Updated: Cate Blanchett Will Be Back As Galadriel For The Hobbit

Last week we talked here about some of the challenges Peter Jackson faces in adapting Tolkien’s The Hobbit into a feature film. Among those challenges I listed the lack of female characters in the story. There are quite literally, none. Not a one. Well now Peter Jackson has a solution. He’s bringing back Galadriel.

Played by Cate Blanchett in the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel was the ethereal elf queen who helps Frodo and his band along their way to Mount Doom. Her character isn’t actually in The Hobbit though, in fact Bilbo and his band of traveling dwarves don’t even go anywhere near the region where she lives, yet New Line confirms that Blanchett has been cast in the upcoming movie anyway. How will they fit her in?

Peter Jackson confirms that she will indeed reprise the role of Galadriel, but offers no further details, so here’s the worst case scenario: In The Hobbit Bilbo and the dwarves do encounter a group of elves, but the elves they encounter are in Mirkwood, a completely different Elf kingdom from the one Galadriel rules. Galadriel reigns in Lothlorien. But, it wouldn’t really be much of a stretch to turn the elves of Mirkwood into the elves of Lothlorien would it? Tolkien fans (me among them) would wail and gnash their teeth, but replacing the Elven King of Mirkwood with the Elf queen of Lothlorien would be a way to work more female characters into the movie.

If however Jackson is looking for a way to include her without angering fans, I suppose she could randomly show up in Rivendell. Bilbo and his band do visit there briefly and Rivendell is the kind of place where random people do sort of just seem to show up. There has also been talk that Jackson's script may show us what Gandalf is doing, during the time in the book when he leaves Bilbo and the dwarves to go about his own business. In theory, I guess Gandalf could be hanging out with Galadriel. The Hobbit makes no mention of his specific activities at that time other than to say he bands together with Saruman and other powers to defeat a Necromancer in the far corner of Mirkwood. It would make sense for Galadriel to be there.

UPDATE! New Line has just sent out an official press release confirming the casting of other actors in the film. Ken Stott will play the Dwarf Lord Balin, Sylvester McCoy will play the wizard Radagast the Brown, Mikael Persbrandt will play the shape-shifter Beorn.

Here's the full announcement from New Line Cinema:

Cate Blanchett, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy and Mikael Persbrandt have joined the cast of Peter Jackson's highly anticipated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic 'The Hobbit.' Also joining them are Ryan Gage, Jed Brophy and William Kircher. The films, which are scheduled to commence principal photography in February 2011, mark Jackson's return to Middle-earth following his Oscar-winning 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. The announcement was made jointly today by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operating Officer, New Line Cinema, Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. and Steve Cooper, co-Chief Executive Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.Jackson, who directed all three 'Lord of the Rings' films, will helm the two films back-to-back, telling the story of 'The Hobbit' in two parts from a screenplay by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.Cate Blanchett ('Lord of The Rings' trilogy, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button') will reprise her role from 'Lord of The Rings' trilogy as Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien. Ken Stott ('Charlie Wilson's War', TV's 'Rebus') will play the Dwarf Lord Balin, Sylvester McCoy (TV's 'Doctor Who') will play the wizard Radagast the Brown and well-known Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt ('Everlasting Moments', 'Day and Night') will play the shape-shifter Beorn. British actor Ryan Gage ('Outlaw', TV's 'Doctors') will play Drogo Baggins, with New Zealand actors Jed Brophy ('Lord of The Rings' trilogy, 'District 9') playing the role of the dwarf Nori, and William Kircher ('Out of the Blue'; TV's 'Legend of the Seeker') rounding out the company of Thorin Oakensheild in role of the dwarf Bifur.Peter Jackson welcomed the news of Cate Blanchett's return to Middle-earth 'Cate is one of my favorite actors to work with and I couldn't be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films' On the casting of Scottish actor Ken Stott, Jackson commented 'Fran and I have long been fans of Ken's work and are excited he will be joining us on this journey.' Jackson also welcomed the addition to the cast of Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt 'The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him read for the role we can't imagine anyone else playing this character.'The actors join the previously announced cast including Martin Freeman (TV's 'Sherlock,' 'Breaking and Entering') as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage (upcoming 'Captain America: The First Avenger'), Aidan Turner (TV's 'Being Human'), Rob Kazinsky (TVs 'EastEnders'), Graham McTavish ('Secretariat'), John Callen (TV's 'Power Rangers Jungle Fury'), Stephen Hunter (TV's 'All Saints'), Mark Hadlow ('King Kong') and Peter Hambleton (TV's 'The Strip'). Additional cast announcements include James Nesbitt ('Millions' and TV's 'Cold Feet') and newcomer Adam Brown.'The Hobbit' films received a green light on October 15, and have release dates targeted for December, 2012 and December, 2013. Jackson will utilize groundbreaking visual effects and his incomparable storytelling to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's novel to the big screen. Both 'Hobbit' movies will be filmed in Digital 3-D, using the latest camera and stereo technology to create a high quality, comfortable viewing experience.The two films are being co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production, Warner Bros Pictures handling domestic distribution and MGM distributing internationally.Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham are producing the films, with co-writer Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer and Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner as executive producers. The Oscar-winning, critically acclaimed 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, also from the production team of Jackson, Walsh and Cunningham, grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box office.. In 2003, 'The Return of the King' swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture – the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The trilogy's production was also unprecedented at the time.

Josh Tyler