In both Lord of the Rings (all parts) and The Hobbit (all parts), we find Legolas's eyes take two different appearances.

Hence my question here is:

  1. Is this due to the time gap between The Hobbit and LOTR?
  2. Is this typical for elves because Hugo Weaving as Lord Elrond doesn't show any change in eye color or the look of his eye.

Two pictures of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, one with brown eyes, one with grey-blue eyes

  • It was just an unfortunate - and controversial - decision by the director to visually differentiate Sylvan elves (i.e. - Legolas) from other races of elves.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:49
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    @Omegacron I thought Thranduil was a high elf, and Legolas too. In fact Thranduil assures Tauriel that he won't let his son bond with "a lowly Sylvan elf". But I'm not versed in the rest of the lore, so please forgive my possible ignorance. Feb 28, 2017 at 22:15
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    @Gallifreyan - nope, you're right. I got my "Sylvan" and "Sindarin" mixed up.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 28, 2017 at 22:31
  • Could you please clarify what is different about the eyes? I don't see any difference actually. Feb 28, 2017 at 23:19
  • If you zoom in, you would see the iris are of different color and the pupil is more constricted in The Hobbit series. Mar 1, 2017 at 5:25

2 Answers 2



It's a technical issue (sort of)

Original Source - Quora


Due to technical mishaps involving Bloom's contact lenses, in the films Legolas' eye colour sometimes changes between brown, purple, and blue. (In the director's commentary of the Extended Edition, Peter Jackson admitted that they forgot to put Bloom's contacts in several times.)


Orlando hated the contacts he wore in the Rings trilogy because they stung his eyes after a long time of shooting the film. So in Desolation they just colored his eyes blue in post-production.


PJ changed Legolas' eyes in the Hobbit to distinguish him from from the Silvan elves of Mirkwood, as Thranduil and his son Legolas are both of the Sindarin. They are also known as "grey elves" and were kind of treated like nobles by the "lesser elves". I think the lighter eyes are especially light this time around just to emphasize the distinct ancestry.


The Hobbit movies were shot in 3D 48fps. In one of the production blogs it is explained that colors tend to saturate out a bit (hope I am using the right language here) when shooting this way, so they had to make everything slightly more colorful, to seem normal on screen

  • I have read it in these places but I was wondering if Peter Jackson has himself mentioned it in any DVD commentary or in any interviews. Feb 28, 2017 at 15:42
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    That's mentioned in some of the quotes.
    – Paulie_D
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:44
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    In the last quote, I'm pretty sure the word should be "desaturate", not "saturate". The more intense the color, the more saturated it is. The opposite is a desaturated color. Feb 28, 2017 at 18:04
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    @BrettFromLA They used "saturate out" but I suspect you are right. Reddit...what ya gonna do!?
    – Paulie_D
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:41

The Camera technology used between the two movies have evolved considerably. For one, Blue filters have been replaced with orange filters since the mid 2000's allowing for Very sharp contrasts of skin and eye tones. Also because of errors among staff with Orlando Blooms contacts scenes are filmed with his brown eyes.

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