There was a Lord of the Rings Extended Edition marathon that occurred at London’s BFI IMAX cinema last night, and Ian McKellen was present to give an introduction. He didn’t speak for very long, but what he said got Ringers excited.
First off, he did in fact confirm his return as Gandalf the Grey and that he is expecting to start filming in Middle Earth in March of next year. He is expecting the script in two weeks. Brendon Connelly from /Film believes this script is only for the first film for The Hobbit, since producer Peter Jackson has said recently that they are almost finished with the first part but are much further out on finishing the second.
Also, he said that Bilbo Baggins has in fact already been cast! He believes fans will be very happy with who has been chosen to fill Ian Holm’s shoes (since Holm is too old to play the younger Bilbo from The Hobbit).
I cannot wait to find out who will play Bilbo, as this is something I have wondered about for years now. If Ian McKellen’s report is accurate, which it could very well be, we should expect a casting announcement very soon.