James McAvoy wants to play a young Gandalf in The Silmarillion

James McAvoy Gandalf

Not content with playing a younger Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class and next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, James McAvoy has now expressed his desire to portray a young Ian McKellen. However, he’s not looking to step on Michael Fassbender’s toes by taking on the dual roles of Professor X and Magneto – instead, he wants to play Gandalf in an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.

“I’d like to play Gandalf,” McAvoy told Total Film. “The Silmarillion [is] a collection of poems and songs that chart the ancient history of Middle-earth. My true geek is coming to the fore, but they’re really, really beautiful stories. In part of that is the genesis of Gandalf, or Mithrandir, or Stormcrow, or any of his many, many names.”

Published posthumously by Christopher Tolkien in 1977, The Silmarillion is comprised of five parts and recounts 7000 years of history, including the creation of Eä (the universe), its various supernatural beings, and the First, Second and Third Ages of Middle-earth. Sadly for McAvoy, Gandalf’s involvement in the text is limited to the final section, ‘Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age’, which has of course already been explored by Peter Jackson with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Furthermore, the rights to the book are still held by Christopher Tolkien, who isn’t much of a fan of Jackson’s Middle-earth movies, so don’t expect this one to move forward any time soon…

  • Olórin

    I question if McAvoy read the Silmarillion, or at least remembers it well. Gandalf is mentioned only in passing in the last pages in a recap of the story of the Rings of Power. More than that, it is clear that Gandalf was never young. He (and the other 4 wizards) arrived in Middle Earth as old men. He is right thought that the stories are beautiful -he'll have to pick another character