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'LOTR' prequel 'The War of the Rohirrim' in works, here's what era anime will be set in

Warner Bros announces a prequel anime to Peter Jackson's famed trilogy, will release in theatres after being 'fast tracked'
UPDATED JUN 11, 2021
The official logo for 'The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim'. (New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers Animation)
The official logo for 'The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim'. (New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers Animation)

'The Lord of the Rings' ('LOTR') fans, rejoice! A new film has been announced. The prequel 'The War of the Rohirrim' will be in theaters, so you can enjoy the beauty of Middle Earth on the biggest screen possible. However, unlike Peter Jackson's acclaimed trilogy, this film won't be a live-action one. It's going to be animated instead.

'The Lord of the Rings' films is one of the most successful and popular franchises in the world, inspiring Amazon to create a TV series. Currently in production in New Zealand, the show is rumored to be the most expensive TV show ever made. Earlier, Peter Jackson was tapped to return as director, but he turned down the offer. The show will reportedly have five seasons and focus on the exploits of a young Aaragon.


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But while the prequel series puts the spotlight on a popular (and beloved) character, 'The War of the Rohirrim' will take a very different direction. It will reintroduce fans to Rohan and Helm's Deep, but to an era well before the events of the original trilogy. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming 'LOTR' film.

A still showing Helm's Deep from 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers'. (IMDb)

Release date and availability

So far, Warner Brothers (WB) hasn't announced an exact release date for the film. Reportedly, it is being "fast-tracked" for production, but the studio didn't go into any further details. They did confirm, however, that it would release in theaters. Presumably, that is before it makes its way to HBO Max. 

We do know that both animation and voice casting is already underway, so a 2022 release seems likely. Of course, do remember that this is an anime, and not a live-action film. So it is perhaps apt that WB roped in some of the best in the business.

Cast and crew

WB didn't announce the voice cast for the film, but it did mention some of the crew members.  Kenji Kamiyama has been roped in to direct. The Japanese director is known for his work on popular anime like 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex', 'Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit', and 'Blade Runner: Black Lotus'. The film will be produced by Joseph Chou, who has produced 'Starship Troopers: Invasion', 'Tower of God', and is currently working on 'Blade Runner: Black Lotus'. The script has been penned by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, who created the award-winning Netflix series, 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance'. 

To ensure that the film is as accurate and close to the world we know and love, WB has also roped in Philippa Boyens as a consultant. Boyens was one of the writers for the original trilogy, as well as 'The Hobbit' films. She clearly knows the world inside-out, given her experience. Boyens' experience will be crucial since WB said the film will act as a "companion piece" to the Jackson films and share "story and artistic elements" with the original films. 

Philippa Boyens in the original trilogy (Wing Nut Films/ WIkimedia Commons)

Plot details

'The War of the Rohirrim' will focus extensively on the king of Rohan - Helm Hammerhand. Reportedly, the movie will tell "the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep delving into the life and bloodsoaked times of one of Middle-earth’s most legendary figures; the mighty King of Rohan — Helm Hammerhand." For those of you unfamiliar with the character, here's a quick refresher. 

Hammerhand was the ninth king of Rohan, who was involved in a long war with invaders from the nearby Dunland. Hammerhand was forced to defend his people at the Hornburg of Helm's Deep (which was renamed in his honor), where he also died. The Dunlendings and Helm's Deep featured in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers'. The events of 'The War of Rohirrim' are set approximately 250 years before the events of 'The Lord of the Rings'. So it is possible we could see a younger Gandalf, but that has not been confirmed. No other characters from the original films are expected to make an appearance. 

"This will be yet another epic portrayal of JRR Tolkien's world that has never been told before," Warner Bros Animation president Sam Register said. The tale of Hammerhand isn't one that many will be familiar with, so it should be an exciting addition to the rich world of Middle Earth we've grown to love.