The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim

From Tolkien Gateway

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is an upcoming anime fantasy film based on the novel The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The film, set 250 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, makes use of the Appendices mainly and it will cover the events of Helm Hammerhand, and the history behind the founding of Helm's Deep.

Synopsis

The film will be set around 250 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, covering the period of time when Helm Hammerhand was King of Rohan. Helm was King of Rohan from T.A. 2741 to 2759.[2]

According to Deadline: "The War of the Rohirrim focuses on a character from the book’s appendix, the mighty King of Rohan, Helm Hammerhand, and a legendary battle which helped shaped Middle-earth heading into LOTR. The anime pic will expand the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep, delving into the life and bloodsoaked times of Hammerhand. Overall, the movie is a companion piece to New Line’s LOTR trilogy and is set roughly 250 years before that movie during the third age".[3]

Cast

Actor Role(s)
1 Brian Cox Helm Hammerhand
2 Gaia Wise Héra
3 Luke Pasqualino Wulf
4 Miranda Otto Eowyn (Narrator)
5 Laurence Ubong Williams Fréaláf Hildeson
6 Shaun Dooley Freca
7 Lorraine Ashbourne TBA
8 Yazdan Qafouri TBA
9 Benjamin Wainwright TBA
10 Michael Wildman TBA
11 Jude Akuwudike TBA
12 Bilal Hasna TBA
13 Janine Duvitski TBA
14 Alex Jordan "Frygt"[4]

Production

Announcement

The film was announced on 10 June 2021 in the run up to the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The film had the blessing of Peter Jackson.[5][6][7]

All of us at New Line feel a deep affinity for the extraordinary world J.R.R. Tolkien created, so the opportunity to dive back into Middle-earth with the team at Warner Bros. Animation is a dream come true. Fans know Helm’s Deep as the stage for one of the greatest battles ever put to film and, with many of the same creative visionaries involved and the brilliant Kenji Kamiyama at the helm, we couldn’t be more excited to deliver a fresh vision of its history that will invite global audiences to experience the rich, complex saga of Middle-earth in a thrilling new way.

Development

New Line Cinema, currently owned by Warner Brothers-Discovery, and the company behind The Lord of the Rings film series, announced that they were fast-tracking development of this 2D anime film. Warner Bros. Animation will be partnering with Sola Entertainment, and it was announced also that the film will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama. The screenplay will be written by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, with Philippa Boyens - who worked on both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series -acting as a consultant.[8]

In February of 2022, it was announced that the script was now being written by Phoebe Gittins, Philipa Boyens' daughter, and her The Sorrows writing partner Arty Papageorgiou, based on a story by Addiss and Matthews.[9] It was also announced that special effects company Wētā Workshop, its creative director Richard Taylor, illustrators Alan Lee and John Howe, and dialect coach Roisin Carty,[10] all having worked on Peter Jackson's Middle-earth film series,[9][11] had joined the film's creative team, with Philippa as executive producer.

Philippa had divulged that Eowyn "passes the tale"[12] of the "hot-headed" Helm and a "fiery" Héra (the latter moulded on Æthelflæd, who served as a queen and military leader who built forts and led campaigns against Viking attacks on Mercia in the ninth century) and the Dunlendings' historic grievances with the Rohirrim. Philippa said a major focus was the motivation of the "ruthless and clever" Wulf: "What was driving him?" asked Boyens, "Was it just his father demanding that he do this? Was it his ambition?"[12] Using his father's substantial wealth to acquire the services of Haradrim mercenaries, this results in "quite large-scale battles" before Wulf "commits himself to a course of action he cannot turn away from",[12] says Boyens. Consistently described as a "bloodsoaked"[13] story, the film shifts into a "ghost story", while Hèra tries to "lead a resistance."[12] Boyens said Sauron and the Ring are "very peripheral" to the story, and suggested Gondor's own tribulations with the Corsairs would not be featured, but left room for speculation about a cursory role for Saruman,[14] and teased the presence of Orcs in the White Mountains.[12]

A full trailer has been assumed to air "around October 2023", while a teaser "could come much sooner."[15] Warners will show a 65-minute "Behind the Scenes look" At Annecy Film Festival in June 2023.[16][17]

Casting

Voice casting had begun by June 2021,when executive producer Jason DeMarco confirmed that hiring for voice artists was underway.[18] Philippa personally called Otto to have her narrate,[19] while Cox was hired in-part because she heard of his performance in Titus Andronicus.[12]

In June of 2022, the main voice cast was announced.[11] At least some of the voice-work was already completed by that point,[20][12] although in May 2023 Otto said she is due to attend some more sessions "in the next six to 12 months."[19] Peter Jackson called the cast "amazing."[21]

Announcement Reaction

When it was announced, Shaun Gunner, Current Chair of The Tolkien Society, said in a statement that "Tolkien fans will be delighted to see more of Middle-earth on screen. In The Lord of the Rings film trilogy we got a hint of the wider history that underpins Tolkien’s creation, and the Rohirrim are no exception. I’m excited to see a different interpretation of Tolkien’s works, and in a different visual style. I hope it brings even more people to reading Tolkien’s creation—it will certainly resend me back to the book!"[22]

Release

The film is scheduled to be released theatrically on 13 December 2024 in the USA.[23]. It will be distributed by Warner Bros.[9]

References

  1. ‘Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’, Annecy Film Festival
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
  3. Anthony D'Alessandro, "‘The Lord Of The Rings’ Goes On: Anime Film ‘The War Of The Rohirrim’ In Works At New Line" dated 10 June 2021, Deadline (accessed 30 December 2021)
  4. Alex Jordan @AEJORDAN, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be voicing the character of Lord Frygt in The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. In theaters April 12, 2024. Twitter, 15 June 2022.
  5. Borys Kit, ‘Lord of the Rings’ Anime Movie in the Works From New Line, Warner Bros. Animation, Hollywood Reporter, 10 June 2021.
  6. Peter Jackson, Arise Riders of Rohan, Facebook, 14 February 2022.
  7. Archyde, The Lord of the Rings: Has Peter Jackson chosen his camp between the Amazon series and the future animated film? – News Series, Archyde, 15 February 2022.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Adam B. Vary, "‘Lord of the Rings’ Anime Feature Fast-Tracked by New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation" dated 10 June 2021, Variety (accessed 30 December 2021)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Couch Aaron, ""Lord of the Rings Anime Movie Sets 2024 Release Date"" dated 15 February 2022, (accessed 12 July 2022)
  10. Internet Movie Database, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (2023).
  11. 11.0 11.1 By Anthony D'Alessandro, "‘The Lord Of The Rings: The War Of The Rohirrim’: Anime Voice Cast Counts Brian Cox, Gaia Wise, Miranda Otto & More" dated 15 June 2022, Deadline Hollywood (accessed 28 October 2022)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 Demosthenes, Exclusive: Philippa Boyens talks The War of The Rohirrim with TheOneRing.net, TheOneRing.net, 28 June 2022.
  13. Nicole Carpenter, Lord of the Rings anime slated for April 2024 release — here’s the first look, Polygon, 14 February 2022.
  14. Demosthenes, Saruman and The War of the Rohirrim, TheOneRing.net, 20 March 2022.
  15. James Osborne, The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim release date, The Digital Fix, 27 October 2022.
  16. Melanie Goodfellow, Annecy Unveils 2023 Competition Line-Ups & First Details Of Studio Sneak Peek Presentations, Deadline, 27 April 2023.
  17. Annecy Film Festival Programme, June 2023.
  18. Scott Campbell, "Lord Of The Rings Producer Shares Excitement For The War Of The Rohirrim" dated 14 June 2021, We Got This Covered (accessed 30 December 2021)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Pierra Willix, The Lord of the Rings star Miranda Otto thinks it might be strange for her to watch The Rings of Power, Metro UK, 18 May 2023.
  20. Gravemaster, The Witcher Actor Joins ‘The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim’ Animated Film, Redanian Intelligence, 16 June 2022.
  21. Peter Jackson, War of the Rohirrim - Casting News, Facebook, 15 June 2022.
  22. Daniel Helen, "“The War of the Rohirrim” anime film in development" dated 10 June 2021, The Tolkien Society (accessed 30 December 2021)
  23. Anthony D'Alessandro, ‘Lord Of The Rings: The War Of The Rohirrim’ Release Delayed Until December 2024, DEADLINE, 2 January 2024.
Licensed screen adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's works
Animation The Hobbit (1967) · The Hobbit (1977) · The Lord of the Rings (1978) · The Return of the King (1980) ·The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (2024, upcoming)
Live-action The Lord of the Rings film series The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Two Towers (2002) · The Return of the King (2003)
The Hobbit film series An Unexpected Journey (2012) · The Desolation of Smaug (2013) · The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Other films The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum (2026, upcoming)
TV series Hobitit (1993) · The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022-present)