McKellen was hoping Jackson would direct The Hobbit, but said he had the director’s blessing to play Gandalf whichever director is involved.
“When Peter announced he had withdrawn from The Hobbit, he sent me an e-mail saying ‘Because I am not going to do it, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same,'” McKellen said. “‘Of course, you must play Gandalf whether I direct or not.'”
McKellen continued: “I am glad to read that it is looking more and more likely. … I would be disappointed if they didn’t want to have the original Gandalf. I suppose if I am still functioning and working well, it is very likely I would be asked to do it, and if I were, I would be very pleased to do it.”