It seems Sir Ian McKellen is not quite ready to be done with Middle Earth. During a recent appearance on Graham Norton’s BBC Radio 2 show with Jenny Seagrove (the two of them were promoting the West End version of ‘The Exorcist’ that they are in together), McKellen bristled when asked whether he would be annoyed at having another Gandalf around, responding:
“What do you mean, another Gandalf?…I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7000 years old, so I’m not too old.”
However, it seems to me that Amazon is looking to go in an all new direction with the series, at least if you read between the lines of Sharon Tal Yguado’s (Amazon’s new head of scripted programming) statements on the new series:
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. We are honoured to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”
Key word here is her use of the word “new,” which to me means everything will be new, from the look, sound, music, all the way to the actors, including Sir Ian McKellen. While I loved him in the film series, I just do not see the folks at Amazon bringing him back for this show, not only would it make the new series a bit too similar to Peter Jackson’s saga (after all, Gandalf was in EVERY film), but they might also be worried about confusing some fans who might see the same actor playing Gandalf and think the new shows exist in the same continuity as the old movies.
But I could be wrong, and they could hire McKellen just to bring in some of the more skeptical fans who are not sure if this series is going to work (including yours truly). You never know, but feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.