What editions are available?
- Theatrical Cut (201 min.)
- Extended Edition (265 min.)
For many years the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy have been among the most beloved longer cuts of movies, and for many the only true way to view the fantasy epic. Writer-director Peter Jackson went out of his way to make the extended editions on DVD and Blu-ray a must own for every film fan with excellent packaging, tremendous behind the scenes featurettes and meticulous documentaries.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is available on DVD and Blu-ray in separate editions that include the theatrical cut and the extended edition. Only a limited edition DVD included both cuts. IGN interviewed Jackson when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was being released in theaters in December 2003 where he was asked about the extended editions:
IGN: What happens on the extended version of this one [The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]?
Peter Jackson: The extended versions are interesting because I do the extended versions for the fans, really. To me every time I put a scene in it, it’s mucking up the momentum. The theatrical versions are very carefully worked out. We spent a whole year trying to get the best possible cut. I do the extended cuts because we have 30-40 minutes of footage that people are interested in, fans of the books.
IGN: What’s the definitive version of these films?
JACKSON: The theatrical versions are the definitive versions. I regard the extended cuts as being a novelty for the fans that really want to see the extra material.
Source: Interview: Peter Jackson, IGN in December 2003
The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut