Sir Ian McKellen Had A Practical But Macabre Response When Asked If He'd Return In LOTR's The Hunt For Gollum

 Gandlaf looking at Bilbo in Fellowship of the Ring.
Gandlaf looking at Bilbo in Fellowship of the Ring.

Last month, Lord of the Rings fans lost our collective minds when it was announced that Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis were returning to Middle-earth for a new movie. But what about other original cast members like Ian McKellen? Will the legendary performer return as Gandalf this time around? The actor has weighed in.

A movie called Lord of the Rings: The Hunt For Gollum is currently in development with Jackson producing and Andy Serkis set to star as Gollum and direct it. When McKellen was asked about the chance of him passing through Middle-earth again, here’s what he said:

But there is no script, there is no offer, there is no plan.

Even though the new Lord of the Rings movie is said to be released sometime in 2026, Andy Serkis said just last week that it is currently in “very early state script discussions,” and thus, perhaps the filmmakers don’t even know if Gandalf is going to be in it. So, as the actor shared, he has not been looped in about the project enough to know whether he’ll go back to play the iconic wizard, but there have been whispers.

When The Times asked him if he’d be interested if he was asked to join in, here’s how he responded:

If I’m alive.

Ian McKellen just turned 85 years old on May 25, but he remains a booked and busy actor who has been starring in Player Kings, a condensation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I and Part II on the West End since April. The actor is set to tour the play with his cast this summer through July. While speaking about his current role, he candidly shared that every time he looks at scripts these days, he feels like it might be his “last job.”

McKellen said he hopes to continue working, but he is aware these days that “life doesn’t go on forever.” So as the filmmakers behind the new Lord of the Rings movie perhaps decide whether or not they want to pitch the project to him, it sounds like the actor will be particularly selective.

Lord of the Rings

the hobbits in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
the hobbits in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord Of The Rings Movies In Order: How To Watch The J.R.R. Tolkien Movies

The Lord of the Rings spinoff will explore the backstory of Gollum/Sméagol and dig into elements of it that Peter Jackson “didn’t have time to cover in the earlier films.” As fans know, Gollum started as a Hobbit who came across the One Ring and allowed its power to consume him and become his “precious” to guard.

Viggo Mortensen, who of course played Aragorn in the original trilogy, was also recently asked if he'd come back as his LOTR character. Not unlike McKellen, he shared he doesn’t know much about the project for the time being and would do it if he was “right for it” in terms of the age he is now, the story and to do right by the character.

As we learn more about this exciting movie and the cast that may or may not be returning, we'll keep you posted. As for what you can do right now, you can watch Ian McKellen in the Lord of the Rings movies now with a Max subscription. Ahead of The Hunt For Gollum, you can also stream Season 2 of Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power with an Amazon Prime subscription when it returns with more episodes on the 2024 TV schedule on August 29.