Ian McKellen Open to Returning as Gandalf for Gollum Movie, If Still Alive

Veteran Actor Hints at Potential Last Hurrah as Lord of the Rings Wizard

Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum

The prospect of Ian McKellen returning as the iconic wizard Gandalf in the upcoming Lord of the Rings movie The Hunt for Gollum remains alive, but hangs by a tenuous thread – the actor’s own mortality. In a candid recent interview, the 85-year-old thespian bluntly stated he would consider reprising his career-defining role with one morbid condition: “If I’m alive.”

While promoting his new theatrical production on London’s West End, McKellen was askeddirectly about potentially joining the cast of the forthcoming prequel film exploring Gollum’s backstory. He acknowledged being aware of whispers that Gandalf could appear, but clarified “there is no script, there is no offer, there is no plan” for his involvement yet.

Despite the uncertainty, McKellen didn’t dismiss the idea of donning Gandalf’s gray robes and wizard’s hat once more should he receive the proverbial call to adventure. However, his interest came cloaked in stark realism about his advancing age.

“Every time I look at scripts these days, I feel it might be my last job,” the veteran actor reflected. “Life doesn’t go on forever.”

McKellen previously embodied the wise and formidable Gandalf across both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies directed by Peter Jackson, who is producing The Hunt for Gollum. His most recent turn came in 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies at age 75.

He’s not the only original Lord of the Rings star open to a return engagement. Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn, has also expressed interest in reprising that role – provided a reasonable justification for the character being two decades older.

Plot details remain scarce on The Hunt for Gollum, which was announced last month and is still in early script development. Director Andy Serkis will star as the wretched, ring-obsessed character he helped bring to life through performance capture. Jackson has teased exploring elements of Gollum’s story that he “didn’t have time to cover” in his previous Middle-earth epics.

Should McKellen get that elusive call to be part of the new film’s sprawling cast, it could represent one final, poignant opportunity to conclude his legendary tenure as Gandalf the Grey turned White. But whether that swan song happens may ultimately come down to his own mortality.

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