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Ian McKellen Kicks Off Colbert's 'Hobbit' Week: 'Gandalf Is More Powerful than Magneto'

By Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood.com Staff

We've heard legend tell of the power subsisting within the great warrior. An unparalleled spirit and unprecedented knowledge for the fantastical lore. But we had yet to see these fables take earthly form. ""How could they be true?"" we wondered. ""How could any a man, even a man so mystically blessed as he, embody this class of heroism?"" Those among us not wont to preserve our good faiths would soon turn a sheepish eye, for that very figure — that doubted knight so noble and earnest — would soon prove himself far mightier than we in a fortnight could ever have dreamt. For, on Monday night's episode of The Colbert Report, one Stephen Colbert kicked off his week-long celebration of The Hobbit, launching full force into the nerdiness he must ache to suppress throughout the rest of the year. Seriously, dude loves his Tolkien like you wouldn't believe.

The program opened with a Hobbit-inspired take on the Report theme song, followed by a quick greeting in the tongue of Elvish, and Stephen's giddy citation of trilogy director Peter Jackson's calling him the biggest Tolkien nerd in the world. The segment to follow Stephen's introduction focused on the question many of us had hoped would earn its answer on this inception of the Comedy Central series' celebration of the forthcoming fantasy feature: will Stephen Colbert have a role in The Hobbit, as it has been so wickedly rumored? Colbert neither confirmed nor denied, though he did have a lot of fun mocking the ascension of the rumors from the innocent mention of him stopping by set to the declaration of him as the star of Jackson's series, across a none too wide range of periodicals. Still, it seems like we will be seeing Stephen set foot in Middle Earth. If he was suggesting anything with the wielding of a Tolkien sword he had hidden behind his desk, it's that The Hobbit trilogy will have a place for him.

Following a few non-Hobbitual segments, The Colbert Report featured the highlight of the night: Stephen's interview with Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen. The pair matched wits pretty evently about McKellen's wizard character (the actor favors Gandalf the Gray to Gandalf the White, reveling in the former's sense of humor and proclivity for inhalants), and politics (Stephen ""took issue"" with the homosexual McKellen's career as an exemplification of a gay man coming across as a heroic figure), but Stephen claimed victory when it came time for Tolkien trivia, rattling off vocabulary words like Lórien and Nenya without straining his brow while McKellen looked on in humored amazement. But McKellen got the biggest cheer, naturally, when he broke the barriers of the conversation to answer an important question: ""Gandalf is more powerful than Magneto,"" McKellen declared definitively, adding that the wizard would trounce his X-Men villain ""every time."" Justice prevails.

Stay tuned to The Colbert Report throughout the week for more Hobbit interviews, trivia, and all-out geekiness.

[Photo Credit: Comedy Central]

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