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back to article Ian McKellen to reprise Gandalf

Veteran Brit thesp Sir Ian McKellen has confirmed he'll be reprising his role of Gandalf in the forthcoming adaptation of The Hobbit, according to Empire magazine. He said: "Yes, it's true. It's not a part that you turn down. I loved playing Gandalf. I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part …

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approve

Now this I approve of...

Hmmm, if I remember right, as time goes on, Wizards get younger.... seeing as it's set before LOTR, therefore Gandalf would be 'older'.... makes sense!

not too sure about this mystical other prequel... only time will tell!

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Anonymous Coward

Younger wizards

I think that's mainly in the Arthurian canon, specifically T.H. White... Don't think J.R.R.T. said anything about the Istari aging at all. G was always wizened from his first appearance in Middle Earth.

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Coat

60 years?

After a quick glance a Middle Earth history, I make it 77 years between the Hobbit and The Fellowship. And if I recall, in The Fellowship Gandalf 'remembered a spring, nearly eighty years before' when Frodo is making preparations for his unexpected journey from Bag End.

The one made of Mithril and the sword belt please ;-)

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@ Brian

Shouldn't Harry Potter be in nappies by now then??

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Stop

An original story? Oh dear ....

Sounds like a blatant attempt to cache in and that's terribly disappointing since it cheapens the other films and the works of Tolkein.

When it was suggested that they would bring The Hobbit to the screen it seemed natural, although personally I thought it was a bad idea. The Hobbit was ostensibly a children's book with much simpler and somewhat nieve storylines, something Tolkein himself explained away by saying that it was written by Bilbo, a child like character. The Hobbit doesn't compare well to LoTR for this reason, it lacks depth and doesn't gel with the latter.

I doubt anyone except Tolkein himself could create an original story which can bridge the gap and not tarnish either book in the process. If George Lucas can't even do it with his own material what hope is there for someone working with a world so precisely created and described by Tolkein?

Splitting the Hobbit into two would have been a better idea, the source material might have been stretched in the process but it would have been better than cramming it into one film.

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Pirate

Hobbitssssssss how I hatessss hobbitssssss

The hobbit will rock, it is a rollicking story that is filled with movie goodness, from the Trolls in the forest of Rhudaur (finding Sting and Glamdring) - the Goblin King, Smaug, Beorn, battles, dwarves, elves... it is a <i>winner</i>.

As for 'original story' - hell, Tolkien filled in the interval with the Necromancer of Southern Mirkwood, the fall of Saruman, the Balin's return to Moria, the battles of the Rohirrim, Aragorn and the rangers of the north, it's not as if it is a blank page. There is lots of material to base the other story on. :)

Personally, I can't wait!

Pirate - 'cos I always wanted to visit Umbar!

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Not necessarily bad with a new story

So we've got the prequel on the Aragorn and Arwen love story, already written by JRRT. We've got Denethor and Theoden taking up leadership - not documented, but scope for good stories. Possibly younger versions of Eomer, Grima, Faramir and Boromir, all with interesting back stories. How the wizards and their allies discovered the Necromancer was really Sauron, Sauron's move to Mordor, and the beginning of assaults in earnest on Gondor and Rohan. Almost certainly the corruption of Denethor and Saruman via the palantirs - *very* story-worthy. Perhaps even the start of the elves' departure on the White Ships, bearing in mind that this hadn't started during Bilbo's time, but was well underway by the time of LotR.

In other words, there's an absolute stack of material to be working with. All they need is a scriptwriter who can do it justice. On past evidence, del Toro is probably well set to do this.

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Gold badge

Too old

He's too old, I think they should cast a 20 year old who doesn't have grey hair or wrinkles. Maybe one that can dance and rap as well. In fact how about a musician?

I'm joking of course.

Glad to see there's at least one role they don't miscast to some 20 something that can't act.

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IT Angle

Makeup?

Given he was made to look a lot older in the LOTR I'm sure its not hard to make him look a couple of years later...

Then again this is fantasy.. its not like in real life you fall into a pit fighting a spawn of Melkor and then fight your way back up to the top of a freezing mountain armed with naught but a wooden stick and sword..

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It is a blatant attempt to cash in..

And brilliant as far as I'm concerned. We should have more of it, the world is far too nice. Hated it ever since the 80s went away. More commercialism this time please, there wasn't nearly enough Lord of the Rings junk to buy after the first 3 movies.

Seriously though the period between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings lends itself very well to a new movie, as long as they get the right people to do the story and script. The Silmarillion is to complicated for popcorn eating, soda swilling movie watchers to understand. It would be better served with a full blown TV series, and has enough blood, guts and horror to keep people watching for several seasons.

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Stop

RE: An original story? Oh dear ....

How in the hell can you compare Tolkien to George Lucas?

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Fine, but please speak this time

Watch LOTR I, II or III again and notice how McKellen whispers every time he speaks. Usually followed by very loud, emotive music. Can we have some professional mastering for the two future films please?

The "original story" sounds horridly like something Christopher Tolkien would pass off as his father's work. It's not big, it's not clever and you're not your dad. Stop it.

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No complaints at all

Anything in this vein could be seen as caching - sorry, cashing - in (couldn't resist, AC). As Stef said, the intervening period in the legendarium is full of interest, and a good writer could do plenty with it. As for the Hobbit being more of a children's story, Tolkein's notes and the LOTR itself create a context for those events that permit the telling of the tale in a way far more consistant with LOTR. And I have to say that you couldn't do much better than Jackson and del Torro to achieve that.

To draw on the reference to Lucas's failings, that's a pretty irrelevent comparison in my book. The world is full of wonderful writers. Lucas's own failings don't speak in the slightest to the likelihood of this film working.

Which isn't at all to say that they can't cock it up. Of course they can.

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Boffin

@ Ian Moffatt

Well, the Hobbit starts with Bilbo at the respectable age of 50 (maybe 50+, but I think 50). The farewell party at the beginning of the Fellowship is Bilbo's eleventy-first (111) birthday. So, I think that is the 60 years they're talking about.

Why, yes; I am a sad nerd who has read the series a few times.

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IT Angle

re: An original story? Oh dear ....

"...a blatant attempt to cache in..."

Is that some kind of geeky IT joke?

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Why doesn't someone turn "Bored of the Rings" into a film?

With characters like "Dildo Bugger" and such it could make such a great parody with the right director...

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Silver badge

re: An original story? Oh dear ....

"..How in the hell can you compare Tolkien to George Lucas?"

With .gt. ? ( please excuse the Fortran I'm a crumbly old wizard myself)

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Coat

Younger wizards

I was going to comment on Gandalf being a Maia and so immortal and uncorruptable - but then it's just a short step to laughing through your nose and fixing your specs with elastoplast, so I wont.

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Coat

great....

another f**kin three movies of people walking*.....

*credit to Kevin Smith!

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Anonymous Coward

@ 60 years?

Yes, and the missing 17 years are at the beginning of Lord Of The Rings book, (obviously butchered out of the film version), between the time Gandalf first visits Frodo, and the time he returns having made his mind up about the ring.. I believe.?

:-)

Oh no. Please can someone legally force Peter Jackson et all to call any of these hacked money cash-ins "Derived from" Lord Of The Rings, or "Based on" The Hobbit.

Well, ok, I know there is a zero percent chance of that, but it seems ashame to ruin such beautiful literature by tarnishing its name with a crappy movie.

lol @ the wizards physically fighting, etc.

Well, Enders Game is about to be ruined next, or so they say!

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The fall of Saruman

Well, they might want to start filming that bit pretty soon, ole Chris Lee's definitely not getting any younger and looks about 105 now...

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000489/

and they can't use the same actor for Gandalf and someone different for Saruman it would suffer from a disconnect - Aragorn and Liv would also have to reprise their roles, since she's an Elf (Elv?) and he's a long lived superhuman (Dunedai? - as revealed in the extended version of 'the two towers').

Who's gonna play Bilbo? The guy who played Frodo in LOTR? that would be cool. Elijah - damn my short term memory - he said in some interview it was the first time he'd played a fifty year old (i.e. Frodo), so it totally works. Just need a few shirtless scenes for, well you know, a little gentle homoeroticism, since it's just gonna be him and 12 dirty bearded dwarfs (no slight to modern dwarfs intended), old Gandalf, a load of CGI creatures and New Zealand.

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Coat

your mums a quenta

Del Toro is directing, Ian McKellan will be playing Gandalf, and Andy Serkis will almost certainly reprise his role as Gollum. It'll be good.

All these n00bs whining ought to be grateful that no-one has bought the rights to make a 38-episode long adaptation of the Silmarillion, filmed in glorious HD and starring Hayden Christensensensen as Feanor.

Mine's the Wakeman-esque sequinned cape.

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Coat

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

@Graham

Arwen has 12 lines in LOTR, she isn't a chracter, just coz hollywood had to have a leading lady doesn't mean they should piss all over a book to make the part fit. So back stories are just filler, there isn't a back story for arwen, her dad perhaps as he is rock hard. Given that they change the book for minor things like erkenbrand going instead of ermor to lead the army at helms deep, they can change what they want to suit their needs anyway, so anything they do film will be made up. And as it is films rights not book rights, christopher tolkien isn't involved, the only person knowledgable enough to know what should be in the film.

@Andy B,

Silmarrilion the TV series, eh? The first age, Tulcas the god of war dancing and prancing as he taught the elves to fight, or as he chained Malcor (the god who taught Suron and created orks from corrupting the elves) for being a naughty boy. How the hell you would get dumb ass americans to care about the playing of the music, how a bad note can start a doscird which is evil. Or how the dwarves were created by a god who wanted to play a different tune. Or perhaps ungulliant, who gave birth to shelob and her sisters then threatened to consume the world till she was stopped by malcor (who created her). Only the death of Galadriels dad would be anythiing worthy of them watching. They would have to explain who actually started the rumour that no man could kill the witch king, which would then ask the querstion, why the hell was liv tyler in the films instead of glorfindel.

It would be changed horribly to suit an audience that doen'st understand.

@Giles

Gandalf arrived in middle earth in around 1000, that being two thousand years before the films (and just before the balrog took over moria), he is an angel (to use words that don't require a sad tolkienite), sent from heaven to fight the evil that is sauron, so aging is completely irrelevant in any setting. He forgets because he is that old.

Gap filler movies.

Problem is Hollywood has no decent writers that could do this justice, they rip off history at their leisure and they rewrite the classics to suit their marketing needs, I wait for the hobbit to have a leading lady... 15 dwarves, 1 hobbit and Ian mckellen fight a dragon... Where is the leading lady...

A two part hobbit could be good, a filler movie won't be.

Hollywood we wait and see...

Mines the one with the quenyarin stylised collar....

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@Alistair

A true Tolkien geek should be able to spell the names right.

I think the Silmarillion would make an excellent TV series. I'm concerned about the possibility of appalling 21st century dialogue in the "original story" one.

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Black Helicopters

complaints??

Wow, so much anger at the possibility of an 'original story' would you all prefer MORE endless remakes???

I admit though, getting an 'original story' out of Hollywood these days will be an event in itself.

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Personally

... I'll be waiting on the South Park spoof of these movies, rather than waste 120 minutes of life I will never get back.

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Stop

George Lucas

Just as long as they don't call them LOTR 4 and 5...

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@Alastair

First off, Arwen as a character is very much present in the extended film version, albeit via flashback. She's the reason for Elrond reforging the sword Narsil, because she'd already renounced her immortality. And it's why Aragorn has such a tough choice - it's not just a choice between whether he becomes king or not, but also whether she lives forever or dies with him. In the book though, I agree, she's a bit of a non-entity. (And in the screen film versions, *all* the characters are non-entities, because it was mostly characterisation that they cut.)

And there *is* a back story for Aragorn and Arwen in an appendix to LotR. JRRT wrote it because he wanted to fill in the characters' history. He couldn't find anywhere to put it in the main body of the book though, but he thought it was too important to leave out, so it went in as an appendix.

Sure there are good writers in Hollywood. They just don't get used much, or don't get a chance to do their thing because a committee is outvoting them. But a good director will let them do their thing. On recent fantasy films, Bridge to Terebithia and Pan's Labyrinth (the latter by del Toro) were very well written indeed.

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Unhappy

been thinking

(an "original story" bridging the 60-year gap between Tolkien's first Middle Earth outing and the Lord of the Rings trilogy)

the words Cash and Cow spring to mind

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Happy

How in the hell can you compare Tolkien to George Lucas?

@ Jesse...

"These are not the Hobbits you are looking for..."

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No need to make Gandalf younger at all!

Although it's not completely clear in the films, wizards ain't human, so they aren't ageing like ordinary folks. To quote Mr. Gandalf himself from the Two Towers : "Three hundred lives of men I’ve walked this earth and now I have no time." In the grand scheme of things, what's fifty or sixty years going to do? He should look pretty much exactly the same back then as he did in the Lord of the Rings...

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Paris Hilton

How in the hell can you compare Tolkien to George Lucas?

I can imagine it...

Palpatine is Sauron, Darth Vader is the Witch King, Gandalf and Aragorn as Jedi Knights... Saruman with a stupid red and black mask and a dual bladed light staff.

"These are not the hobbits you are looking for", Orcs with stormtrooper suits, the Witch King revealing that he is Frodo's father. Hayred Ents speaking trough howls.

Man, that is an epic history indeed...

Paris, cause she's epic

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Coat

I say...

If they want to attempt an original story, then let them - and good luck.

Seriously - it's a work of fiction - stop being so precious about it...

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Coat

Bored of the Rings casting?

Frito Bugger: Will Ferrel?

Goodgulf Greyteeth: Eddie Izzard (just add a 'W')

Spam: Tony Robinson?

Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt:

Eörachë:

Gimlet:

Legolamb:

Moxie:

Pepsi:

Dildo Bugger: Danny deVito

Mine's the one made out of Farahslax

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