Ian McKellen Almost Did Not Reprise Gandalf Role In The Hobbit

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Ian McKellen as Gandolf in New Line Cinema's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'
 -- New Line Cinema
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Ian McKellen as Gandolf in New Line Cinema's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' -- New Line Cinema

Gandalf the Grey was almost Gandalf the Goner!

Ian McKellen says he was hesitant about reprising his iconic wizard role in the upcoming "Hobbit" trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.

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"It was a little like going back to something that wasn't necessarily going to be particularly challenging," the 73-year-old actor told The Hollywood Reporter. "Gandalf is still inside me, as it were, so the business of getting to know a new character - I was sort of going to be robbed of that."

The actor said that thinking about the fans convinced him to return to Middle Earth again with the same gusto he brought to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

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"You felt, how many millions of people are waiting for it?" he told THR. "They wouldn't understand if you weren't as keen as they were."

The actor hinted that the Gandalf fans will see in "The Hobbit" will be up to his pre-Gandalf the White shenanigans.

"Peter Jackson and I much prefer Gandalf the Grey, who was a man who did manage to enjoy himself," he added.

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"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits theaters on December 14, 2012, followed by "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," on December 13, 2013 and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," on July 18, 2014.

-- Jesse Spero

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Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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