Has Gandalf’s staff sealed Ragagast’s fate? (heavy speculation)

Hobbit Desolation of Smaug Banner

When Peter Jackson decided to expand his adaption of the Hobbit to three movies (after expanding one movie to two movies) people were either cynical or interested in why exactly the longer running time was necessary. The seeds of those expansions were planet in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and judging from the current trailers and characters from pictures we have seen The Desolation of Smaug might feel the full impact of Jackson’s additions.

The following article will speculate about the storyline revolving around Radagst the Brown and Gandalf the Grey. Beware there is a heavy bit on speculation which might turn out to be a spoiler if they are true.

Ragadast the Brown
If you are aware of the Necromancer subplot you can safely skip this point

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Over the course of the book The Hobbit Gandalf has to leave the dwarves because he has other things to look after. While the book never shows us what Gandalf did Tolkien later explained that Gandalf was dealing with a Necromancer who turned out to be Sauron. This information can be found in the Appendices for Lord of the Rings as well as in the story The Quest to Erebor (full version published in The Annotated Hobbit). For the movie adaption Peter Jackson has decided to give us the very Necromancer subplot onscreen while Bilbo is wrestling with spiders.

But while this is still adhering to Tolkien’s story the next addition is not: Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) is popping up thourough the Hobbit-adpation and is investigating the Necromancer mystery alongside Gandalf. Radagast’s role in Lord of the Rings was a very minor one. He is used as a pawn of Saruman to lure Gandalf to Isengard and it is his friendship to the animals that helps Gandalf escape from Saruman using the eagles. Also Saruman’s bird swarms who scout for the Fellowship are because Radagst got manipulated by Saruman. Radagst never appears in person in Tolkien’s The Hobbit – he is only mentioned by Gandalf. But as seen in a clip shown during a BluRay event Radagst and Gandalf investigate the fortress of Dol Guldur in the second part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit-trilogy.

Radagast’s fate
So the big question that arises for moviefans is how Radagast will be dealt with. Seeing as he is not in The Fellowship of the Ring I see it highly unlikely that Radagast is going to survive the trilogy. Yes, this is breaking with the canon of Tolkien but for the movie narrative to work you can’t just introduce a wizard on the same level as Gandalf – a wizard who keeps helping Gandalf and therefore proves to be a competent albeit crazy ally – and not call him to arms when Sauron starts to build up his army. And since Saruman’s bird scouts haven’t been tied to Radagst the movie logic has no need for Radagast’s presence.
So unless Radagast vows to never interfere with the fate of Middle Earth after the Hobbit trilogy the most logical explanation would be his death. And here comes an interesting tidbit a colleague of mine spotted:

Some people might have noticed that Gandalf’s staff is much more elegant in An Unexpected Journey compared to the one he uses in The Fellowship of the Ring. While I personally noted it I attributed it to the fact that many prequels have new designs for the sake of having new designs/toys.


Yet my colleague pointed out a very interesting thing. Namely the fact that Gandalf’s staff from Fellowship bears a striking resemblance to Radagst’s staff – which is much more “natural” for the lack of a better word. And if you look at the staffs in comparison the similarity it seems as if Gandalf inherited Radagst’s staff:

gandalf staff

Heavy speculation here:
One theory I had after my attention was drawn to this was that Gandalf might inherit the staff of Radagst after the wizard’s demise. But for that to work Gandalf needs to lose his wand in return. Then again Gandalf is no stranger to having his staff smashed if one remembers the scene from The Return of the King.

A closer look at the staffs
A closer look at the staffs

So my speculation is this: to establish the Necromancer as a really big threat he kills Radagast, smashes Gandalf’s staff and therefore Gandalf needs Radagast’s staff to defend himself…


We will find out December 11th – or the year after that in The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

Wolfgang Verfasst von:

Der Host des Flipthetruck Podcasts. Mit einem Fokus auf Science Fiction und Roboter sucht er ständig jene Mainstream Filme, die sich nicht als reine Unterhaltungsfilme zufrieden geben.

10 Kommentare

  1. 28. Dezember 2013

    Looks like you’re speculation is on the ball. Gandalf does lose his staff in desolation of Smaug

    • 31. Dezember 2013

      Yeah, I thought the same thing when sitting in the cinema…. damn have to wait a whole year to find out…

  2. 17. Januar 2014

    i think maybe (you may laugh) that radagast comes to save gandalf in his trapped caged, and comes with a staff rags made. And considering rags nature loving personality, the staff looks likes his own hahahhaha i dont know! LOL
    And pj is so detailed with things, in the hobbit film he uses material (the map eg) looks the same from LOTR, and seeing the piture above, the crystal actually looks different. if it was indeed rags staff, im sure pj would make those details more finer.
    Ifyouknowwhatimean LOL
    :D cant wait to actually sees what happens!

    p.s i read somewhere that pj has decided to not bridge the last film to lotr so that it can have an open ending for the middle earth world. Expanded universe (sound familiar anyone? haha)

    • 21. Januar 2014

      Hadn’t thought about that!
      It’s also plausible – although I can only speak as a movie watcher since I have no ideas of the rules for Istari staffs if there has been a regulation of some sort. But seeing as Gandalf’s staff broke in return of the King and he got a new one the scene after they might not be so picky.

      The detail argument is indeed the strongest counter argument to it so we have to see how it works out.

      I really hope the ending of Hobbit 3 is not that open ended… let’s not get a Peter Jackson Clone Wars series to bridge it even more :P

      • 26. Januar 2014

        HAHAHA peter jackson clone wars LOL !
        i havnt read the books but gathered some ideas of how it ends, so tempted to read it though.
        This is more exciting than christmas LOL

      • matt
        2. Februar 2014

        It was Galadriel that gave gandalf the white his new staff, perhaps when galadriel said in the first movie ‘if you need me i will come’, this will be in the third movie. Gandalf is in the cage, galadriel appears and gives him this new staff, then he excapes; only to inform the white council of sauron’s return which will lead to an attack on dol guldur. Christopher lee said in his christmas video (on youtube) that saruman has much action and ‘sword play’ in the final movie so it it likely that the council will deal with some orcs before the necromancer himeself…getting back to the point it is likely that radagast dies in this attack on dol guldur

  3. 6. März 2014

    The staff in FotR cannot be Radagasts staff, because thats the staff Gandalf possesses after beeing imprisoned on top of the Orthanc Tower. His first staff in FotR looks different from Radagasts and has been taken by Saruman. Remember the scene Saruman holding two staffs and Gandalf turning on the floor? If Gandalf would have taken Radagasts staff in the Hobbit, then this second staff would have been it. But it looks different.

    But there are a few thoughts I have about this:

    WHAT ABOUT THIS: In FotR, after escaping Orthanc, Gandalf heads to Rivendell where he meets Frodo and the others. In There and back again Radagast could die / leave somehow at Dol Guldur. And then Galadriel or Elrond could find his staff and keep it, till Gandalf returns to Rivendell in FotR.

    OR: The elves are those who make the staffs. The gems would point in that direction. So Gandalf will just get a new staff from Galadriel or Elrond, and in FotR again.

    OR: The staffs can be made from the Istari themselves by using a simple wooden stick they find somewhere. This would explain some other scenes (Dol Guldur isn`t the only scene where Gandalf looses his staff).

    OR: PJ simply doesn`t care about this.

    • 10. März 2014

      That’s a fantastic observation! Thank you!
      I completely glossed over the fact that Saruman took Gandalf’s staff and some research brought me to this article about the movie Gandalf and his staff:


      The article also speculates about the “Made in Rivendell (TM)” staff production. Although from the images the staff still has a similar “theme” compared to the neat design we see in the first two Hobbit movies.

      Maybe Gandalf really has some Istari power to make himself a staff after getting rescued – after all he – for the lack of a better word – magically has a staff in Return of the King despite the Witch King breaking it.

      About Peter Jackson: I might be inclined to say that he doesn’t care about that tiny details – but interestingly enough he even pointed out in the audio commentary for An Unexpected Journey that his staff will be explained

  4. Juan
    12. August 2015

    the truth is that after Gandalf is attacked by Saruman Radgast gives Gandalf his own staff in Rivendel in order to regain strength

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