The LOTR Movie Site
November 13, 1999

Essay on the Bombadil Situation
David Bass

When I first heard the supposed rumor that the unique character of Tom Bombadil might be cut from the new LOTR movies, per Peter Jackson’s instructions, I was immediately against this preposterous idea. With the changes to Arwen’s character, I was starting to have my doubts that Jackson was going to go through on his word to remain loyal to Tolkien’s original plot and idealism. I understand that a producer has to slightly shift the plot of any book in order to make it suitable for the big screen, it’s inevitable, but it’s apparent to me now that he’s going much further than he should be. Editing out Tom Bombadil would not only cut about one fourth of "The Fellowship of the Ring", but would also delete one of the most singular characters Tolkien ever created.

Let’s take a look at exactly what would be withdrawn from the script if they took out Bombadil. First, when Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Marry leave Crickhollow on their way to Bree, would they immediately skip past The Old Forest, Bombadil’s house, the Barrow-Downs, and all of the adventures that befall the heroes through all of that land? I’m sure that none of us want to see the well known pattern that Bakshi took in his excuse for a LOTR cartoon. When I first watched the Bakshi version, I was surprised to see that the Hobbits got all the way from Hobbiton to Bree in about 20 seconds of film time. Is this what will happen if Tom Bombadil is cut out of the script? I sure hope not, but I wouldn’t put anything past the producer.

If Jackson does decide to keep The Old Forest in the movie, how in the name of all that is holy are Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Marry supposed to escape from Old Man Willow? The forest seems to have a very profound effect on anyone who travels through it, and if Jackson wants to make that part of the film of any interest, he’ll have to rewrite what Tolkien wrote and make up some other adventure that the four have. Maybe they could see another black rider? By this time, however, that might be running a little thin since we’ve seen them all over the place for the last 30 minutes.

Okay, let’s assume that everyone makes it out of The Old Forest by some stroke of luck. We skip Tom Bombadil’s house since he doesn’t exists, and go right to the Barrow-Downs. Again, how are they supposed to be rescued if there is no Tom Bombadil to save them? I suppose that Peter Jackson will have to make that section of the movie a bore as well. I’m not sure how they’ll make the first movie two hours long if they cut out Tom Bombadil. I’m sorry, Mr. Jackson; but it just doesn’t work. Another good thing to point out is that Goldberry will be taken out along with Bombadil. We’ve already heard the rumors that Eowyn may be leaving; do you want to see Goldberry go too? I sure don’t.

It’s very obvious that they’ll have to cut a lot of the time and magic out of "The Fellowship of the Ring" if they take Bombadil out. I understand that Jackson might want to take out a few characters in order to shorten the complex story, but if he must do that, why doesn’t he take out a very small role like Bill Ferny? That wouldn’t effect the story much, but at least they wouldn’t have to explain anything about him. Maybe they could make the Innkeeper a double agent or something like that?

Anyway, I truly hope that Jackson changes his mind about cutting out Tom Bombadil from the movies. If they do go through with it, then it will be a loss to say the least. I don’t know of anyone, who would be glad to see Bombadil go, so I’m not sure what logic Peter Jackson is working on here. Maybe it’s something about his budget, but when you got 120,000,000.00, you can do stuff, okay? Please spare us, Mr. Jackson, and keep with Tolkien’s original characters.