Prior to our interview in a Los Angeles hotel room, Sir Ian McKellen had been interviewed by the religious press and seemed a bit exasperated when they suggested that his Gandalf in Lord of the Rings was akin to being a Messianic saviour.
"Well I certainly wasn't the Saviour. What I liked about Hobbits was that it was the perfect community but it didn't have a church. There is no God in Lord of the Rings, no Pope, no bishop, no credo, or no one telling you what to do."
McKellen dismisses any religious undertones of the character, pure and simple.