pippin and Faramir.

15. Expanded treatment of the Siege of Gondor (could this get any bigger?) including more battering rams, more Orcish machinery, and more about the defense and taking of the White City. More decapitated heads are launched from catapults. Oliphants charge into the walls of Minas Tirith.

16. The long-awaited encounter between Gandalf and the Witch King. The Witch King’s sword bursts into flame. Gandalf’s staff is broken. Gandalf is shown rescuing Faramir.

17. Eomer finds Theoden dead on the battlefield, then finds the wounded Eowyn. He is overcome with grief.

18. Pippin finds Merry on the battlefield at night, after a day-long search. A much longer scene than in the theatrical edition.

19. Gorbag is shown taking Frodo’s possessions from him.

20. In the Houses of Healing, Eomer and Aragorn talk.

21. Aragorn is shown walking in the throne room in Minas Tirith.

22. More footage of Frodo and Sam in Mordor, including their marching with orcs and Sam discarding his pots and pans.

23. The long-waited Mouth of Sauron comes out of the Gates of Mordor to confront Aragorn and his forces, displaying the items taken from Frodo. The Mouth character is blind, just a mouth. (This presence of this scene helps explain Aragorn’s battle cry, “For Frodo!”)

24. Merry and Pippin despair on the battlefield after seeing Frodo’s clothes and mithril vest.

Overall, as TORn staffers pointed out, the additional scenes bring the film even closer to the book. Many deal with character development, or help explain or set up actions taken by characters, although both the Siege of Gondor and the battle with the Corsairs get more action scenes.

Other rumors:

TORn staffers also reported that the ROTK Extended Edition may, repeat MAY, play theatrically during or close to Thanksgiving weekend. Also, that there is a possibility of another set of DVDs with additional footage in 2006 or 2007, but the films themselves will not be recut. The possibilities are endless, given that about 12 MILLION feet of documentary footage was shot.