Two more dwarves cast in The Hobbit—but what about Gandalf?

There's a new Dwarf in Middle-earth, and his name is James Nesbitt. The actor, who'd been rumored for a role in Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit movies, was just confirmed as being cast. But not all Hobbit news today is good, because Sir Ian McKellen says that he's NOT yet under contract to return.

But first, a bit more about the good news.

Nesbitt has indeed nabbed the role of the Dwarf Bofur, who is: "a disarmingly forthright, funny and occasionally brave Dwarf."

Director Peter Jackson said of Nesbitt that "James' charm, warmth and wit are legendary, as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome him as one of our cast."

Everyone who's seen Nesbitt in both Steven Moffat's Jekyll and Cold Feet know that the actor can pull off really scary, crazy, tender and funny. So we have no doubt that he can certainly pull off the role of Bofur.

Also cast: A newcomer by the name of Adam Brown will play another Dwarf, called Ori. Jackson said, "Adam is a wonderfully expressive actor and has a unique screen presence. I look forward to seeing him bring Ori to life."

Nesbitt and Brown join their recently announced co-stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage (soon to appear in Captain America: The First Avenger), Aidan Turner (Being Human), Rob Kazinsky (EastEnders), Graham McTavish (Secretariat), John Callen (TV's Power Rangers Jungle Fury), Stephen Hunter (All Saints), Mark Hadlow (King Kong) and Peter Hambleton (The Strip).

But as for that less good news ...

Sir Ian McKellen, who plays the beloved Gandalf, told Broadway World that he has not yet signed a contract to appear in the Hobbit films. "I am not under contract, no. I'm not going to say any more than that, because it might complicate things! So I would say—at the moment—no, I am not under contract."

What's this? Wasn't it a done deal? We're hoping it'll only turn out to be a formality and that McKellen will officially sign on the dotted line soon—as in yesterday, thank you very much.

So what do you think of all the casting news and contract woes? Do you like the idea of having James Nesbitt on board? And do you think there's any danger that Sir Ian McKellen may not return for The Hobbit?

(via SFX, Collider and The Hollywood Reporter)

More from around the web