In my Hobbit Report today for JRR Tolkien Examiner, I discussed the casting so far for the two The Hobbit films to be released in 2011 and 2012. Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Andy Serkis (Gollum), and Hugo Weaving (Elrond Halfelven) are officially on board.
Sir Ian Holm may or may not play Bilbo for health reasons, but he will at least narrate. And Sir Christopher Lee may return as Saruman, if his scenes can be filmed in England (also for health reasons).
Anyway, all this brought me back to speculating over what characters will appear in The Hobbit, and how they will be cast. Let’s run down the characters.
Characters Appearing in Both The Hobbit (the Book) and The Lord of the Rings (the Movies):
All of these characters must appear in the movies, and would ideally be played by the same actors.
Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm). If Sir Ian is up to it, then he absolutely should play Bilbo. Yes, he’s too old – but he was too old in the film trilogy, as Bilbo was not supposed to have aged in all the intervening years due to the effects of The Ring.
Gandalf Greyhame (Ian McKellen). Obviously. The Two Sir Ians had wonderful chemistry in The Fellowship of the Ring, and we could see a great deal more of it in The Hobbit. Plus, if they replaced Ian McKellen, I’m afraid it would be with Michael Gambon, and that would suck.
Elrond Halfelven (Hugo Weaving). This is where Elrond is introduced, and it would be great to see a slightly less dark and careworn Elrond, the cheerful and wise host of the Last Homely House, at least in the scenes before he learns that The Necromancer is Sauron returned.
Gollum (Andy Serkis). As if anyone else could play him. Gollum in possession of The Ring (or at least, so he thinks) should be much more confident, and if possible nastier, than the desperate Ring-less Gollum of The Lord of the Rings.
Characters Appearing in The Lord of the Rings (the Movies), Who Could Logically Appear in The Hobbit (the Movies):
These characters are not mentioned in The Hobbit, but are part of the back-story, could make cameo appearances without changing anything important.
Legolas Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom). Legolas’ father, Thranduil, is a character in The Hobbit, although he is known only as The Elvenking. It makes perfect sense that the immortal Legolas would have been present when Thorin is interrogated by The Elvenking; he could also have fought at the Battle of Five Armies, although please let it be without surfing on his shield. It would be nice if Legolas were portrayed by an actual actor – but Bloom originated the role, so he can reprise it if he likes. In fact, thousands of teenage girls will insist on it.
Galadriel (Cate Blanchett). Galadriel does not appear, nor is she even alluded to, in The Hobbit. But she is a member of The White Council. And Gandalf tells Bilbo that the White Council has driven The Necromancer out of Mirkwood. In The Lord of the Rings, we learn that The Necromancer was Sauron, and that his flight from Dol Guldur was a feint – he returned to Mordor, and began preparations for The War of the Ring.
Guillermo del Toro intends to film the battle between the White Council and The Necromancer, so we may get to see Galadriel do more than read minds and give away brooches, and actually kick some ass.
Saruman (Christopher Lee). Also not mentioned in The Hobbit, but a member of the White Council, along with Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond and Círdan the Shipwright. I wonder if he can make Sauron spin on his head.
Arwen Evenstar (Liv Tyler). Of course Arwen was quite alive – she was 2700 years old when she met Aragorn – but technically, she was living in Lothlórien with Galadriel when Bilbo first came to Rivendell. Still, she could be there to meet him; visiting home, maybe.
Gimli, son of Glóin (John Rhys-Davies). Glóin is one of the main characters of The Hobbit, and it’s entirely possible that his son Gimli fought in The Battle of Five Armies (he was 62 years old), although he probably shouldn’t run into Legolas (or it should have been mentioned in the trilogy – like Chewbacca never mentioning he used to lug Yoda around on his back).
Characters Appearing in The Lord of the Rings (the Movies), Who Could Logically Appear in The Hobbit (the Movies), Who We Don’t Care About:
Well, except me. I’d care.
Círdan the Shipwright (Michael Elsworth). Oh yes, Círdan was in both The Fellowship of the Ring (briefly, during the prologue, wearing an Elven ring) and The Return of the King (briefly, at the very end, at the Grey Havens). He was played by an extra named Michael Elsworth. One assumes that for The Hobbit, an actor will be hired, assuming the character isn’t just cut entirely. Then he can go hang out with Glorfindel, the Prince of Dol Amroth and the Sons of Elrond. And Tom Bombadil, although hanging out with him would be excruciating.
Gaffer Gamgee (Norman Forsey). Sam’s father; appears briefly at the Green Dragon Inn in Fellowship. He’s known to have been alive when his future boss, Bilbo Baggins, left The Shire, and he may have been a very young gardener’s apprentice.
Celeborn, Lord of Lórien (Marton Csokas). Galadriel’s husband. Doesn’t appear in The Hobbit; doesn’t do anything important in The Lord of the Rings; doesn’t do anything important in the film trilogy. Could meet Bilbo, though. He was around. Doing nothing.
Characters Who May Appear in The Hobbit (the Movies), Who Really Have No Business There:
Aragorn, son of Arathorn (Viggo Mortensen). There has been talk that Aragorn would appear in The Hobbit. At the time of the Quest of Erebor, Aragorn was 10 years old; his name was Estel, and he wasn’t aware of his own lineage. But he did live in Rivendell. In fact, considering Bilbo’s “friendship” with Frodo, and Frodo’s “friendship” with Sam, this might be the time for Bilbo to make “friends” with Aragorn. Thus explaining why Aragorn doesn’t sleep with a girl for another 70 years.Tags: Aragorn, Arwen, Bilbo Baggins, Cate Blanchett, Celeborn, Christopher Lee, Círdan the Shipwright, Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, Gimli, Glóin, Gollum, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies, Legolas, Liv Tyler, Orlando Bloom, Saruman, The Hobbit (film), The Lord of the Rings (movie trilogy), Thranduil, Viggo Mortensen