Ian McKellen Thinks Peter Jackson Could Return to Middle-Earth
In just over a couple weeks, the final chapter of The Hobbit trilogy arrives in theaters with The Battle of the Five Armies (watch the final trailer for the film). And while this is being touted as the defining chapter of the Middle-Earth legend, one of the franchise's stars who has been in J.R.R. Tolkien's world brought to life on the big screen since The Fellowship of the Ring thinks that director Peter Jackson may return to this fantasy world. Sir Ian McKellen, who plays the wise wizard Gandalf the Grey, told BBC (via THR) that he doesn't necessarily think this film will be the end of Jackson's playtime in Middle-Earth. Read on!
McKellen says, "I was told by Peter, in 2001, that that was the end, that it was all over. Here we are 13 years later. So I don't believe necessarily this is the end of the journey." Now that likely doesn't mean that McKellen has any inside information on Jackson developing some kind of other project adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's, but after working with the director for so long, maybe he just has in inclination that he'll want to do something else in Middle-Earth. Now you're probably wondering just what Jackson has left to do.
Well, Tolkien also (partially) wrote The Silmarillion, a sort of pre-history to Middle-Earth. However, bringing that book to the big screen wouldn't be anywhere near as easy as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Speaking at a press conference at Comic-Con over the summer, Jackson fielded a question about adapting that particular book and he said:
"J.R.R. Tolkien sold the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the 1960s. The Silmarillion wasn’t written yet. It wasn’t even written in his lifetime. It was written by him and, partly, his son finished it after his death and published it after the professor had died. So, the film rights are with them, and the estate doesn’t have any interest in discussing film rights with anybody. So that’s the situation there. They’re not as untangled as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit."
It's no secret that the Tolkien estate isn't nearly as big of a fan of Jackson's big screen adaptations of the iconic authors classic books as the millions of fans around the world who turn out for them every year (read more about the conflict between Tolkien's estate and Hollywood here). That doesn't mean that bringing The Silmarillion to the big screen is impossible, but it certainly doesn't sound likely. But even if Jackson doesn't return to Middle-Earth, his two film trilogies have created quite the legacy and McKellen says, "The movies will go on being seen, people will come to them freshly for the first time…The thing goes on living." And then someone will probably remake them in 20 years. What do you think?