‘Hobbit’ Delays Could Cost Us Ian McKellen As Gandalf

Published 5 years ago by

the hobbit gandalf the grey ian mckellen Hobbit Delays Could Cost Us Ian McKellen As Gandalf

Sir Ian McKellen was recently on New Zealand’s Good Morning Show and, in usual Ian McKellen fashion, dropped a bomb on fans of The Hobbit as a-matter-of-factly as he would talk about the weather.

The piece of info that McKellen revealed was dire: the window of opportunity for the actor to reprise his role as Gandalf The Grey in The Hobbit is quickly closing, and if MGM continues to delay the film, McKellen may soon be forced to bow out altogether.

Said Sir Ian:

“Well, I’m not under contract and my time is running out and I’m enjoying working in the theater and frankly, I would like to race after doing ‘Waiting For Godot,’ get on with doing another play but we’ll have to see. I don’t give the producers the impression that I’m sitting waiting.”

You can watch a video of the interview by going HERE.

McKellen’s sentiment pretty much echoes the exact fears we here at Screen Rant (and a lot of you fans out there) have been expressing for months. We all know that a Hobbit movie is going to happen (the property is too lucrative for it not to), but the danger with this MGM bankruptcy situation is that the delays could force this planned version of the The Hobbit to be scrapped until the movie can be attempted later, once MGM is either in the clear or has become a fading Hollywood memory.

In positive news, Spyglass Entertainment may soon take control of MGM, and early word is that Spyglass would transform the troubled studio into a production-only company. Under such re-structuring, MGM would then sell off its film properties to distributors – meaning The Hobbit could land at WB/New Line, as that studio is already helping MGM finance the film.

the hobbit smaug 570x421 Hobbit Delays Could Cost Us Ian McKellen As Gandalf

I get that business is business and that (from a business standpoint) it would be foolish for MGM to get rid of their most valued properties (The Hobbit and the James Bond series) until they know for certain that they’re dead in the water. Of course, we as movie fans are losing in the process.

The MGM delays have already forced Guillermo del Toro off The Hobbit; now Ian McKellen is getting restless and word is Peter Jackson is losing patience too. I think it goes without saying that this project is looking more and more like a cluster bomb disaster with each passing day. Gotta love movie studios (irony alert!).

What do you think about McKellen possibly leaving The Hobbit? Would that be the sign of the end for this film, in your opinion? Is there someone else you could see stepping in to play Gandalf if McKellen can’t do it (Patrick Stewart)? Let us know in the comments.

Stay updated on The Hobbit by following us on Twitter: @screenrant

Source: YouTube via The Playlist

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  1. if mckellen leaves this movie is dead to me

    • Hear hear!

    • What if Sean Connery would come out of retirement to play Gandalf? That’d be a pretty sweet deal!

      • Sean Connery would do a good job but it would still be disappointing. I mean, imagine if McKlellen took over Connery’s role in the Indiana Jones series? Sure he would do a good job but it wouldn’t be the same. Also, since Connery didn’t come out of retirement to be in the new Indiana movie then he probably wouldn’t consider it for a whole new character.

  2. Thanks MGM for killing this movie for all of us. Del Toro’s departure was bad enough. If Ian walks this project is as good as dead. Even if we eventually get someone else’s version of The Hobbit sometime down the road there will always be the feeling that it could have been so much more. I, for one, am not interested in that experience and it my cost whoever makes the film the price of my movie ticket.

    • To be clear, this makes me so angry.

  3. This movie would suck without Mckellen! All i want is be taken back to middle earth and watch another epic adventure without thinking that it could of been better. And if Mckellen isn’t gonna be in it then I will always have that in the back of my mind… He brought that role to life and NO ONE could ever match his amazing performance as Gandolf!

  4. This uses me off!Damn red tape big wig procrastinate irs These jerks have no interests in great quality films or top notch actors its all about money.this will kill off the Hobbit .and i cannot see anyone else to replace Mckellen..after all he is quite geriatric who can blame him of he bows out due to this time delay ..There is such small window here and its cosing which cold close out what could been a monumental film rivaling the LOR films.

    • if jackson is getting restless…the project is doomed..without these two the film might as well never be made at all, freakin MGM…just die off already will ya, stop ruining potentially good projects in the works.

  5. Wow, this dream is rapidly becoming a nightmare…


  6. We really couldn’t blame Sir McKellen for feeling this way because as much as he wants to do it, he has other priorities to and he too wants move on, in his case theater. And yeah, thanks MGM for gradually poisoning us.

  7. If McKellen leaves, this movie loses it’s heart as far as I’m concerned. That would be terrible. The only man who I could imagine playing Gandalf besides McKellen is, in fact, Patrick Stewart. I believe he could pull off a great Gandalf, but then again… We need McKellen.

    I hope MGM dies fast so that Spyglass can take over. I want that movie.

  8. Guys if he leaves they will still do it….they replaced Dumbledore so it could still work…..it would be funny if they get Michael Gambon though hahaha!!!!

    • um, the only reason Dumbledore was replaced was because richard harris died LOL….

      • Richard Harris would have made an amazing Gandalf.

    • michael is the worst actor for a wizard i have ever seen…i like richard harris better although it is not his fault he died..however they should have kept looking for someone else…even christopher plummer would have been an amazing choice

  9. No one can play Gandalf if Sir Ian doesn’t. The movie(s)? that result will bomb at the box office, particularly without Peter Jackson as part of the group.

    • i agree mckellan IS gandalf but if he did in fact have to move on and there must be another choice..the only person i could see as being gandalf would be christopher plummer..it still would not be as good as ian but it would be a great second choice

  10. Well I’m not a huge fan,but anything will work for me……

  11. I’m of the mind that all actors (including McKellen) can be replaced in roles, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    Anyway, MGM needs to just sell their rights to The Hobbit to WB (although it won’t happen). If that happened, then the films could go into productin right away, and begin shooting on the rumored date of January. Of course it would be a huge loss for MGM, but it would also earn them some funds to stay alive a bit longer to help get things settled.

  12. @Anthony
    I know man,I’m just saying that any actor could get get replaced,it worked in Harry Potter,so it could work here….BTW rest in piece Richard Harriss:(

    • Ian is widely known for the role of the beloved wizard, he has established himself in the role in three film, its like replacing harrison ford in the Indy role, cant happen.

      • Sean Connery was James Bond in for numerous films, and he was replaced. In fact, several actors have portrayed Bond since then. *Any* role can be re-cast, but it’s more difficult for some (like this one).

        • bond is the one exception…. because of the insane amount of bond movies over the years it would be impossible to keep the same actor. roger moore cant do it he is to old .. sean connery is to old…even pierce brosnan is looking to old for the part now..so they had to bring in a new guy yet again. but when there is only two or three movies then it is dumb and looks weird to recast people.

  13. If they do not use Sir Ian and decide on using low budget producers and directors instead of PJ then all of us including die hard LOR fans should boycott MGM,seriously..sad thing is Sir Ian is old and his time limited the cold hard facts.net sucks ..MGM sucks..they will probably throw some kid of sputum of a Hobbit like presentation all filled with really bad CGI and throw in3d and naive dummies will trow away their money to see it..it will be a big turd bomb!

  14. I feel like this movie isn’t going to get off the ground, or if it does, it’s going to be a major disappointment.

  15. This film is losing way too much steam to be on the tracks of profitability. MGM should look really hard because the property is losing value! The dragon burning up the treasure seems fitting at this point! If Ian and Jackson leave what do they have? A script and half built sets and probably a bunch of debt. What you wanna bet meters behind the scenes are running still and the costs are only going up. Inflation alone might kill it! Inflation, the dragon. How would that be for a nasty revelation?

    Hurry the Heil up Spyglass or you won’t have a bit of treasure left to recover, its melting, melting… :P

  16. Disastrous news.

  17. @Matt
    Totally agree!!!!

  18. In response to Ricky’s comment, I actually would like the idea of Michael Gambon playing Gandolf. I was a little hesitant when he took over for Dumbledor (sorry if I butcher spelling) but he quickly grew on me. I think he would do Gandolf justice.

  19. @Joseph
    I know,he was a great Dumbledore,so he could actually do a great gandalf,and Matt,I agree anyone could get replaced,though sometimes it’s not wise to……but in this case it is possible,just not wise lol!!!

  20. really sad, but it’s not all MGM’s fault. Sure they could have sold out and released horrible films, with horrible actors, with horrible CGI about teen vamps. …made it for 70 mil and gross 300 mil in a week. But holding on to the \golden age\ of film makeing way too long and refusing to sell out has cost them.. Look at the state of the world from what a former President did to it. Spyglass hopefully is the future for this film. Sir Ian is fantastic in everything he does, a true craftsman, and the stage is where he got his chops and seems most happy. But the way he translates to the screen is just amazing. We are still holding out hope.

  21. What does moderation preview mean guys?!? When I comment it takes awhile and it says moderation preview:/

  22. On one hand we have just plain stupid, watered down, strategic moves by film studios to attract audiences. On the other hand we have this outrageous news that it is the rare case where the thing that would attract more fans and make more money is also the best desicion in the artistical sense to make. What’s next? There’ll be no Smaug?


  24. No single actor overshadows a franchise.

    Timothy Dalton would be fine as Gandalf.

    • omg…HAHAHAHAHA please tell me i read that wrong??

  25. It would be truly unfortunate to lose McKellen as Gandalf. However, if that is the case I am sure they will be able to recast the character and the film continue its course. Just hope it’s a good one!

  26. all i can say is Jackson,and all who have the power to bring this film about ”Dont examine the pros and cons just do it, the surest way to make something impossible is to keep putting it of, if the rough road dont help you and the smooth one doesint which one are you gona take..c’mon make this film happen,,, there has been enough to much indecisiveness,, its on , it not on, I SUPOSE ITS A CASE OF WELL THE STUDIOS USE TO BE UNDECIDED BUT THEIR NOT SURE NOW POLICY all us fans want this with del toro and Ian what in the name of God
    whats going on… mercy mercy me,, oh oh the hobbits not what it use to be, oh mercy mercy me the Hobbit might not get seen on the movie screens oh poor gandelf is not waht he seems wo oh mercy mercy me,


  27. This is too bad. Come on they got to make this movie happen.

    • Or we could all just go and read the BOOK! Books are better. :-)

  28. We are so tired of waiting.. I wish i could still see this movie soon…

  29. The first thing to do is cut it down to one movie, a 310 page book does not merrit two 2 hour movies, also glandalf is younger (cant remember how long the gap between the books are) in the hobbit and you can recast anyone as long as there good actors, Mckellen would be good but not essential.

    • You are forgetting that Gandalf does not age. Not to mention the fact that he is not even a man, but chooses the appearance as an old man) so it was only going to be natural for McKellen to be Gandalf again and look virtually the same age.

      If he were recast as a younger “man”, it would be going against the idea that Tolkien had for him altogether.

      • Fair enough.

        • good points dana…good to see someone that gets it other than me

      • haha i was just saying something similar to that just now..im surprised people dont even think about aragorn either he is 87 and looks like is 40 or something..so those that live long lives dont appear to age that much

    • ya but your forgetting that gandalf lives a lot longer then humans…even aragorn lives longer ..he is 87!!!!! but looks like he is in his 40′s …so yes gandalf may have been younger in the hobbit but im sure he would still look around the as he did in lord of the rings..i mean he has lived hundreds of years and looks 67 so in this particular case his age has nothing to do with how he looks. so ian mckellen would still be the best choice.