“The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” — the original anime feature from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation — is set for release on April 12, 2024 from Warner Bros. Pictures, Variety can report exclusively.
Set roughly two centuries before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” “The War of the Rohirrim” will explore the exploits of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan, and the creation of Helm’s Deep, the stronghold featured in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”
Kenji Kamiyama (the TV series “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”) is directing with “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” producer Joseph Chou through his anime studio Sola Entertainment, which has been working on the film since it was announced in June 2021.
As can be seen in this exclusive first look at conceptual art from the film, “The War of the Rohirrim” is also drawing much of its creative DNA from Jackson’s six features set in Middle-earth. Philippa Boyens, who was part of the Oscar-winning screenwriting team for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, is executive producing the film. Phoebe Gittins, Boyens’ daughter, and writing partner Arty Papageorgiou are penning the screenplay based on a script from Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews. And the creative team includes Richard Taylor (who won Oscars for makeup and visual effects for “The Lord of the Rings”), Alan Lee (who won an Oscar for art direction for “LOTR”), and Tolkien illustrator John Howe.
Voice cast announcements are expected soon.
“I’m in awe of the creative talent who have come together to bring this epic, heart-pounding story to life, from the mastery of Kenji Kamiyama to a truly stellar cast,” Boyens says.
“The ‘Lord of the Rings’ films took Tolkien’s masterwork to new cinematic heights and inspired a generation,” said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “It’s a gift to be able to revisit Middle-earth with many of the same creative visionaries and the talented Kenji Kamiyama at the helm. This will be an epic portrayal unlike anything audiences have ever seen.”
Warner Bros.’ movement on the anime “Lord of the Rings” film comes at a time when the studio is in a dispute with the Saul Zaentz Co., the longtime owner of “LOTR” film and TV rights, over whether Warner Bros. has done enough development on the franchise to maintain its hold on live-action and animated film rights. Variety reported last week that Zaentz Co. is putting its Tolkien holdings on the block, which spurred questions about “LOTR” activity within Warner Bros.
The last live-action Tolkien film, 2014’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” grossed $940 million worldwide; all six films have earned over $5.8 billion. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” won 11 Oscars, including best picture, tying the record for a single movie.
“The War of the Rohirrim” is also totally separate from Amazon Prime Video’s Middle-earth series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” which is set millennia before the events of Jackson’s movies.
Cynthia Littleton contributed to this story.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the correct release date for “The War of the Rohirrim.”