This is an almost complete version of the White Council scene that I wanted to get feedback on from you all. The White Council scene is a point of contention for a lot of people; some believing it to be necessary and a nice embellishment of the story, whilst others find it distracting and tonally inconsistent with the main narrative. Unhelpfully, I’m kind of in both camps.
First and foremost, I will address my changes and alterations before elaborating on my thoughts. The first change here the change of subtitles for Galadriel and Gandalf. My intention with this edit is to be as true to the lore as possible (whilst not compromising the integrity and visual quality of the film) and as it stood in the original film, the White Council scene played very fast and loose with the events and histories and in some respects, creating events entirely out of thin air. This messes with the time frame and dates and events get muddied as a result. Galadriel’s original opening line is ‘It has been a long time’, referring to the fact it has been a long time since she’s seen Gandalf. But in canon, the previous White Council was held roughly 100 years previous, and as we know ‘100 years is a mere blink in the life of an Elf’ and certainly one as old as Galadriel. Even to Gandalf who is a Maia it would be no time at all really. This had to be changed but I also had to be mindful that Gandalf’s reply would still have to be some kind of compliment to her based on the actors’ expressions. Also, Gandalf’s original reply is ‘Age may have changed me’ which is a little misleading. Gandalf does age albeit incredibly slowly, and wouldn’t have aged considerably in just a mere 100 years. He also arrived at Middle-Earth in the guise of an old man so this never made much sense to me.
Another thing in the original film is that Gandalf and the council are only at this moment discovering and investigating the Necromancer and it’s still a very new thing for them all. But this conflicts with previous events that are mentioned such as the Watchful Peace etc. As such, I wanted to be as accurate to the lore as possible and show Gandalf’s previous journey into Dol Guldur where he first confirmed that the Necromancer was Sauron. Saruman himself convened this council with a decision to attack Dol Guldur so that he himself would be able to find the One Ring unhindered. The scene in the original film follows much closely the meeting that was convened 100 years previously as opposed to the one where Saruman eventually relents.
After watching through my edit, the film has a great pace right up until this scene and the tone does drastically change. We feel Bilbo’s absence and the tonal shift is incredibly apparent. That being said, it is in the book and is mentioned and does provide a reason as to why Gandalf isn’t present until he shows up to save them at Goblin-town. It also sets up the Necromancer for later scenes where we see Bolg speak with him which without context would make no sense. I have edited a scene before where right after this we cut to the scene of Bilbo with the shards of Narsil and the Sauron painting. I feel that scene helps smooth the transition from the White Council scene back to Bilbo whilst still keeping the tone dark and brooding. I eventually decided to remove it because of the huge call back to LOTR which I am trying to lessen as much as possible. I’m very torn on the scene as I think it is necessary for this take on the film and it’s always great seeing these actors play these characters, but it does harm the pace ever so slightly, despite being considerably shorter than the original version of this scene.
Any feedback would be appreciated!