Can we really be just about five months out from The Hobbit going before cameras? So thinks Sir Ian McKellan, who is returning to play Gandalf the Grey in the prequel* to The Lord of the Rings. While going around stumping for the new The Prisoner TV series, McKellan has been yapping about coming back to Middle Earth; while he’s always been happy to chat about the upcoming movie this press tour has him having actually seen the script. And liking it.

“I think the script, because I have read it, plays very much to Guillermo’s strengths, as I’ve seen them.” So spake Gandalf! He also says that this time the script was very specifically written to his strengths as the character.  “As Peter has said, they loved writing Gandalf [for The Hobbit] because they knew who they were writing him for,” he told SciFi Wire. “There are a lot of characters in The Hobbit including, crucially, Bilbo, and they don’t know who’s going to play Bilbo. So it’s extremely attractive that this part has been written for me. The other Gandalf was written for, well, just as Gandalf. There’s lots for me to enjoy, in all sorts of ways. And I couldn’t be happier. But I’m sworn to secrecy. I’m not to say anything at all about the script.”

It’s exciting to finally see this coming together. As for what’s a secret – well, I’m assuming that what McKellan can’t spill is how the book is split in half and how Gandalf’s extra-curricular activities – his trip to Dol Guldur, where he discovers that Sauron has risen again – fit into it all.

* is that even the right word when the book came out before Lord of the Rings? Is a prequel only a sequel that takes place before the first? Would The Hobbit just be the companion to The Lord of the Rings? Oh, damn you semantics.