If director Peter Jackson had had his way, "The Lord of the Rings" would have featured none other than the late, great David Bowie in one of the trilogy's key leading roles. Now, as the "LOTR" franchise celebrates its 15th anniversary this week, timed to the December 2001 release of "The Fellowship of the Ring," fans finally know the reason why Bowie never made it into the trilogy.

Earlier this year, actor Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry in the series, told the Huffington Post that he saw Bowie at a "LOTR" audition back when the franchise was first casting. While there was some speculation that Jackson wanted Bowie to play Gandalf, the heroic wizard who was eventually played by Ian McKellen, the exact circumstances of the rocker's potential involvement in the franchise remained a bit of a mystery.

In honor of the series's big anniversary, the Huffington Post interviewed the "LOTR" casting director to get the real scoop about why Bowie never appeared in the films, and it turns out that the reason is a pretty simple one: He just didn't have time.

"He was unavailable," casting director Amy Hubbard explained to HuffPo, confirming that Jackson was interested in Bowie for the Gandalf role. But the rocker's schedule was so packed, he never even auditioned, according to Hubbard.

"We approached him," she told HuffPo. "I'm pretty sure it was Peter Jackson's idea in the first few weeks that we got going. It was one that he'd always wondered about, and we rang [Bowie's agent], and [Bowie] was far too busy."

Of course, McKellen wound up being perfect for the part, and today, it's hard to picture anyone else in the role. Still, it's curious to think about how Bowie would have fit into the "Lord of the Rings" universe. Would he have been willing to reprise his role for the "Hobbit" trilogy, as McKellen did? Would he have somehow found a way to wear glitter? We'll never know, but it's fun to imagine the possibilities.

[via: Huffington Post]