Following previous speculation regarding how many original Lord of the Rings cast members would return for The Hobbit films when the first stages of filming began, John Rhys-Davies had adamantly denied any involvement:
“I've already been asked and to be honest with you, I wouldn't. I have already completely ruled it out. There's a sentimental part of me that would love to be involved again. Really I am not sure my face can take that sort of punishment anymore.”
But the rumours have begun once again, first when Rhys-Davies visited the Hobbit set in New Zealand, and again when one Reddit user spoke with him at a convention about his involvement. That person writes:
“So I just spoke with John at a convention. I asked him point blank about a possible cameo in the Hobbit. At first he denied it, but after a little pressing he smiled really big, laughed, winked, and said that maybe it was possible. His smile... his laugh... I'm taking this as a pretty big indicator that he will be involved in some small way. Can't wait to see it!”
While this by no means serves as solid confirmation of involvement, it seems likelier that Rhys-Davies, who not only portrayed Gimli in The Lord of the Rings films, but also offered his voice for the character Treebeard, may be returning to Middle-earth after all.