Sir Ian McKellen Responds To Return Of Gandalf In LOTR Series With A Potentially Different Actor
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Sir Ian McKellen has responded to rumours that the character of Gandalf may be recast for the new Lord of the Rings series, despite the fact he's become practically synonymous with J.R.R. Tolkien's wizard character after his portrayal in Peter Jackson's film trilogy and the Hobbit movies that followed.
McKellen, 82, was originally cast as Gandalf for 2001's The Fellowship of the Ring, before returning for The Two Towers, and The Return of the King in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
He also reprised the role yet again for Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, with films released in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
However, for Amazon Prime's forthcoming new TV adaptation, there's speculation that the role may have to go to another actor - with ScreenRant writer Craig Elvy arguing that the character himself can appear in the show, but 'not Ian McKellen'.
"Gandalf is somewhat of a curious case," Elvy writes.
"He certainly exists in the TV show's timeline, but doesn't arrive in Middle-earth until 1000 years into the Third Age. As such, Gandalf's presence in the Amazon series looked highly unlikely, despite Ian McKellen gently lobbying to don the staff and pointy hat one more time."
And the rumours have now reached McKellen himself, who has responded on social media.
Sharing a link to the ScreenRant article, the star wrote: "I think this would be the most upsetting headline I'd ever read, if I weren't gainfully employed elsewhere."
I think this would be the most upsetting headline I'd ever read, if I weren't gainfully employed elsewhere. https://t.co/VuletTxAGA
- Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) August 31, 2021
In the article, Elvy continues to explain that 'any Valinor material in Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV series could feasibly include Gandalf's original Olórin form', saying: "There's hardly any Olórin-related Tolkien stories to draw upon, but we at least know the character frequented Valinor during this very period.
"Unfortunately, Olórin cannot be portrayed by Ian McKellen. J.R.R. Tolkien is deliberately vague when describing the physical appearances of the Maia, suggesting they can take a fair, mortal-like form, or simply exist as non-corporeal spirits."
Elvy adds that for Gandalf to assume his 'old man wizard' guise would 'contradict' J.R.R. Tolkien's description of the wizard's younger years.
Thankfully, we've still got plenty of time to try and wrap our heads around the slightly confusing timeline, as the new series isn't due to debut on Amazon Prime until 2 September next year.