Tolkien’s Greatest Hero Could Appear in The Hunt for Gollum, but Should He?

Grab your sword.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in 'Return of the King.'
New Line Cinema

When the next Lord of the Rings filmThe Hunt for Gollum — hits theaters in 2026, another familiar face might appear. Viggo Mortensen has made it clear he’s willing to return as Aragorn in the new film, which, depending on the timeline, might actually work.

But while it could be fun to see Aragorn in The Hunt for Gollum, there are some nitty-gritty Middle-earth challenges to making it happen. Here’s how Mortensen’s Aragorn could return, either by breaking canon or sidestepping it.

Speaking to GQ about his new film The Dead Don't Hurt, Viggo Mortensen revealed he snuck Aragorn’s sword into the movie, which put him back in touch with Peter Jackson to see if using the sword outside of Middle-earth was allowed. Jackson was fine with Andúril making a cameo, but what Lord of the Rings fans really want to know is if Mortensen will pick up the sword again in The Hunt for Gollum. For Mortensen, the answer is maybe. Here’s what he told GQ:

“I don’t know exactly what the story is, I haven’t heard. Maybe I’ll hear about it eventually. I like playing that character. I learned a lot playing the character. I enjoyed it a lot. I would only do it if I was right for it in terms of, you know, the age I am now and so forth. I would only do it if I was right for the character. It would be silly to do it otherwise.”

Mortensen is right to mention the age factor. If The Hunt for Gollum takes place before or during The Fellowship of the Ring, then the 65-year-old Mortensen would need to be digitally de-aged to appear in his scrappy Strider guise. And if digital de-aging was off the table, any version of Aragorn would have to be played by a new actor.

Viggo Mortensen promoting The Dead Don’t Hurt.

picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images

But there are other ways for Mortensen to appear as Aragorn while looking like he does now. Canonically, Aragorn is 87 at the time, and according to the Return of the King’s appendices, he lives to be 210 (he looks younger because he’s a Dúnedain, a human race with longer lifespans). The first Return appendix depicts Aragorn’s final moments, where he speaks to his wife, Arwen, and talks about their son, Eladrion, taking the throne. And it’s in this scene that there’s a hypothetical way for Viggo Mortensen to appear in The Hunt for Gollum.

What if — and this is a big ifThe Hunt for Gollum contained a future-tense framing device, with Old Aragorn thinking back to the days before Fellowship? This kind of framing device has all sorts of precedents, from Titanic to the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. It’s even been used in Tolkien adaptations. In the 1980 animated version of The Return of the King, the entire story is framed by yet another birthday for Bilbo, in which an older Frodo tells his uncle the story of how the One Ring was destroyed at Mordor.

Could The Hunt for Gollum borrow this idea? If we want to see Viggo Mortensen play Aragorn 21 years after he starred in Return of the King, this would be the best possible way. And if it happened, it means The Hunt for Gollum could give us one thing we’ve never seen: the glorious end of Aragorn’s story.

The Hunt for Gollum is expected to hit theaters in 2026.

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