Sir Peter Jackson promised not to cut Sir Christopher Lee out of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The filmmaker scrapped the actor's role as evil White Council wizard Saruman in the final Lord of the Rings film, The Return Of The King, and had to promise a distraught Lee that he would never be axed in any of the three prequels.
"I'm very, very pleased that he's in this film," Jackson said.
"He was very upset to be cut out of the theatrical version of Return Of The King, but he is in the extended cut.
"It was great that we brought the White Council into the story of The Hobbit - they're not there in the novel - but Tolkien wrote a lot of additional material as he was intending to expand The Hobbit post the Lord Of The Rings to make the two stories tie in, but he never wrote that book.
"So there's a lot of the notes that are in The Return Of The King."
Saruman has a pivotal role in The Two Towers after turning against his former white council allies Galadriel, Gandalf and Elrond and becomes the driving evil force of the film, but after his defeat his more minimal role had to be cut out of the lengthy third opus.
Jackson joked that Lee had refused to attend any of the world premieres this time around if he was going to be shunned once again.
"I did talk to Christopher the other day about coming to the premiere and he did say, 'Am I still in the movie? And this time around I could say yes," he told Bang Showbiz.