“And the answer, rapidly, was yes.”
There are few performances I admire more than Ian McKellen’s in The Fellowship of the Ring. His Gandalf, so fully realized in the actor’s portrayal, was enough to garner McKellen a nod from the Academy. With the character’s transition from Gandalf the Grey to Gandalf the White, there were obvious tradeoffs. While great in his own right, the later Gandalf was more straightforward and lacking in McKellen’s warm persona. The source material simply demanded it.
So perhaps the best thing to come out of this new slate of Hobbit films is that we’re going to be spending more time with Gandalf the Grey. IGN caught up with McKellen to ask him about returning to the role, first for Guillermo del Toro and later for the returning Peter Jackson. Also noteworthy, the interviewer asks McKellen what he thought of Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Magneto in X-Men: First Class. Speaking of class, it’s incredibly clear Ian McKellen has a lot of it: