Cate Blanchett joins cast of ‘The Hobbit’

Star will reprise her 'Lord Of The Rings' role as Galadriel

Cate Blanchett is returning to Middle Earth for an appearance in Peter Jackson‘s upcoming two-part The Lord Of The Rings prequel The Hobbit.

Blanchett appeared in The Lord Of The Rings as the royal elf Galadriel. reports that Jackson said: “Cate is one of my favourite 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.”

Blanchett‘s appearance may come as a surprise to fans of JRR Tolkien‘s 1937 The Hobbit book, as the character of Galadriel doesn’t actually appear in the story. However, she does appear in other Middle Earth-related material, which Jackson has reportedly stitched into his Hobbit films.

As well as Blanchett, a raft of other castings have already been confirmed. Ken Scott will play dwarf lord Balin, Sylvester McCoy will play wizard Radagast the Brown, and William Kircher will play dwarfs Nori and Bifur.

Bilbo Baggins will be played by Martin Freeman.

The two films will reportedly be shot back-to-back, beginning in February 2011.