Lord of the Rings: Where Are the Original Cast Members Now?

Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power whisks viewers to the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth, long before the Third Age of the beloved movies. However, it also leaves fans nostalgic for Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, and for The Lord of the Rings cast.

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It’s been a lifetime since the 2001 premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring, which set new standards for fantasy films. Two sequels followed, with The Two Towers in 2002, and The Return of the King in 2003, retelling J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved story for the battle for Middle-earth.

As The Rings of Power unfolds, we take a walk down memory lane, with the original cast of Jackson’s Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings, to see what’s happened to them since the end of the New Line Cinema trilogy. And, just is importantly, how the actors became real-life inspirations through their charity work.

What Happened to Elijah Wood After Playing Frodo?

Elijah Wood the actor and as Frodo in LotR

Elijah Wood was only 18 years old when The Lord of the Rings began principal photography. But even today, at age 41, he’s still fondly remembered as Frodo Baggins.

Over the past two decades, Wood has kept busy by exploring a variety of genres, including action-comedy (Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, 2003), romantic drama ( Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004), and psychological thriller (Maniac, 2012).

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He is now also a producer and a… DJ. In fact, Elijah uses his DJing skills during fundraising events for The Art of Elysium, an organization that provides a platform, and sometimes funding, for volunteer artists who wish to hone their varied crafts.

I am constantly inspired by the work of The Art of Elysium and how they use the transportive power of art to heal and inspire children; elevating them beyond the confines of their pain and discomfort to engage them in creativity and beauty.

Elijah Wood

Elijah also regularly supports charities such as Lifebeat, which is dedicated to advocating for sexual safety, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation

What Happened to Sir Ian McKellen After Playing Gandalf?

Ian McKellen the actor and as Gandalf in LotR

The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest fantasy stories ever told, but who knows what the films would have looked like without Ian McKellen’s performance as the Wizard Gandalf.

During and after LOTR, the knighted actor played Magneto in the also hugely successful X-Men franchise. He is also one of the few original LOTR cast members to reprise his role in The Hobbit trilogy.  

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Some of McKellen’s more recent films are Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Cats (2019). He is also set to appear in the modern-day adaptation Hamlet Revenant,.

When he’s not busy acting, Ian McKellen is extensively involved in charity work. He’s been an advocate for gay rights since he came out in 1988. He co-founded Stonewall, an organization that provides support and resources for the global LGBTQ+ community.

McKellen is also the patron of Step Forward, and has donated to other charities, including those supporting AIDS and HIV education, and at-risk and disadvantaged young people, refugees and seniors.

In 2020, he became one of the leading voices to Project Northmoor, a crowdfunding campaign that seeks to raise funds to buy J.R.R. Tolkien’s home, and turn it into the world’s first Tolkien literary center.

What Happened to Sean Astin After Playing Samwise?

Sean Astin the actor and as Samwise in LotR

Astin portrayed the loyal hobbit Samwise, Frodo’s best friend and his most dependable companion.

Since the end of the trilogy, Astin has voiced several characters in animated films and video games. He even provided the voice for Raphael on Nickelodeon’s popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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In 2017, Sean played Bob Newby in Netflix’s hit series, Stranger Things, and we’re sure to hear more about him, as he has several projects in the works.

He’s also well known for his philanthropic work. He is an advocate for mental-health research, and started RUN3rd, a foundation that supports after-school running programs. Astin has also supported organizations like the LEAP Foundation, the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Make A Film Foundation and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.

What Happened to Dominic Monaghan After Playing Merry

Dominic Monaghan played the beloved young hobbit Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck, Frodo’s distant cousin. A magnet for trouble, Merry has also proved to be a fearless fighter.

You might also remember Dominic from ABC’s hit drama Lost, on which he starred from 2004 to 2010. His post-Lord of the Rings activity includes X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. 

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He has served as a contributing writer for Paste magazine, and as the producer of The Millionaire Tour and the 2014 docuseries Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.

Dominic has supported foundations such as Epilepsy Action and the Neurofibromatosis Association. An avid nature lover, he is a spokesperson for Project Last Stand, a nonprofit that strives to end the destruction of the world’s forests  He has even bought a mango tree forest.

What Happened to Billy Boyd After Playing Pippin

Billy Boyd has played Peregrin Took, better known as Pippin, the second chaotic hobbit who traveled with the Fellowship. Playful and party-loving, Pippin has had everyone laughing out loud with his “What about second breakfast?” scene.

After LOTR, Billy Boyd went on to appear in such films as Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Seed of Chucky. He has also appeared in TV shows like Outlander and The Witches of Oz. The actor is still active in the Lord of the Rings community, as he often attends comic conventions and other fan events.

Billy doesn’t only enjoy singing and dancing in the trilogy, but in real life as well. So now he is the Patron of the National Boys Choir of Scotland and a supporter for Nordoff Robbins. He has also shown his support for foundations like Cahonas Scotland, which provides help for men living with cancer and other life-limiting diseases, and Children in Need.

What Happened to Viggo Mortensen After Playing Aragorn?

Viggo Mortensen the actor and as Aragorn in LotR

Viggo Mortensen played Aragorn, the son of Arathorn, heir of Isildur, and eventual King of Gondor. 

Viggo isn’t fond of Hollywood blockbusters, opting instead for smaller, more prestigious films. He has been nominated three times as Best Actor, for Eastern Promises (2007), Captain Fantastic (2016) and Green Book (2018). 

In 2020, he made his feature directorial debut with Falling. Viggo is also set to appear in Crimes of the Future and Thirteen Lives.

As for his charity work, Viggo has made short films to support the Spirit Riders Foundation. He has also donated to charities like The Children’s Clinic in Watertown, Save the Chimps, Return to Freedom and Free Arts NYC.

What Happened to Andy Serkis After Playing Gollum?

Andy Serkis the actor and Gollum from LotR

Andy Serkis is the undisputed king of motion-capture technology. His portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings was not only memorable but ground-breaking.

Afterward, Serkis basically began taking over Hollywood. He joined the MCU as Ulysses Klaue; played Caesar in the Planet of the Apes films; portrayed Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi; and directed Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

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You can also watch Serkis in the role of Alfred Pennyworth in The Batman. In the near future we’ll see him in the psychological crime thriller series, Luther.

During the coronavirus lockdown, Serkis raised more than $350,000 by performing a live reading of The Hobbit. The money benefited NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, for which Serkis is an ambassador.

What Happened to Cate Blanchett After Playing Galadriel

Cate Blanchett played the ethereal beauty Galadriel, a powerful elf who encourages Frodo during the darkest moments of his journey.

The Lord of the Rings opened many doors for Cate as she went straight to Hollywood royalty. She has shown her versatility in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Cinderella, Carol, Thor: Ragnarok and Ocean’s 8. Cate took home two Oscars, in 2005 and 2014, for her roles in The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.

Cate more recently signed on to the Apple TV+ project Disclaimer. Not only will she star in the psychological thriller, she will also served as executive producer.

Despite her busy schedule, Cate finds time to help others. She was named global Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Refugee Agency in 2016. The actress visited refugees in Lebanon and helped raise awareness about this issue. She has also helped launch the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Who On Earth Cares campaign.

What Happened to Orlando Bloom After Playing Legolas

Orlando Bloom played Legolas, a prince of the elves’ Woodland Realm, a skilled archer and a reliable member of the Fellowship of the Ring.

He has appeared in some major movies, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Troy, Elizabethtown and The Three Musketeers. The actor is also passionate about theater, and in 2007 made his West End debut in a production of In Celebration. He later starred in a Broadway staging of Romeo and Juliet

Orlando notably returned to his role as Legolas in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films, despite the character never appearing in Tolkien’s book.

When he’s not on the movie set or on stage, Bloom often devotes his time to charities. He has been involved with UNICEF since 2007, and in 2009 he was made a Goodwill Ambassador. In 2017, the actor traveled to Niger, where hundreds of thousands of children have been affected by Boko Haram’s violence.

Orlando Bloom has supported many other causes, including the Red Cross, EB Medical Research Foundation, Free the Children and Peace First.

What Happened to John Rhys-Davies After Playing Gimli

John Rhys-Davies played Gimli, the brave, ax-wielding dwarf whose unrequited love for Galadriel will forever melt our hearts.

Following The Lord of the Rings, the veteran actor had a multitude of film credits, including Anaconda 3: Offspring, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and Aquaman. The Welsh actor has also been prolific on the small screen, making his appearance in series such as The Shannara Chronicles and Once Upon a Time. 

With one of the most recognizable voices in show business, John Rhys-Davies created ads for Hospice IOM, an independent charity that offers palliative care to patients living on the Isle of Man. In 2020, together with a large part of the LOTR cast, John joined Josh Gad’s YouTube series Reunited Apart, which promotes donations to non-profit charities.

What Happened to Christopher Lee After Playing Saruman

Sir Christopher Lee played Saruman the White, first of the order of Istari (Wizards). Although he was once a good and wise Wizard, Saruman was corrupted by Sauron’s influence.

Lee had a prolific career that spanned more than seven decades, but he will forever be remembered for playing Count Dracula, Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, and Saruman in LOTR. His final onscreen appearance was in 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Christopher Lee passed away on June 7, 2015, at age 93.

However, some may not be aware of the incredible life Lee lived outside of acting. During World War II, he was a flight lieutenant of the Royal Air Force and Special Forces. His accomplishments were finally recognized in 2009, when he was knighted for his services to drama and charity.

Lee has contributed to many noble causes. But, most of all, he was a well-known advocate for children’s basic needs. His efforts during UNICEF’s 2007 Child Survival Campaign are well noted.

Children are our future and what a disgrace it is that children are dying from poverty and hunger.

CHRISTOPHER LEE

What Happened to Sean Bean After Playing Boromir

Sean Bean played Boromi, a valiant warrior of Gondor who joined the Fellowship in its journey toward Mordor. Sadly, Boromir fell prey to the One Ring’s power, but ultimately died defending Merry and Pippin. 

After LOTR, Bean went on to star in a wide range of movies that include Troy, National Treasure and The Martian. In 2018, Bean won his first BAFTA Award for best actor in a lead role, for his work on the BBC series Broken. However, his highest-profile performance remains the one of Ned Stark in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones

When he’s not busy as a successful actor, Sean Bean is well known for supporting charities. The one that appears closest to his heart is The Sohana Trust for EB, which raises funds for Epidermolysis Bullosa research. However, the star has also donated money for the Dorset Wildlife Trust and for the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

In the past few years, Sean has attended the BGC Charity day, which aims to commemorate those lost on 9/11. All the funds raised at the event were donated to charities around the world.

What Happened to Hugo Weaving After Playing Elrond

Hugo Weaving played Elrond, ruler of Rivendell elves and the father of beautiful Arwen. While he cared a lot about the Fellowship’s goals, his primary concern was for the safety of his people.

We can’t talk about Hugo Weaving without mentioning his iconic role as Agent Smith in the Matrix franchise. However, the actor has been quite busy since The Lord of the Rings has ended. He starred in hits like V for Vendetta, Captain America: The First Avenger, Hacksaw Ridge and Cloud Atlas. The Nigerian-born Brit was also involved in occasional TV projects, such as Patrick Melrose.

The actor appears to be very involved in raising funds to protect our furry co-inhabitants. In 2004, Hugo became an ambassador for the Australian animal-rights organization called Voiceless. He was also a spokesman for the Epilepsy Foundation of Australia, as Weaving himself suffered from epilepsy as a teenager.

What Happened to Liv Tyler After Playing Arwen

Liv Tyler starred in the film trilogy as the elf maiden Arwen, who was prepared to give up her immortality to be with her love, Aragorn. 

Not long before The Lord of the Rings, Liv appeared in Armageddon, one of her most popular movies. After the trilogy, she played in a wide range of films, such as the romantic dramedy Jersey Girl and the horror flick The Strangers.

In 2014, Liv starred in the HBO series The Leftovers, and in 2020 she took on the role of Michelle Blake in 9-1-1: Lone Star.

Inspired by her idol, Audrey Hepburn, Liv became an ambassador for UNICEF. Angelina Jolie’s involvement in helping underprivileged children was also an inspiration. Aside from her contribution at UNICEF, Tyler has supported many other causes and foundations such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Food Bank for New York City, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

What Happened to Ian Holm After Playing Bilbo

Sir Ian Holm played Bilbo Baggins, the eccentric hobbit who adopted Frodo after the death of his parents. Bilbo became the “owner” of the One Ring after winning it from Gollum in a riddle game. He then passed it on to Frodo before leaving the Shire to settle with the elves in Rivendell.

Ian began his career on stage with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. He later became a prolific Hollywood actor known for his roles in Chariots of Fire and The Madness of King George. However, his highest-profile role remains that of Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.

After the trilogy, he went on to play Professor Fitz in The Aviator and voiced Chef Skinner in the 2007 animated movie, Ratatouille. Ian returned to the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and again in 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The latter was his final role.

Ian Holm passed away June 19, 2020, at age 88, but not before making his contribution to charity. Together with some fellow actors from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, he donated items to the Annos Africa Charity Auction to raise funds for disadvantaged children in Nairobi. 

Holm was known for being a generous man, but chose to remain anonymous almost every time.

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