David Bowie was considered for Gandalf in Lord of the Rings but didn’t audition


David Bowie’s passing was one of many painful deaths in 2016. In the aftermath, we reported that Bowie auditioned for The Lord of the Rings. While Bowie was considered to play Gandalf in the film, it turns out he never really auditioned for the role.

Casting Director Amy Hubbard revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Bowie met with the cast and crew, but didn’t actually audition. He was too busy to commit to the extensive shoot in New Zealand. Regardless, Bowie showed up at the Millennium party in 1999 and performed for the LOTR team.

While Sir Ian McKellan was wonderful as Gandalf, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had David Bowie played Gandalf the Grey/Gandalf the Thin White Duke. He’s got a kind of otherworldliness about him, like a being from another world.

It would have been in line with this little-seen song from J.R.R. Tolkien that appeared in the first draft of The Return of the King. Check it out after the cut.

“Gandalf Stormcrow and the Wizards of Valar”

Gandalf was Maiar, jamming good with Strider and Elrond
And the wizards of Valar. He played it left hand
But fought a Balrog
Became the white clad man, then we rejoined Gandalf’s band

Now Gandalf really sang, screwed up beard and Secret Fire of Eru
Like some cat from Rohan, he could lick ’em by riding
He could leave ’em to hang
Came on so loaded man, Glamdring and a snow white tan

So where were the Valar, while the Eye tried to break our balls
With just the halfling to guide us
So we bitched about the Ents and should we kill Saruman

Gandalf bought Frodo time, jiving Denethor at Minas Tirith
The steward was crass, a cowardly ass
“You shall not pass”
The wiz took it all too far, praise be to Iluvatar

Making rulers of rangers, as The Witch King fell to womankind
So long elven messiahs
When the kids had killed Sauron we had to break up the band

Oh yeah

Gandalf was Maiar

[EW via Collider]
Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.