Published On: Tue, Jan 11th, 2011

Ian McKellen will return as Gandalf and Andy Serkis returns as Gollum for ‘The Hobbit’

The Guardian noted great news for Lord of the Rings fans: Sir Ian McKellen will reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming two-part Rings prequel, The Hobbit. Additionally, Andy Serkis will also be in New Zealand next month, signed up to return as Gollum, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Both characters play major roles in JRR Tolkien’s earlier film adaptation, fans were at odds with the actors being absent from the earlier casting reports.

The return of Gandalf will mark McKellen’s first starring live-action turn on the big screen in five years. The actor has mainly involved himself in voice work for film and television since 2006 comic-book movie X-Men: The Last Stand.

Serkis, meanwhile, has been busy with supporting roles in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and Simon Pegg comedy Burke and Hare, as well as a star turn playing Ian Dury in rock biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.

McKellen and Serkis are not the only Lord of the Rings alumni set to appear in The Hobbit., joining the likes of Elijah Wood (Frodo), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas), who have all been confirmed to make some sort of appearance.

None of those characters appeared in Tolkien’s book, which sees Frodo’s older cousin Bilbo travelling with a band of dwarves and Gandalf to liberate a hoard of treasure from the sly old dragon, Smaug.

The Sun reported recently that Bloom had been offered more than $1m to return as Legolas for a two-minute cameo.

“The Hobbit” Comic-Con poster/Warner Bros

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