Who Could Play This Merry Fellow? Dreamcasting Tom Bombadil


We were discussing Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, and arguing the relative merits of the Extended Editions versus the Theatrical Releases. (Leah prefers Extended, Emily prefers Theatrical. We’re both correct.) Emily pointed out that there should have been a DVD extra of Bombadil material, and then, naturally, that led to a dreamcasting of Bombadil. We gave ourselves a few restrictions—these had to be people who would have fit the role in 1999-ish, when they would have been hired for The Fellowship of the Ring, and all of the actors have been cast on the assumption that supermodel Claudia Schiffer is playing Goldberry…

So, hey! Come derry dol! Hop along, my hearties! Hobbits! Ponies all! Tor.com readers! We are fond of parties. Now let the fun begin! Let us sing together… or at least take a look at our picks, and tell us yours in the comments.


John Hurt

John Hurt

Leah: But only if he wore this exact mustache.

Emily: The fact that John Hurt wasn’t in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is just plain weird in the first place. So this would be a pretty great place to make up for that mishap.


Anthony Stewart Head

Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles

Leah: He didn’t get to do pure whimsy often enough on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Plus the man looks great in a pointy hat.

Emily: He was “good dad figure” on Buffy and “bad dad figure” on Merlin. Let’s watch him play “super high uncle”!




He’s glowing because Orcs are near.

Leah: Just imagine this fucker with a lute singing all of the Tom Bombadil’s songs.

Emily: I wonder if they would all end up sounding like “Desert Rose.” (Leah and I discovered that we both un-ironically love that song while writing this. We’re going to weave some amazing friendship bracelets over that.)


Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins in Hook (Photo by SNAP/REX)

Leah: OK, we know, this one is sad. But Hoskins could have added some real weight to the role, an undercurrent that lets you know just how ancient Old Tom actually is.

Emily: He’s also got that instant-lovability factor.


Robin Williams

Robin Williams in What Dreams May Come

Leah: OK, we know, this is also sad. But imagine what Williams could have done with the role if Jackson had reigned him in just a little.

Emily: Yeah, if you prevent him from riffing too much, it wouldn’t be quite so obvious that you were watching Robin Williams first and foremost, and he has the right kind of impishness.


Jim Broadbent

Jim Broadbbent in "And When Did You Last See Your Father?"

Leah: He’s so twinkly!

Emily: And he could play Tom with—say it with us—A GREAT BIG BUSHY BEARD!


Any Python Excluding John Cleese

Monty Python

Emily: Cleese is out on this.

Leah: Sorry John Cleese, but you’re too tall and shouty to play Tom Bombadil. Everybody else would be perfect though, especially…


Terry Gilliam


Emily: So. Perfect.

Leah: Here is a recording of Terry Gilliam’s laugh. He may actually be Tom Bombadil. But after much contemplation, we came to maybe our absolute top pick:


Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly

Leah: Tom Bombadil would have allowed Billy Connolly to use all of his manic good humor/sudden whimsical rage muscles.

Emily: I feel like if anyone must have a Scottish accent in Middle-earth, it’s Tom Bombadil. Also, Billy Connolly should be in everything.


So these are our picks! Who do you think would have made a bomb-ass Bombadil? Post your picks in the comments below, and in the meantime, sing along with Tom:

There’s also this song by Alan Horvath, if you need even more Bombadilling. (And who doesn’t?)

This post was originally published August 2016.


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