Andy Serkis In For The Hobbit

And so is Ian McKellen!

After months of stories that made reference to Lord Of The Rings stalwarts Andy Serkis and Ian McKellen still being stuck in talks to reprise their Gollum and Gandalf roles for The Hobbit’s twin instalments, there is some good news: Serkis has locked down a deal to appear as everyone’s favourite twisted little miscreant. Master loves him!

And Gandalf? According to The Hollywood Reporter, McKellen has signed his own deal to return, which brings joy to our hearts. Especially since Gollum and Gandalf are, after all, legitimate players in the Hobbit story. Gandalf helps out Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarfs and, at one point, Bilbo makes his way into the haunted former hobbit’s lair and half-inches the Ring of Power from Gollum.

Given Serkis' close ties to Hobbit filmmaker Peter Jackson (he shoved the boundaries of performance capture with the director in King Kong and crops up as Captain Haddock in Tintin, which Jackson has overseen with Steven Spielberg), it was likely only a matter of time until he agreed to return to the Tolkien universe.

And slipped into the middle of the Deadline story is a tantalising reference to Christopher Lee negotiating to possibly return as Saruman and Ian Holm being sought to play the older version of Bilbo as seen in the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

The Hobbit films, with their sprawling, multi-continental cast, will kick off shooting next month in New Zealand.