Momentum appears to finally be gathering on the next films set in Middle Earth revolving around the events told within the prequel book to the ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’. There have been various rumours circulating the net for some time regarding different aspects of the new films and recently there have been a number of casting news items emerging.
Recently Sir Ian McKellen announced via his official web site that he will be returning to New Zealand for filming his role as Gandalf in ‘The Hobbit’, and that filming is scheduled to begin on 21 February 2011. You can read the full announcement on his web site here.
While Middle Earth fans had good reason to be confident that he would return to the role, given the level of enjoyment that cast have previously articulated in various interviews, there have been scheduling concerns for Sir Ian and an official announcement will be welcome as final assurance his involvement is locked in.
Sir Ian’s portrayal of both Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is superb. As Gandalf the Grey he delivers a heartfelt performance that resonates so wonderfully with the Shire and his hobbit companions, as well as providing an unforgettable final scene of defiance as he fends of the Balrog in the depths of Moria. Returning as Gandalf the White, Sir Ian provided a delicate balance of sympathy to the hobbits and the nations resisting Sauron however with the loss of both a certain compassion for his companions and a fondness for simpler joys that he experienced as his former self.