Ian McKellen Sets Grim Term to Return as Gandalf in New Film

New chapter unfolds in Tolkien's legendary universe

by Zain ul Abedin
Ian McKellen Sets Grim Term to Return as Gandalf in New Film
© Nicky J Sims/Getty Images

Ian McKellen, renowned for portraying Gandalf in Peter Jackson's adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpieces, has expressed conditional willingness to reprise his role in the upcoming film in the Lord of the Rings franchise, focused on Gollum.

This announcement follows Warner Bros' recent revelation of "The Hunt for Gollum," igniting fan speculation about Gandalf's involvement in the new narrative. During a candid interview with The Times, McKellen conveyed excitement about the stirrings within the Tolkien universe but tempered expectations by noting the absence of a concrete script or formal offer.

At 85, McKellen remains open to future roles, quipping that his participation hinges on his longevity: "if I'm alive." His reflection on mortality was poignant as he discussed his ongoing theatrical role as Falstaff in "Player Kings" at the Noël Coward Theatre, contemplating whether each project might be his last.

Middle-earth Expands Again

"The Hunt for Gollum" marks the beginning of several planned expansions to the Lord of the Rings saga by Warner Bros over the next decade. Andy Serkis, set to direct, shared his enthusiasm about delving back into the mythical world of Middle-earth with a team of longtime collaborators and new partners, including WETA and the filmmaking community in New Zealand.

Peter Jackson, along with producers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, also celebrated their return to Middle-earth. The trio, lifelong Tolkien enthusiasts, expressed their privilege and excitement to collaborate once more with Serkis, affectionately referencing Gollum as "that Stinker," and highlighting their collective anticipation for the new adventure.

As the cinematic landscape prepares to revisit the enchanting realms created by Tolkien, the involvement of industry veterans and the introduction of new narratives promise to offer a fresh yet familiar exploration of the rich lore that has captivated audiences worldwide.