A very important part of The Hobbit has been finalized: the return of Gollum. The character was played by Andy Serkis in the original Lord of the Rings and according to Deadline, he’s back! He’ll join several other LOTR alums including Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett in the production.

The site is reporting that Serkis has signed on to reprise the character Gollum for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, Parts I and II. While McKellen is still in talks, they’re also awaiting confirmation from Christopher Lee, who’s set to return as the wizard Saruman, and Ian Holm to return as an older version of Bilbo Baggins. Martin Freeman plays the younger Bilbo in the film.

Gollum made his first appearance in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit in the chapter “Riddles in the Dark,” which features the Ring of Power. Serkis will likely be present during the early portion of the shoot.

We know a lot of people were on pins and needles wondering if he would return but we weren’t. This is The Hobbit, and no one can play that character like Serkis. Even if he and the studio disagreed on something, we’re sure they would have made it work until he signed on. It was never a matter of “if” just “when.”

What do you think of Serkis’ return? Are you surprised.