The LOTR Movie Site
July 12, 2000

Why Cut Bombadil?

It has been made clear that in the upcoming Tolkien video that the character Tom Bombadil will be cut. I am just wondering why. Perhaps the makers of the movie believe that JRR Tolkien wasn’t quite as smart as them, or that making an accurate film isn’t as important as making one that will make money.

Maybe the makers of the movie are worried that Tom will eventually come out as comic relief. And for any Star Wars fans, the words comic relief are inevitably associated with three terrible words: Jar Jar Binks. Comic Relief never really works in serious film, and Bombadil might would look out of place.

Although Bombadil in not a main character, I am interested as to how to make an accurate version without him. Without Bombadil, how can you portray Old Man Willow or the Barrow Downs? And without the Barrow Downs and Old Man Willow, how can you get a feel for the Old Forest. And as Dave M. points out, without the Barrows, how do the Hobbits come by the blades of Westernese, and without the Blades of Westernese, how does the Nazgul Lord get so cut up? I can’t imagine Merry stabbing the Nazgul Lord with a butter knife. Also, Bombadil comes up a bit in The Council of Elrond. And when the Hobbits are coming into the Old Forest on the way back, Gandalf leaves them to go talk to Bombadil. What will Gandalf say, "uhh, nice trip guys, but I’m going back, got some things to do."

For every character in Tokien you can categorize, except Bombadil. All we have is mysterious quotes like, "...last as he was first...". This may make him out of place, but I think it adds to the mystery and fascination, the sense of a far away place, a long time ago. Who knows what Tolkien was thinking when he created Bombadil, but the point is he did, so Bombadil should stay in.

Tolkiens works are some of the best ever, and when you start to compromise between what Tolkien wrote, and what will sell, I think you’ve already missed the point. If the makers of this film chose to make it a typical glamourous Hollywood version of it, then that’s fine. I just won’t go to see it.