It's official -- Ian McKellen will return to his Oscar-nominated role as Gandalf the wizard in the two-pic Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit, to be directed by Peter Jackson.
It has long been speculated that McKellen would be a part of the film, but the project has been through numerous ups and down in the last several years, including the departure of director Guillermo del Toro.
Del Toro left the project last May amid MGM's financial struggles. In June, Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, came back on board to direct the film for New Line and Warner Bros.
In addition to McKellen, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, and Andy Serkis have also signed on to reprise their roles. Filming will begin in February.