Ian McKellen, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, burst into tears while filming The Hobbit

The trilogy of The Lord of the Rings It’s a very crazy thing. It doesn’t matter how many years pass. The books are absolute marvels and the films are an exceptional audiovisual spectacle, especially in the long version and in the cinema… or failing that with a good television and sound system. You might like it more or less, but I don’t think there’s much debate about it.

Director Peter Jackson did what was considered impossible: adapt the works of JRR Tolkien into three films that could accommodate the main events. Because not even the 228 minutes of The Fellowship of the Ring 235 minutes of The two towers and 263 minutes of The king’s return They managed to fully capture the vastness of Tolkien’s universe.

Later, The Hobbit trilogy filled in the gaps that predated The Lord of the Rings, and more recently, Amazon’s Rings of Power series returned to a time well before what was seen in the two trilogies. And he intends to continue to fill the gaps in his season 2. In addition, the film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim has its premiere scheduled for 2024. All the latest works released have had the same problem: they have not not lived up to the original trilogy for many fans… and for certain actors.

It’s not for less. We are talking about a trilogy that has 17 Oscars, 11 of which belong to The Return of the King, and a box office that exceeds three billion dollars. And I say more! The video game The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King It is considered a gem, a cult release and we will never get tired of asking for a remake. Now that we all speak the same language, let’s get down to business!

Ian McKellen’s tears during the filming of The Hobbit

Actor Ian McKellen’s career is long. He has well-known interpretations such as Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes and Magneto in X-Men from Marvel, but nothing compared to his role in El The Lord of the Rings like Gandalf. He is the most famous wizard in the history of entertainment along with Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore in Harry Potter . The character hides such a great past that it’s almost a crime that many fans don’t know about him… although that’s a topic for another post.

Mithrandir among the elves, Tharkún for the dwarves; Olórin was in my youth in the West that no one remembers, Incánus in the South, Gandalf in the North; I never go east.

It’s no secret that the filming of The Lord of the Rings spending 438 days in New Zealand was an incredible and unique experience. Many actors continue to remember her fondly. So it won’t surprise anyone that McKellen jumped at the chance when asked to play the magician again in The Hobbit . Its director was going to be Guillermo del Toro, but he abandoned it and the film fell into the hands of Jackson.

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The Hobbit trilogy has many fans (server included), but it’s fair to admit that it has many more detractors and its success isn’t even close to that of The Lord of the Rings. Scholars, critics and fans have studied the case for years and come up with a long list of reasons. The two most relevant are:

  • Lord of the Rings had a absurd amount of content adapt. The division into trilogy and the length of each film responds to a need and not to commercial whims or those of Peter Jackson. The Hobbit didn’t need such a long expansion, but it ended up becoming a trilogy of films to follow in the shadow of its predecessor. And that didn’t sit well with him.
  • There the digital age It greatly influenced The Hobbit and marked a huge contrast to The Lord of the Rings. Real natural locations and rural areas, breathtaking panoramic views of real landscapes and many practical effects have been replaced by CG and green screens.


This last point particularly bothered Ian McKellen (Gandalf). It was back in 2018 when the actor told TimeOut and Contact Music (via Filmstarts) about his experience filming The Hobbit: “I wasn’t happy. Maybe it’s just my impression, but I don’t remember of no green screen in The Lord of the Rings. If Gandalf was on top of a mountain, I was there, on the mountain.

McKellen admitted during the interview that He broke down in tears on set from sadness and disappointment. what he felt when seeing the contrast between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. “To film a scene with the dwarves and the great Gandalf, we couldn’t be on the same set. The only thing I had was 13 photos of the dwarves in dimly lit stands, and each time the one of them spoke, the respective speech the light would flash”.

The actor’s conclusion was clear: “That’s not why I became an actor.” Following these statements, Peter Jackson admitted that McKellen suffered from many limitations and a lack of real-life interactions when playing Gandalf. In a way, the magician knew well before us that this new adventure was not going to be up to par. Watching The Hobbit has been a little bitter since I found out.