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The extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies has a scene depicting the funeral of Thorin, Fili, and Kili. Here's the scene:

I really don't understand the rationale for leaving this scene out of the theatrical release because it seems to tie up plot threads that are otherwise left dangling. Mainly, it shows us that Dain becomes King Under the Mountain and that the Arkenstone is buried with Thorin. It also gives us shots of individual members of Thorin's Company grieving which adds a little character depth.

Did we ever find out why Peter Jackson and Co. decided to leave this scene for the extended edition only?

  • 1
    Because who cares what happens to the shiny MacGuffin? Only.obsessives who already know the answer. – Valorum Feb 21 '17 at 18:21
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    @Valorum According to the movies, that shiny MacGuffin bestows upon the king the "right to rule." The last we saw of the Arkenstone, I think Bard had it? Without this scene, it would be reasonable to conclude that Bard is going to be the new King Under the Mountain. There's no sense of a dwarven kingdom being established without this scene -- which was the point (in the movies) of this whole trek across Middle-earth. Sure, we see the Company hanging out in the doorway, but we don't know if the other dwarves just went back to the Iron Hills or mostly died in the battle or stayed. – robopuppy Feb 21 '17 at 18:52
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From the Director's commentary, we learn that the funeral scene was was removed for pacing reasons and because the scene was largely redundant.

Jackson: Here's the last sequence in the extended cut that is a new addition to the 'extended' and that's this funeral scene. We took it out of the 'theatrical' again for pacing reasons and we felt that we had, in a powerful way, said our farewells to Thorin and we felt that we didn't really need it

As to why it was then re-added, that's answered in the very next breath.

Jackson: Since we shot it and I think it is such a touching scene, it's nice to put it here in the cut and I'm glad that it's made it's way back into the film.

  • Thanks! With the explanation being "pacing" I'm now thinking that perhaps PJ took all those complaints about LOTR having 7 endings a little too much to heart. – robopuppy Feb 23 '17 at 13:14
  • @robopuppy - The extended edition is very bloated. The problem with including the funeral scene is that you now have to explain how much time has passed, which then lowers the emotional impact of the "goodbye" scene that follows. – Valorum Feb 23 '17 at 13:16
  • @robopuppy - He also needed to remove almost an hour of footage for the theatrical cut. I suspect that they also wanted to save some good stuff specifically for the Extended Edition which is why they paid for the effects to be added. – Valorum Feb 23 '17 at 13:18
  • I find the goodbye scene more emotional with the funeral left in. I mean, if the idea is to actually get the run time of the theatrical version down, then I think there are tons of places in this movie where they could have cut 2 minutes that would have been better than removing this scene -- anything with that Wormtongue-lite character, for example, or Legolas's more ridiculous stunts. – robopuppy Feb 23 '17 at 13:36
  • I suspect you are right about leaving good stuff for the Extended Edition. This is, imo, the best added scene in the Extended Edition -- and there aren't that many good ones. – robopuppy Feb 23 '17 at 13:40
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I don't know if Jackson has discussed this himself, but Richard Armitage (who played Thorin) has been asked this a couple of times, and provides his thoughts in, for example, a 2015 interview with Yahoo Movies:

Why do you think these scenes were cut? For length?

Partly that, but sometimes you can repeat themes. There were a lot of characters who had to finish of their stories, for example the Tauriel/Thranduil storyline had to finish. Playing a funeral scene on top of that is just overloading the end of the movie so to be honest I wasn’t disappointed that it got cut. The end of the film felt right without it.

Say what you will about the emotional poignancy of the scene, but it's not actually very important to the narrative, or to any of the main character arcs. The Hobbit is principally a story about Bilbo, and Thorin's funeral doesn't advance his story in any meaningful way. Nor does it really advance the stories of Tauriel or Legolas (the main tertiary arcs).

It does serve to conclude the story of Thorin, the secondary character arc of the series, but his death is established in an earlier scene (which was added in response to this scene being cut, as Armitage mentions earlier in the same interview):

I know that when the decision was made to take that out of the final movie was made [sic] there was a little scene added where you see the dwarves on the waterfall and they kneel around the dead body. That was an addition because the funeral was cut.

Thorin's arc is adequately closed with the scene they added; I'm not going to argue that the funeral wouldn't have been a better way to end his story1, but it's not an unreasonable trade-off, given the requirements of the other stories.

Aside from that, it mainly serves to resolve some unanswered continuity questions (as you point out in your question) that aren't, ultimately, that interesting, except to the kind of obsessive loons who buy the extended editions.


1 Which is probably why the scene was restored for the extended edition

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