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Ian McKellen to return as Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

13 January 2011

There's nothing worse for the makers of a film trilogy, particularly one as popular as The Lord Of The Rings, to have to worry that one of your biggest stars won't be reprising their role. Similarly there is nothing as annoying for a die hard film fan to find that his favourite character has been replaced by a completely different actor, which somehow ruins things a little bit, and renders the whole character as somewhat less believable, requiring the viewer to suspend believe that his favourite character is no suspiciously taller, fatter or just not as convincing in the role.

Finally, The Lord of the Rings fans, and particularly Ian McKellen fans, can breathe a sigh of relief, as after months of speculation the legendary actor has now signed up to reprise his role as Gandalf in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit this week. McKellen took to his blog soon after to explain the delay in his signing up:

"The deciding negotiation was not about money but about dates," he wrote. "Gandalf is needed on set over the next 18 months but with sizable breaks when I can work on other projects.  My worry that I could not easily escape from Middle Earth was lifted."

The 71 year old has decided he wants to make the most of his career while he is still fit enough, which no doubt filtered into his decision making, was another Lord Of The Rings Sequel or Prequel in this case, what he wanted to do?

He says: "As my agent continued to negotiate with Warner Bros., I kept wondering, was Gandalf what I most wanted to do, more than a new play, for instance, or indeed a new part?" he wrote. "Sequels aren’t necessarily as rewarding to act in as their originals."

However McKellen ultimately decided that he couldn't let Gandalf go and has decided to don his pointy hat again and is looking forward to starting filming in Wellington NZ on Feb 21 along with Andy Serkis who has signed on to return to his role of Gollum, a pivotal character from the story of The Hobbit as well as The Lord of The Rings trilogy.

Ian McKellen Photos