Fanboys rejoice! Sir Ian McKellan (that's Magneto to you) is reprising his role as Gandalf in Guillermo Del Toro's Hobbit Part One and Hobbit Part Deux. Reuters quotes McKellan as saying " I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part and he confirmed that I would be reprising the role. Obviously, it's not a part that you turn down, I loved playing Gandalf." If memory serves me correctly, McKellan's Gandalf, Ian Holm's Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis' CGI Gollum characters are the only ones that overlap with the Lord of the Rings. This means those of you waiting for that super hot liquor-filled love scene between Samwise and Frodo will have to instead scour the Internet for that fanboy fiction that turns Mount Doom into Brokeback Mountain. Those Hobbits, they know how to par-tay!
Hopefully, del Toro will do a better job than Rankin and Bass with the material. Their animated Hobbit, which far too many of my schoolmates watched in lieu of reading the assigned book, isn't exactly terrible. It's what you'd expect from the guys who gave us a Baby New Year whose big ears rival Will Smith's and Barack Obama's. But if del Toro is so dedicated that he's moving to New Zealand for four years to work on the films with producer Peter Jackson, one can hope that level of dedication equals quality filmmaking. We'll know in 2010 when the first film comes out.
Speaking of which, why are there two movies in the first place? The Hobbit isn't that big a book, and its story doesn't seem equipped to be spread over two films. Is this greed on the part of the filmmakers? Perhaps New Line can do a cross-pollination of Warner Bros. franchises, and reveal in the two part film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that Gandalf and Dumbledore knew each other in the Biblical sense. I'm being facetious and silly, but I really do mean the next line you're about to read. If they don't include Leonard Nimoy's horrific "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" on the Hobbit soundtrack, I ain't going to see it.