Lord of the Rings Extended Edition TikTok memes are amazing and explode


The Fellowship of the Ring will hit theaters on December 18, 2001. But there might be an even bigger anniversary for fans who love the film: November 12, 2002. This is, of course, when The Fellowship of the Ring: Special Extended Edition DVD box set hit stores.

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Lord of the Rings films, and we couldn’t imagine exploring the trilogy in just one story. So, every Wednesday of the year, we’ll be going back and forth again, examining how and why movies have remained modern classics. This is the year of the Polygon ring.

Followed by The two towers and The king’s return box sets, the Lord of the Rings trilogy supplemental content catalog mirrored the films themselves; a massive effort of hundreds of creatives, finally getting the full documentation they deserved. The final tally scored 43 documentaries, nine image galleries, 12 commentary tracks, dozens of interactive maps, feature stories, original artwork, and 30-50 minutes of additional footage added with each extended edition of the films. .

That was 20 years ago, but the story of the making of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is still being told. On TikTok, viral sketches, memes, and audio clips refer to content that you would only find if you spent long hours spending long hours studying every interview and armor scheme available on the edition’s discs. special. Until “Do you wear wigs?” Memes on your FYP. And as the prolific creators of TolkienTok – that is, the Tolkien-loving TikTok community – tell Polygon, audiences’ relationship to Extended Edition DVDs is changing the way Tolkien’s fandom communicates.

Ultra-specific content delivery is, of course, TikTok which works as expected. But ironically, community targeting can sometimes be quite isolating. What appears to be an audio trend may actually be just 20 videos that TikTok handed to you and yourself, pushing you deeper and deeper into the hole in the mountain of social media that’s just your size.

But “Lord of the Rings Watch Party Hotline,” a video by Don Marshall (aka “Obscure LotR Facts Guy”) is a real Tiktok hit, inside and outside of TolkienTok. In it, Marshall acts as the gracious representative of a collect call service that gives LOTR super-fans a safe place to spit fun facts about the movies at him instead of their unsuspecting Normie friends.

Marshall remembers originally writing the track with a specific scene in mind: the classic “Did You Know?” »Fun fact of The two towers, which includes real footage of Viggo Mortensen breaking two toes after kicking a helmet while portraying Aragorn’s grief. The impulse to announce that “Viggo actually broke his toes over there” is well known within the fandom, to the point where Marshall actually rewrote the original idea so that it didn’t speak so specifically. of Mortensen’s injury. This ultimately made the video much more shareable – some duets made with it racked up millions of views. With dozens and dozens of enthusiasts citing different cinematic facts, the video has become a collective dump valve in action.

“I think my family and I collectively spent more time watching behind the scenes of these films than any other form of entertainment in the 2000s,” recalls Marshall. He notes that the Extended Editions suit TikTok’s sensitivity to quick news and storytelling perfectly: “So many people look at things like costumes and say ‘they’re so complex’, but half of the things you don’t. don’t do “I can’t even see. You don’t have to be a fan to be interested in the intimate details.

“The best thing I think about TikTok is how universal something can be, even though it is so specific.

An infamous video of Dominic Monaghan joking Elijah Wood during the press tour for The king’s return is kind of a niche joke among moviegoers, only available in a hidden button on the extended DVD set. But when do you wear wigs? Was uploaded to TikTok for modern fans to enjoy, the audio turned into a meme format, commonly used as a shorthand for “Do you ___? “No I do not.” (Or just cosplayers showing off their wigs.) The results were over 3,000 videos, with millions of views.

On TikTok, communities are built with engagement, not just views. Tolkien mega-fan user Knewbettadobetta joined TikTok just as something to do, and was surprised not to find many Lord of the Rings creators at first. We had to create our own Tolkien content to teach the algorithm to bring it to TolkienTok: “I was looking for [Tolkien fans], and that didn’t put me on the algorithm; but once I started talking about it, and people started telling me about it, and they were sharing my stuff with the people from TolkienTok, so boom, I locked myself in.

Knewbettadobetta’s TikTok draws significantly on the tradition of the book and sees its content as a gateway for moviegoers to enter Tolkien’s fandom fold. It specifically recalls how even the smallest chunks of Extended Edition content can reveal a creator’s devotion to being true to the book, including tiny moments found only if you have the subtitles.

In September, TikTok user @Cavatica discovered something interesting while watching The Fellowship of the Ring with the caption: “They’re passing over Caradhras, and you see Saruman reciting spells to create the storm, and Gandalf try to counter the spell. [The subtitles say that] Gandalf speaks Sindarin, and you see that Saruman speaks Quenya. Knewbettadobetta wasted no time playing a duet with his own theories. “It’s huge – they’re not saying they just * speak elvish * …. Saruman is haughty and arrogant and tries to speak the language of the mightiest elves, while Gandalf is more of the common man, speaking the language of the people. Stuff like that, it’s amazing.

Gandalf and Saroumane roam the gardens of Orthanc in The Community of the Ring.

Image: New cinema line

The way Tolkien’s fandom consumes content goes hand in hand with how the fandom itself has changed over the years, and some TolkienTok creators are becoming popular by helping other fans see themselves in the work. WizardWayKris, which uses the pronouns she and they, is a creator of TolkienTok that mainly focuses on Elves and the Elvish language. For them, the extended edition content reinforces their devotion to Tolkien’s language and traditions, while giving him the opportunity to create moments of inclusion.

“Art is created by those who consume it; we, as consumers, bring our own goal. When we experience fandom and canon, we take away things that maybe weren’t important to other people, ”WizardWayKris told ServerPlay, particularly noting one scene in the Fellowship Extended Edition comments. Sir Ian McKellan recounts how he pointed out to Elijah Wood and Sean Astin that Tolkien’s inclusion of Sam holding Frodo’s hand while in bed was very important to some gay readers, and that it was vital to s ensure that this moment is seen on screen. As a non-binary trans creator, WizardWayKris says that “myself existing as a creator in this space helps open it up to those people who would say” this is just subtext, no one is actually saying these things ” . ” For many, the subtext is increasingly text in Tolkien’s modern fandom.

One element of TikTok Extended Edition that cannot be ignored is the myriad of videos that are just downloads from the documentaries themselves. And while it might not be up to copyright law standards, it can’t be ignored that for many young fans who don’t own a DVD player, TikTok might be the only place they’d see this. contents.

Frodo and Sam exchange a look during Elrond's Council in The Fellowship of the Ring.

Image: New cinema line

While Extended Editions are considered a gospel among fans, the switch to physical media has sounded the death knell for the bonus industry. Viewers of the all-access pass to the creation of the modern blockbuster seemed doomed to become a fond memory. Unless Weta Workshops or Peter Jackson stream cash-in, Extended Editions may well fall victim to the coming digital archiving crisis.

For his part, Don Marshall told Gameserver that he intends to launch a popular Snyderverse-style campaign to get an even longer version of the Extended Editions. Whether this TikTok subsection will grow or just continue as a hyper-specific personal internet blip remains to be seen.

But in any case, TolkienTok gives users a sense of validation that only the best kind of nerd spaces provide – that the knowledge that is important to you, whatever their niche, is valuable and relevant to someone. And thanks to TikTok, it may be easier to find that person than ever.

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