Joram over at Ringbearer mentioned that he would break out Photoshop and look at this picture with greater detail. I decided to give it a whorl as well and see what I came up with.
Before we get into the analysis of the picture, let’s look at what we know already. The first piece of information that we know is that Sir Ian McKellen was heading back to New Zealand after the winter break (remember New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere where winter is in July) to work on filming the Balrog scene. Another thing we know is that just a few days ago it came out that they were filming the flotsam and jetsam left in the wake of the destruction of Orthanc. In this description of the filming we heard they had a giant metal spiky wheel.
The last piece of information I want to mention was the official casting information for Saruman:
Now we take a look at the article that is claiming that we have a dead Gandalf on our hands. The only pieces of evidence that point to this being true is we know Gandalf ‘dies’ in the books and we have a ‘dead’ old guy.
This old guy presents several problems. The first problem we are presented with is the color of his robe. It is white. Now I know that lenses can change all that. It should also be noted that this scene is being shot with a blue screen. Because of this we know that it will be digitally enhanced. Many have not seen the following picture. The attached picture is from the ShowWest footage and shows Christopher Lee as Saruman. This picture was posted at www.theonering.net by Ciggy several months back.
Now let’s take a look at the picture we have at on hand. The first thing I noticed when I zoomed in on the picture was that the wizard has long white hair along with a white beard. Again I ask the question; who is this? When Gandalf dies, he is not Gandalf the White, but Gandalf the Grey.
What is that Behind the Old Guy?
To tell you the truth I have no idea what it is we are looking at. Will Michael Martinez from Xenite.org finally have his Ent? This looks like nothing I have seen before. What are your ideas?
So in the final analysis, what do we have? If this is Gandalf, why is he white? If this is Gandalf, why is he dying on a spike that was also used in the filming of the destruction of Orthanc? The evidence of the white robe, combined with the evidence of the spiked wheel, followed with the evidence that Saruman is not in the third movie, leads me to conclude that we have a dead Saruman on our hands. This jives with what we have heard about Grima’s character coming to conclusion in the second movie as well.
If this is the case, what does this do for the Scouring of the Shire? Will we still have it minus one burned out wizard and his trusty sidekick? The scouring can still be in without Saruman; it will have a different flavor.
I guess in all this my biggest question does not center on Gandalf or Saruman. My question centers around what the heck is that looking at the old man strapped to the spiky wheel? Is it an Ent, an Orc, a Uruk-Hai, or is it the Balrog? If it is the Balrog, he doesn’t have wings. If it is an Orc or an Uruk-Hai, what are those green things? And finally if it is an Ent, why is it so small, perhaps a Huorn?
As with many things about these films, we are left with more questions than answers.