Despite the fact that 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 films that followed, Sir Ian McKellen has responded to rumors that the character of Gandalf may be recast for the new Lord of the Rings series.
McKellen, 82, first played Gandalf in 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring, before returning in 2002 and 2003 for The Two Towers and The Return of the King, respectively.
He also appeared in Peter Jackson’s three-part adaption of The Hobbit, which was released in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
However, there’s suspicion that the part may have to go to another actor for Amazon Prime’s upcoming new TV adaptation, with ScreenRant writer Craig Elvy suggesting that the character himself can feature in the show, but ‘not Ian McKellen.’
“Gandalf is somewhat of a curious case,” Elvy wrote.
“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.”
McKellen has responded on social media to the rumors.
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
Elvy continues in the article, saying that: “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 goes on to say that assuming Gandalf’s ‘old man wizard’ persona would ‘contradict’ J.R.R. Tolkien’s portrayal of the wizard’s youth.