Peter Jackson reveals origins of iconic Sean Bean Mordor meme from 'Lord of the Rings'

Sean Bean in Lord of the Rings (Credit: New Line)
Sean Bean in Lord of the Rings (Credit: New Line)

As iconic memes go, Sean Bean's discussion of how 'one does not simply walk into Mordor' in The Fellowship of the Ring has to be an all-time top 10.

It's been adapted countless times, Boromir's cavalier expression given up to all manner of different subject matter.

How it came about, however, has now been revealed by director Peter Jackson – and it was all down to the late arrival of the day's script.

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Jackson took part in actor Josh Gad's latest online reunion yesterday, along with Bean, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Sir Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, Miranda Otto, John Ryhs-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Karl Urban and Andy Serkis, along with Jackson's co-writer Philippa Boyens.


“That entire speech that Sean had to deliver at the council of Elrond was written the night before,” explains Jackson.

“We gave it to Sean the morning he arrived. What Sean did, which I thought was very clever, is he got a printout of the speech taped to his knee. When he did that scene, you'll see.”

So that downward-looking exasperation, as he holds his head, is all because he'd only just got the new script, and was yet to commit it to memory.

(Credit: New Line)
(Credit: New Line)

And so, a meme was born.

While the cast chatted about old times, comparing tattoos (Sir Ian McKellen reveals his Elvish tattoo reads 'Gucci' upside down) and whatnot, Astin also recited some dialogue from the script which seems notably prescient.

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“Elijah, there's just a couple of words before yours that seem relevant in the COVID world,” Astin said.

“In the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day must come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer ... There's some good left in this world, and it's worth fighting for.”

It's the fourth Reunited Apart event that Gad has hosted, the previous reunions bringing together the casts of The Goonies, Splash and Back To The Future, with the likes of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg getting involved.

Yesterday’s LOTR reunion raised more than $50,000 from fans, and received a massive $1.3 million donation from Cheerios for the No Kid Hungry charity.