20 years ago, The Lord of the Rings ruled them all.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring debuted around the world in December of 2001. Audiences showed up in droves. It was the second highest-grossing film of the year, and the fifth highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release. Later reissues have driven those numbers even higher.
The trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson and adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic novels, has stood the test of time. Two decades later, the films have remained in pop culture consciousness — and they continue to influence the film industry.
To celebrate the LOTR trilogy turning 20, let’s take a look at the stars and see what they’ve been doing since leaving Middle-earth.
Frodo Baggins, Played By Elijah Wood
A young hobbit of exceptional character from the Shire, Frodo Baggins was the main protagonist in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Kind and compassionate, he was curious about the world beyond the Shire. Frodo was chosen to lead the quest to destroy the One Ring. He became the next ring-bearer and set off with his best friend and gardener, Sam.
What Has Elijah Wood Been Doing Since LOTR?
After playing Frodo Baggins in the LOTR trilogy, actor Elijah Wood found a broad range of interesting acting roles and voice work. Wood really shined in well-received independent films, like Everything Is Illuminated, Celeste and Jesse Forever, and I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore. He also reprised the role of Frodo in 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Wood didn’t limit himself to the big screen. He starred in TV series like FX’s unusual Wilfred and BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. He also voiced Mumble in Happy Feet, along with characters in Star Wars Resistance, TRON: Uprising, Robot Chicken, and other projects.
Elijah Wood and his partner, Danish film producer Mette-Marie Kongsved, welcomed their first child together in 2019.
Samwise Gamgee, Played By Sean Astin
Samwise Gamgee was Frodo’s closest and most dependable companion from the Shire, but you can call him Sam. An ever-loyal friend, Sam managed to save Frodo’s life more than once during the quest to destroy the One Ring. He carried Frodo, both metaphorically and physically, when he struggled and was too weak to go on.
What Has Sean Astin Been Up to Since Fellowship?
Sean Astin reprised his role of Sam for the rest of the LOTR trilogy, which included 2002’s The Two Towers and 2003’s The Return of the King. But what has he been up to since then?
You have likely seen him as Bob Newby in the second and third seasons of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things or as Lynn McGill in Fox’s action drama 24. He also had roles in The Big Bang Theory, No Good Nick, and Supergirl, to name a few.
He’s also lent his voice to plenty of projects. He narrated the Animal Planet series Meerkat Manor. He voiced characters for The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Special Agent Oso, and the film Ribbit, among many other projects.
Astin has been married to his wife, Christine, since 1992. They live in Los Angeles with their three daughters.
Bilbo Baggins, Played By Sir Ian Holm
Bilbo Baggins was Frodo’s cousin and mentor. He adopted the young hobbit after Frodo was orphaned. He was also a ring-bearer. At Gandalf’s persuasion, he passed the ring to Frodo when he left the Shire for good. When he did so, he was the first to voluntarily give up the One Ring.
What has Sir Ian Holm Been Up to Since Fellowship?
Playing Bilbo Baggins in LOTR was one of Sir Ian Holm’s highest-profile roles. After returning for 2003’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, he was cast in movies like Garden State and The Aviator. Holm also voiced Chef Skinner in Ratatouille.
He again returned as Bilbo for 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Unfortunately, the actor died in 2020 at the age of 88.
Gandalf, Played By Sir Ian McKellen
The events of the LOTR trilogy were set in motion by Gandalf the Grey, one of the five great Wizards in Middle-earth. He’s more powerful than most hobbits could imagine, but he is also wise, kind, and generous. Gandalf sends Frodo and Sam on the dangerous quest to destroy the One Ring.
Where Have We Seen Sir Ian McKellen Since LOTR?
Marvel fans will immediately recognize Sir Ian McKellen thanks to his role as Magneto in the X-Men franchise. But McKellen is widely regarded as one of the greatest living actors, so he’s done plenty over the years, both before and after The Fellowship of the Ring. More recently, he played Cogsworth in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast.
McKellen doesn’t stick to the screen, either. He’s been a notable stage actor for decades. His performance as Shakespeare’s King Lear in recent years was called “spellbinding” and “magnificent” by critics. It was the second time he played Lear, having first done it in Trevor Nunn’s 2007 Royal Shakespeare Company production.
In 2012, McKellen revealed he had been privately battling prostate cancer for several years. During an interview, he assured fans, “I am examined regularly, and it’s just contained, it’s not spreading.”
Legolas, Played By Orlando Bloom
Legolas was an elf from Mirkwood who was a master of the bow and arrow. He was invaluable to the Fellowship in their journey, thanks to his keen eyesight, sensitive hearing, and bowmanship. Despite the long-held differences between elves and dwarfs, he and Gimli become friends.
What Has Orlando Bloom Been Doing Since Fellowship?
The same year that Orlando Bloom reprised his role as Legolas in The Return of the King, he also played Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. He has gone on to star in multiple movies in the Pirates franchise. He also came back as Legolas for The Hobbit film series. Outside of those franchises, Bloom has starred in movies like Troy, Elizabethtown, and The Outpost.
Bloom stepped off-screen and onto the stage when he made his professional stage debut at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End in 2007. He also starred in a Broadway adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 2013.
Bloom and his partner, pop star Katy Perry, welcomed their daughter in 2020. He also has a son with his ex-wife, Miranda Kerr.
Aragorn, Played By Viggo Mortensen
Aragorn was the heir of Isildur and one of the few from the great race of Numenor left in Middle-earth. Although he was raised by the elves of Rivendell, he later rejoined his people as the leader of the Rangers of the North. He was also a confidant of Gandalf and an integral part of the quest to destroy the One Ring.
What Has Viggo Mortensen Been Up to Since Fellowship?
Viggo Mortensen has received various accolades and appeared in several notable films before playing Aragorn in LOTR. However, the trilogy did gain him international attention. He went on to pick up nominations for both Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards for films like A History of Violence, A Dangerous Method, Captain Fantastic, and Green Book.
Outside of acting, Mortensen has a strong interest in other forms of art. In 2002, he founded the Perceval Press to publish work from little-known artists and authors that might otherwise go unnoticed. They specialize in books of art, critical writing, and poetry.
Arwen, Played By Liv Tyler
Arwen is the daughter of Elrond Halfelven, the Master of Rivendell. Despite the objections of her father, she was willing to give up her immortality for her love, Aragorn.
Where Have We Seen Liv Tyler Since Fellowship?
Although Liv Tyler already had plenty of acting roles under her belt by the time she appeared in The Fellowship of the Ring, she went on to appear in a variety of projects following the success of the trilogy. You’ve seen her in films like Jersey Girl, The Incredible Hulk, The Strangers, and Wildling. She’s also starred in TV series The Leftovers, Harlots, and 9-1-1: Lone Star.
She’s also a singer, which should come as no surprise considering her dad is Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. She has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the U.S. since 2003, and she’s a spokesperson for Givenchy.
Tyler has two children with partner David Gardner, a son named Sailor Gene and a daughter named Lula Rose.
Galadriel, Played By Cate Blanchett
Galadriel is an elf that bears one of the Elven Rings of Power. There is none other who possesses the beauty, knowledge, and power that Galadriel wields. She offers spiritual aid to Frodo, gives counsel, and encourages him during dark moments of his quest.
What Has Cate Blanchett Been Up to Since LOTR?
Cate Blanchett was already an acclaimed actress before Fellowship. Following the LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, she has since ranked among the world’s highest-paid actresses. You can catch her in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Thor: Ragnarok, and Ocean’s 8, just to name a few of her highest-grossing films.
She has performed in over 20 theatre productions, too. She and her husband, playwright Andrew Upton, served as artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company from 2008 to 2013. She also made her Broadway debut in 2017 with The Present.
Boromir, Played By Sean Bean
Boromir was a valiant and admired warrior of Gondor who joined the Fellowship in the journey toward Mordor. He fell prey to the Ring’s power and tried to take the Ring from Frodo by force.
What Has Sean Bean Been Doing Since Fellowship?
You’ll find actor Sean Bean in a variety of films, like National Treasure, Troy, Silent Hill, and The Martian. But you’ll likely recognize him as Ned Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones! He has also lent his voice to video games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.
Bean has been married a total of five times and is currently married to Ashley Moore. He has three children from his second and third marriages and now has four grandchildren.
Gimli, Played By John Rhys-Davies
Gimli was the ax-wielding bearded dwarf who fell in love with Galadriel – and who could blame him? He was the only dwarf ready to fight alongside elves in the war against Sauron, and became great friends with Legolas, despite the long-held grudge between dwarves and elves.
What Has John Rhys-Davies Been Up to Since LOTR?
Post Fellowship, John Rhys-Davies has racked up plenty of film credits: Aquaman, Anaconda 3: Offspring, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. You’ll also find him on the small screen, appearing on shows like Once Upon a Time, and lending his voice to the likes of Spongebob Squarepants and The Adventures of Puss In Boots.
Rhys-Davies is married to New Zealand TV journalist Lisa Manning, and they have a daughter together. They split their time between homes in Waikato in NZ and the Isle of Man in the UK.