Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis join Hobbit cast

Ian McKellen as Gandalf

Peter Jackson nearly has a full house as Elijah Wood and Cate Blanchett get on board for Rings prequel

BY Natalie Davies LAST UPDATED AT 14:17 ON Tue 11 Jan 2011

Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis have officially signed up for Peter Jackson's latest Tolkien outing, The Hobbit, ending months of speculation. McKellen will reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf the Grey and Serkis will again play the creature Gollum when filming begins on the two-part prequel in New Zealand next month, according to a report on Entertainment Weekly.

The pair will also be reunited with Elijah Wood and Cate Blanchett for the film, which follows the adventures of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins - played by The Office actor Martin Freeman - as he helps a group of dwarves to reclaim their treasure from a dragon.

While director Peter Jackson may be faithfully reassembling his favourite actors, he does not seem as concerned about staying true to Tolkien's novel. Set 60 years before the first Lord of The Rings book, Elijah Wood's character Frodo doesn't appear anywhere in The Hobbit.

According to EW, Jackson is planning on using Frodo as a framing device to link all four films - a savvy move for anyone planning a future box set edition. · 

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