The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King:The Straits Times have previewed some new bits of information regarding the final chapter in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy:

- It has been confirmed that the scouring of the Shire - the restoration of the Hobbits' habitat, which the book ends with - will not make it to the big screen. The reason Jackson offered? It 'didn't really work' as an ending.

- Look out for Shelob, a giant spider which guards Cirith Ungol, the pass from Minas Morgul, a fortress, to Mordor. It has a hearty appetite for flesh. Its appearance is modelled after the Tunnel Web spider found in New Zealand.

- Denethor (John Noble), the last ruling steward of Gondor, is a new character in this sequel. This embittered soul is the father of Boromir and Faramir.

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- Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf, says the scene where Sam (Sean Astin) kisses Frodo's (Elijah Wood) forehead after he saves him from Shelob's lair is likely to make it to the big screen.

- The movie's video game, to be launched on Nov 4, will allow players to control characters like Gandalf, Frodo and Sam. Players can customise their game by choosing their paths at various stages.

- Liv Tyler has recorded a song for the soundtrack. Called Arwen's Song, it was sung in English and not Elvish, despite the fact that Arwen is an elf princess. However, it remains to be seen if the song will meet the director's cut.

Brian B.