Maybe we don’t live in the darkest timeline after all. In this version of the multiverse, Sean Astin plays Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Perhaps that’s all the proof we need. We’re not surprised to hear that there was an extensive casting call for the role, but somehow the news that James Corden auditioned seems downright shocking. Corden himself revealed the tale of his auditions on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, which we saw via Gizmodo. Yes, James Corden could have been Sam on The Lord of the Rings.
“Every single person, in London auditioned for The Lord of the Rings,” says Corden in the clip above. “Everybody.” And though he admits his tryout was “not good,” he did get two callbacks. He even did Sam’s accent in a bid for the role, which he demonstrates in the clip above. But instead of making it big with 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Corden first major movie role came in 2014’s Into the Woods. He landed The Late Late Show the following year.
Corden may not have gone on the journey of The Lord of the Rings, but he did team up with at least one member of the fellowship. Both he and Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen, later appeared in the very odd movie adaptation of Cats. Meanwhile, Astin went on to star in a variety of projects, including a season of Stranger Things. Fans also love him from earlier projects like Goonies and Rudy.
The Lord of the Rings cast reunites from time to time. It always results in a wholesome display of their chemistry and love for each other. It’s impossible to imagine any one of them traded out for someone else. It makes sense that Peter Jackson and his team auditioned hundreds, if not thousands, of people, though. But never have we felt so blessed to live in the timeline where they chose the actors we know and love as the nine members of the fellowship. Astin was particularly perfect as the brave and kind Samwise Gamgee. Nothing (much) against Corden, but we doubt anyone could have done this Lord of the Rings role more justice.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.