Jackson and McKellen push for Gandalf
It seems that both Ian McKellen and Peter Jackson want Gandalf to return to The Hobbit, and why not? He's captured the role so perfectly. However it's not a done deal, not as much as Guillermo del Toro as director it would seem.
For McKellen writes on his own site that del Toro is indeed the director of The Hobbit, something that I thought we were still waiting for confirmation on.
I can't honestly see anyone else playing this role though, and there's no other role in the original film trilogy that is so iconic as Gandalf and the performance by Ian McKellen. Of course Christopher Lee as Saruman, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Andy Serkis as Gollum and for me Liv Tyler as Arwen are all running close behind, but I can't really see anyone but McKellen as Gandalf now, can you?
On his official site he makes two posts which Rope of Silicon have highlighted that show that he and the producer are keen to see him reprise his role as Gandalf, but the director has not yet confirmed – and note that he says director.
When asked about reprising the famous role he said:
“...if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor...
...Encouragingly, Peter and Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!”
That was also a very definite statement on the Guillermo del Toro appointment as director, which is the first real confirmation of the news that he was in negotiations. No real surprise though is it? He would be a great choice for the film, although it's fair to say we'll see something a little darker and creepier than Lord of the Rings.