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The New LOTR Movies Could See the Return of Aragorn and Gandalf

The New LOTR Movies Could See the Return of Aragorn and Gandalf


  • The Lord of the Rings
    franchise is making a big return with new films like
    The War of the Rohirrim
    The Hunt for Gollum
  • The Hunt for Gollum
    delves into the adventures of Aragorn and Gandalf, who are looking for Gollum and exploring various regions of Middle-Earth.
  • The return of characters like Gollum in
    The Hunt for Gollum
    raises questions about whether actors like Mortensen and McKellen will reprise their roles.

The Lord of the Rings franchise is currently prepping for a major return to the big screen. After the success – at least financially – of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films based on The Hobbit in the early 2010s, the world of Middle-Earth has not seen any new theatrical releases. While Amazon has begun developing its own separate Lord of the Rings series with The Rings of Power on Prime Video, the cinematic franchise that was started by Jackson in the early 2000s has been largely dormant.

However, that is all going to change very soon. This December, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim will hit theaters and be the first new film based on Tolkien’s writing in a decade. This film will be an animated prequel centered on Helm Hammerhand, the brutal King of Rohan who defended the horse nation from a myriad of threats several hundred years before the adventures of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. After that, we will receive the first new live-action Lord of the Rings film, tentatively titled The Hunt for Gollum, which will be directed by Andy Serkis and is scheduled for release in 2026.

Clearly, The Hunt for Gollum will bring back the eponymous gangly creature Serkis brought to life via motion capture throughout the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Gollum won’t be the only familiar face in the movie, though. The film will be adapting a smaller adventure that occurs just before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, one that primarily centers on the characters of Aragorn and Gandalf. Here’s how we expect these two iconic characters will make their return to the big screen.

The Hunt for Gollum Story, Explained

The core adventure of The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum has been told in small portions throughout Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth novels. In short, after Gandalf begins to grow suspicious of the magic ring Bilbo found in Gollum’s cave, he decides to seek out Gollum to learn more about the mysterious ring. In this endeavor, he recruits Aragorn to help, as the ranger (and eventually king) was one of the best outdoorsmen and trackers in Middle-Earth. The two of them – both together and individually – set out to find Gollum, which becomes an adventure that lasts several years.


How Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum Found Its Perfect Director

Peter Jackson has directed every live-action Lord of the Rings film to date, but Andy Serkis is a worthy successor with The Hunt for Gollum.

This adventure brings both Aragorn and Gandalf through many of the eastern regions of Middle-Earth, including Mirkwood, the Dead Marshes, Gondor, Lothlórien, and more. Ultimately, after Aragorn captures Gollum on his own accord, the two of them travel north again and return to the Woodland Realm of the Elves ruled by Thranduil. In the meantime, Gandalf researches more about the Ring by reading Isildur’s personal writings in the depths of Minas Tirith, and Sauron begins his early Third Age assaults upon Middle-Earth by waging war upon Thranduil’s kingdom.

Would Viggo Mortensen and Ian McKellen Return to The Lord of the Rings?

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

One of the biggest questions surrounding The Hunt for Gollum is who will return to reprise their roles in the film. This movie is firmly set within the same continuity as Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, with Serkis reprising the role of Gollum in addition to serving as the film’s director. However, given that Aragorn and Gandalf are such central characters in this story, there has been a lot of talk about whether Viggo Mortensen and Ian McKellen will reprise their roles as well.

McKellen has previously shown a willingness to return to the role of Gandalf, as he appeared in all three Hobbit films. However, Mortensen reportedly turned down an offer to return as Aragorn in the Hobbit films as well. That said, the Aragorn actor has seemingly come around to the idea, as he recently stated he would be open to returning for The Hunt for Gollum if the story is right for his character and he is still the right fit for the role. Speaking with GQ, he said, “I like playing that character. I learned a lot playing the character. I enjoyed it a lot. I would only do it if I was right for it in terms of, you know, the age I am now and so forth. I would only do it if it was right for the character. It would be silly to do it otherwise.”

While the prospect of McKellen and Mortensen returning to these roles once again may be exciting, Mortensen raises a crucial point to consider. With The Hunt for Gollum set just a few years before The Fellowship of the Ring, the Aragorn in the film will be slightly younger than Mortensen’s version ever was.

Now that he is 25 years older – and five years older than McKellen was when filming The Fellowship of the Ring Mortensen may have aged out of playing the role in this particular story. While the argument could be made that Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema could digitally de-age him for the part, that technology has rarely worked in the past, and Mortensen doesn’t strike us as the kind of actor who would be interested in that.

Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis May Have to Recast Aragorn and Gandalf

For Gandalf, an argument could be made for McKellen to return, as the wandering wizard is a very old character in Middle-Earth. If anything, McKellen was aged up a bit with his makeup for the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, it may seem strange to see McKellen’s Gandalf interacting with a version of Aragorn that is not played by Mortensen. Because of this, it may be the best route to recast both characters simultaneously, allowing for two new actors to step in and establish their own chemistry together.

While some fans may believe that recasting McKellen and Mortensen for this film would be blasphemous, it’s important to do what is best for the characters as they are presented in the story. While we would be over the moon about seeing McKellen and Mortensen sharing the screen together in these roles again, that reunion just doesn’t seem to match the tone of the story being told in The Hunt for Gollum. Many other franchises with iconic characters have been recast with younger actors that have become just as definitive. Star Wars, for example, has successfully recast characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mon Mothma, and Lando Calrissian with actors that are now beloved in those roles.



Lord of the Rings: 12 of the Most Well-Cast Characters in the Franchise

The Lord of the Rings is full of great characters and performances, here are some of the actors that best fit J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic characters.

Plenty of actors out there today could step into Aragorn and Gandalf’s roles in The Hunt for Gollum. One name that fan circles have already been tossing around for Aragorn is Cosmo Jarvis, who is coming off the incredible praise he received for his performance in the FX series Shōgun. As for Gandalf, Kevin Kline would be a solid choice, but a more outside-the-box pick could be Daniel Craig, who has shifted into a more experimental point in his career after his run as James Bond.

No matter who is cast in these roles, fans can be reassured by the fact that they will once again be chosen (at least in part) by Jackson, who is producing The Hunt for Gollum. He clearly understands the roles well enough to select McKellen and Mortensen in the first place. If they need to be recast, there’s no one better to be at the forefront of that process. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is streaming on Max.

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