Skip to content

Bonus Features: What ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans need to know about the ‘Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition’

It seems like less than a year since we were last talking about “Lord of the Rings” on 4K Ultra HD. Oh wait – that’s because it was.

Less than 12 months ago, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment first launched Peter Jackson’s epic “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies in updated 4K quality last December in two separate packages. We broke it all down then, and now we’re back to talk through the latest release for the beloved franchise: the “Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition.”

The whopping 31-disc set was hyped as the crowned jewel for a franchise that’s seen more than a handful of home releases in a number of formats – but is the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” the one set to rule them all? For a whopping $249.99, it better be.

Let’s take a look at everything it has to offer.

What’s Inside?

First things first, if it were up to looks alone , the”Ultimate Collector’s Edition” would easily earn that title. The discs come in a beautiful, customizable box set that allows fans to have a number of ways to display the collection. The box is foldable with magnets included in the packaging to allow it to snap into the desired position.

However, it’s what’s inside of that box that really matters. Each film is packaged in its own individual case and sleeve, containing both the 4K Ultra HD versions and the Blu-ray versions of both the theatrical and extended cuts.

Here’s what makes up the 31 discs:

  • Disc 1 – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Theatrical Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 2 – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Extended Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 3 – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 4 – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Extended Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 5 – “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – Theatrical Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 6 – “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – Extended Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 7 – “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 8 – “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – Extended Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 9 – “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” – Theatrical Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 10 – “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” – Extended Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 11 – “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” – Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 12 – “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” – Extended Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 13 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – Theatrical Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 14 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – Extended Version, Part 1 (4K UHD)
  • Disc 15 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – Extended Version, Part 2 (4K UHD)
  • Disc 16 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 17 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – Extended Version, Part 1 Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 18 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – Extended Version, Part 2 Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 19 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – Theatrical Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 20 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – Extended Version, Part 1 (4K UHD)
  • Disc 21 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – Extended Version, Part 2 (4K UHD)
  • Disc 22 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 23 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – Extended Version, Part 1 (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 24 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – Extended Version, Part 2 (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 25 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – Theatrical Version (4K UHD)
  • Disc 26 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – Extended Version, Part 1 (4K UHD)
  • Disc 27 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – Extended Version, Part 2 (4K UHD)
  • Disc 28 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 29 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – Extended Version, Part 1 (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 30 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” – Extended Version, Part 2 (Blu-ray)
  • Disc 31 – Special Features

Along with the discs themselves, the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” comes with a 64-page book called “The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: A Collection of Costume Sketches, Photography, and Production Notes,” as well as a set of 7 miniature travel posters for significant locations throughout Middle-Earth. The “posters” which function more like postcards, show The Shire, Lake-Town, Erebor, the Anduin, Rohan, Minas Tirith and Rivendell. Digital codes to redeem each trilogy in theatrical and extended editions are also included.

Special Features on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital

With so many iterations of the “Lord of the Rings” releasing on DVD, Blu-ray and now 4K over the years, the series has amassed a wealth of bonus features in a number of places. As the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition,” this should compile all of those beloved extras into one convenient location, right?

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Quite a bit is missing here, including the beloved “Appendices” from releases past. The Blu-ray discs of each film do include a few limited, but previously-released bonus features on them.

However, the good news is that the new special features contained on Disc 31 are extremely appealing for anyone who calls themself a “Lord of the Rings” fan. Let’s take a look:

  • Alamo Drafthouse Presents The Lord of the Rings Cast Reunion: The Fellowship of the Ring – At nearly 40 minutes, this cast reunion from earlier in 2021 brings back your Middle-Earth heroes for the 20th anniversary celebration of “Fellowship.” Hosted by Stephen Colbert via Zoom, this reunion features your favorite Hobbits, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Presents The Lord of the Rings Cast Reunion: The Two Towers – Join Colbert again for a look at “The Two Towers,” featuring Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler in this 30-minute reunion.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Presents The Lord of the Rings Cast Reunion: The Return of the King – Back again for the epic final chapter, Colbert is joined by Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis.
  • Festival de Cannes Presentation Reel – Relish in the 26 minutes of footage that got the world excited about “Lord of the Rings” from Cannes way back in 2001. Before the first film’s trailer was ever released, festival-goers were treated to an early look at “Fellowship,” as well as a tease of what was to come in the following two films. Die-hard fans will be able to catch never-before-seen footage, lines and more that didn’t make the final cut.

At the end of the day, no matter how great the new bonus features may be, they aren’t worth an extra $100. Considering last year’s 4K releases are now going for under $75 a piece, fans looking to simply upgrade their collection to higher definition should opt to go with the 2020 version. However, for die-hard fans with deep pockets, the “Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition” sure looks nice on the shelf.

“The Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition” releases on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on November 16, 2021.

close

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive the latest in movie and TV news, reviews and interviews in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: