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The true message behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy, according to Gimli himself John Rhys-Davies

Speaking to a crowd at Megacon 2024, John Rhys-Davies shares his experience making the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and his thoughts on the franchise’s message.

Lord of the Rings
Image credit: New Line Cinema

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John Rhys-Davies spent 438 days on Middle Earth, and he has no regrets.

The award-winning Welsh actor played Gimli in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. All three entries of the fantasy trilogy were filmed back-to-back, which meant that Rhys-Davies was on set for over a year. However, the actor still counts the production as one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

During a spotlight panel at Megacon 2024, Rhys-Davies was asked if he would do something like Lord of the Rings again, despite how long and tiring it was. “Would I do something like that again? Yes, of course. Great cast, great crew, superb direction, wonderful writers, and one of the great film experiences of my life.”

Rhys-Davies also reminisced about the relationship he had with his costar Orlando Bloom. “When we first use to do these conventions, I would always have a little girl in the audience who would get up and say, ‘Um John, did you and Orly hang out a lot together?’ I would have to try to explain that he was 20 and I was 53. Orlando was magical in that. He is magical.”

One fan brought up the message of friendship triumphing over evil in the trilogy, which caused Rhys-Davies to speak about what the story means to him. “The point that you made about Lord of the Rings being about the fight against evil is so important. Tolkien knew what evil was. Evil was German militarism that was going to conquer the world. That’s what he had to fight for. His point is that peace may come, but at that some point your civilization will be challenged, and if you do not rise to meet that challenge, you will lose your civilization.”

That’s a lot to chew on. In many ways, we’re all students of Tolkien, even the actors who have portrayed his characters.

You can watch John Rhys-Davies reunite with his Lord of the Rings colleagues including Elijah Wood and Sean Astin live in our livestream of the cast reunion at Seattle's Emerald City Comic Con 2024.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.