Sir Ian McKellen has been pretty vocal about wanting to reprise his role as Gandalf the Grey in a future adaptation of The Hobbit. And that enthusiasm hasn't diminished. Over on his official website, where he graciously answers fan questions on everything from Gandalf to Shakespeare, he reaffirmed that he would happily return to Middle Earth. I can't resist posting the entire exchange because of the brilliant Tolkien quote and the mental picture of McKellen reading it:

Q: So has it come to pass, good Sir McKellen? Shall the dreaming masses with their musty books and their blackened pipes at long last hear those immortal words issue from under that famous nose? "Yes, yes, my dear sir --and I know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!" Looking about, I find I share the same hopes as millions of others, so I ask, a single query in a chorus ... Will you again be our Gandalf in The Hobbit now that the deal is settled?

A: Yes I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor. I've just read your quote out loud -- fabulous speech.
A second fan essentially repeated the same question (but without the fabulous quote) and McKellen gave a very cheerful answer. "Encouragingly, Peter and Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!"

I cannot imagine del Toro snubbing the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, or the entire LOTR fanbase by casting anyone else. There's no question as to who will be playing Gandalf, and I dream of the day in 2010 when I will see him sneakily drawing a rune on Bilbo Baggins' green door.

[via ComingSoon.net]