Sir Ian McKellen has publicly stated he has a strong interest in reprising the role of Gandalf in the forthcoming Lord of the Rings Amazon series. McKellen, of course, played Gandalf in the incredibly successful Lord of the Rings motion pictures. He returned for the follow-up fi`lms based on The Hobbit. McKellen remains so fond of the role that he doesn’t wish to see anyone else play Gandolf in the planned five-season series. Amazon probably would consider McKellen’s offer to play Gandolf again. Amazon could benefit in a host of ways by casting McKellen.
Amazon’s online streaming service has not been as successful as Netflix’s. Licensing a property such as Lord of the Rings could prove to be wise from both a financial and strategic perspective. Lord of the Rings has been clearly established as maintaining a strong fan base. The billions of dollars the motion pictures earned prove how strong the popularity is.
Can that popularity be extended to an Amazon series? That question cannot be answered until the series debuts and the financial impact is measured. The Lord of the Rings program won’t be debuting on HBO or a broadcast network. Potential audiences do need to be motivated to view the series on Amazon. Casting McKellen in the role may help draw in a large number of cinematic J..R.R. Tolkien fans.
Amazon truly does need a hit. McKellen could help Amazon achieve this goal, but Amazon may want to start completely fresh with the new series. This could mean going with another actor other than McKellen. Completely rebranding the new series with a completely new cast might allow Amazon’s project to escape from the shadow of the Peter Jackson films.
No matter who eventually plays Gandolf, McKellen does deserve credit for not wanting to give up his legendary role. Few actors possess the level of passion and commitment McKellen displays. Maybe this passion would be the biggest asset the Amazon series could acquire.