Reality Check: David Tennant Probably Hasn't Been Cast In The Hobbit

David Tennant won the hearts of geeks the world over with his performance as the tenth Doctor on Doctor Who, and now that he’s done with the show, we nerds are dying to see him in something else we’re interested in. What else are we interested in? Lord of the Rings, of course. So it should come as no surprise that Tennant’s name seems to come up nearly every time anyone mentions Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit. That doesn’t mean this Middle Earth dream is anywhere close to coming true.

At one point Tennant was even rumored to be a frontrunner for the role of Bilbo, a rumor which turned out to be a dead end. Now that Martin Freeman is playing Bilbo and nearly every other major role in the film has been cast, the internet rumor mill has started fantasy casting Tennant in more minor Hobbit roles. The latest piece of gossip has him playing the Elvenking Thranduil. One problem: there’s absolutely no reason to believe this is real.

The rumor originated with the IMDB cast page for The Hobbit: Part 1 where, somewhat out of the blue, David Tennant has been added to the cast. Now, IMDB is a fantastic website and an absolutely invaluable resource for those interested in detailed, hard data on just about any film. But as anyone who has spent any time at all covering movie news knows, it’s absolutely useless when it comes to casting for upcoming projects. IMDB should never be used as a source in an instance like this because, quite simply, anyone can add anything to it at any time. Almost no major casting story has ever broken on IMDB, and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change now. It’s a shame really because, well, David Tennant belongs in Middle Earth.

If you look at the Hobbit cast page you’ll discover that Tennant isn’t the only almost certainly spurious piece of casting information that’s been added. Leonard Nimoy is also listed as being “rumored” to play the voice of Smaug. Not only has he not at all been rumored anywhere to be playing Smaug (in fact last we heard here Bill Nighy was up for this), it’s also pretty unlikely to ever happen. Nimoy is retired. Someone who’s seen his Bilbo Baggins music video probably thought adding him would be a rather hilarious joke. Well it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

There have, however, been some legitimate whispers in the past that David Tennant could end up being involved in the film. Even though the Tennant as Bilbo thing never really panned out there were rumors around the time that Martin Freeman was announced as Bilbo that Tennant might be considered for a small, unspecified part in the movie. If you’re picking one of those small, still uncast parts, the guy does seem like a natural to play an Elvenking.

So far though, there’s been nothing forthcoming either from Tennant or the Hobbit production. Tennant may be too busy anyway, word is that he’s doing a play in London which opens in May. If it’s a small part he might be able to work it in , but again, as of now there’s no reason to think he’s involved. Here’s hoping that changes. Until then the odds of this rumor being true are slightly greater than or equal to the odds that Madonna will be cast in the film as Lobelia Sacksville-Baggins. Countdown till some tabloid picks up that spurious piece of gossip starts right now.

Josh Tyler