Legendary actor Ian McKellen doesn’t want any other actor to play Gandalf in the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series but himself. McKellen, of course, has a long history playing J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic wizard character, first having embodied him in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy from 2001 to 2003, and again for Jackson’s The Hobbit prequel trilogy from 2012 to 2014.
Fans immediately embraced McKellen’s heartfelt portrayal of Gandalf, as did his industry colleagues, who nominated the master thespian for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his first turn as the wizard in 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. While McKellen came up short in his bid for an Academy Award, he did receive a different prestigious honor in playing Gandalf when Screen Actors Guild named him Best Supporting Actor at its ceremonies in 2002.
Effectively, McKellen’s love for Gandalf is so deep that he doesn’t want to give up the role to another actor when casting begins for the five season-long Lord of the Rings TV series that’s in development at Amazon. In an interview this week on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show (via Digital Spy), McKellen, made it pretty clear he’s up to reprising his role as Gandalf when Norton asked him, “Amazon are doing a TV series of Lord of the Rings. Now isn’t that annoying? That there’s going to be another Gandalf in town?” In his response, McKellen said:
“What do you mean, another Gandalf? I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.”
McKellen, who is 78, makes a great point about Gandalf’s age and how it effectively shouldn’t preclude him from playing the role again. As for the fact that the show predates the events of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, an earlier storyline should matter little, since McKellen has already played a younger version of Gandalf for The Hobbit trilogy.
Naturally, the decision to cast McKellen as Gandalf again will be up to The Lord of the Rings show creators, but since the actor has stated publicly that he wants to play Gandalf for the series, it’s an opportunity they should not pass up. And while no other actor from The Lord of The Rings trilogy has lobbied to reprise their role in the prequel TV series, one person they can count out is ageless Sean Astin, who says he’s more interested in seeing who the creators choose to play Frodo Baggins’ loyal friend, Samwise Gamgee.