Orlando Bloom Close To Joining 'The Hobbit,' Reprising His Role As Elvish Archer Legolas

Orlando BloomThe deluge of casting news for "The Hobbit" continues to pour in, and just like our most recent update, today's news concerns someone who is already very familiar with the world of Middle-Earth.

Deadline reports that Orlando Bloom is expected to be the next actor from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy to lend his talents to director Peter Jackson's two-part prequel, "The Hobbit."

"He's near a deal to return as Elven archer Legolas," reports Deadline's Mike Fleming. "And it's for more than a cameo, I'm told."

If Bloom returns as Legolas, it would mark yet another departure between the big screen "Hobbit" and the novel penned by revered fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien, as Legolas did not factor into the original tale of Bilbo Baggins. Likewise, Cate Blanchett recently agreed to return as Galadriel, despite the fact that the Lady of Lothlorien doesn't appear in "The Hobbit" novel.

With Blanchett officially set and Bloom reportedly close, it's worth wondering who the next "Lord of the Rings" veteran to join Jackson for "The Hobbit" is going to be. Viggo Mortensen was once rumored for a return as Aragorn, though he seemed skeptical when we spoke with him last year.

The likeliest candidates are Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Hugo Weaving, as all three of their characters — Gandalf, Gollum and Elrond, respectively — have crucial roles in "The Hobbit." Alas, no announcement yet, as Deadline reports that "those talks have been arduous and aren't completed." Bummer.

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