Although most of us knew this had to be the case or else we would have protested the making of The Hobbit, profound British actor Sir Ian McKellen confirms that he most definitely will return as the wonderful wizard Gandalf! Earlier today on his official website, McKellen answered numerous fan questions in an E-Post, two of which pertained specifically to The Hobbit. The short of it is that he will be back and he even in fact mentions Guillermo del Toro as the director, but unfortunately there is no signed deal yet and it's still not close to moving into production.
The third question down gets right to the point - will you again be our Gandalf in The Hobbit now that the deal is settled?
"Yes I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor. I've just read your quote out loud - fabulous speech."
The quote he speaks of is one that the questioner took straight from The Hobbit: Shall the dreaming masses with their musty books and their blackened pipes at long last hear those immortal words issued from under that famous nose? "Yes, yes, my dear sir–and I do know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!"
One other question inquired as to whether he had actually be approached by Peter Jackson yet since filming is supposed to commence in 2009. His answer:
"Encouragingly, Peter and Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!"
Oh thank the heavens! Things are already starting to look up for The Hobbit! I couldn't imagine it without McKellen either and I can say that this is easily the biggest sigh of relief ever to hear him utter those words. Now the next big step is actually getting this off the ground and into production. Unfortunately given that New Line buckled, it's probably going to take even more time for this to actually come together. At least we can sit in confidence knowing that our beloved Gandalf will be back while we wait until Peter Jackson, New Line, and Warner Brothers work out their woes.