“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.
“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. reported few month ago 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 Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim – Voice cast
Helm Hammerhand – Brian Cox
The Succession patriarch will be playing the Rohan leader in War of the Rohirrim. Before he was the face of corporate corruption on cable, Cox spent six decades in projects as eclectic as Shakespeare and Super Troopers. Between those extremes, Cox performed in the likes of Rob Roy, Manhunter, Braveheart, Zodiac, X-Men 2, Adaptation, and Nuremberg, for which he won an Emmy. As Helm, Cox will defend his kingdom at a gorge whose name becomes Helm’s Deep. The face of corporate greed will soon be the voice of regal resilience.
Hera – Gaia Wise
Wise is attached to play Hera, the daughter of Helm and reluctant hero of the resistance. The 22-year-old has appeared in only a handful of projects, the most famous of which is A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson. She is the daughter of Thompson and fellow actor Greg Wise.
Wulf – Luke Pasqualino
The enemy of Helm, Hera, and the rest of the Rohirrim people is Wulf, who will be voiced by the 32-year-old Luke Pasqualino. The actor’s credits include the series Skins, The Borgias, and Our Girl, as well as the movies The Apparition, Snowpiercer, and The Gandhi Murder. Pasqualino’s character is described by Deadline as a “clever and ruthless Dunlending lord seeking vengeance for the death of his father.”
Éowyn – Miranda Otto
Otto is ostensibly the only actor reprising their role from the original trilogy. As you likely remember, Éowyn is the Rohan noblewoman who disguises herself as a man to kill the Witch-King of Angmar in Return of the King. She will narrate War of the Rohirrim. Between LOTR franchises, Otto acted in dozens of projects, among which are War of the Worlds, Homeland, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,
Fréaláf Hildeson – Laurence Ubong Williams
Williams will be playing Fréaláf, the nephew and successor of the Succession star’s Helm. With 10 other credits on IMDb, Williams doesn’t have the career that Cox has, but perhaps by the time War of the Rohirrim rolls around, he will have succeeded Cox in fiction and in reality.
Freca – Shaun Dooley
Freca is the father of Dunlending antagonist Wulf. He will be voiced by Shaun Dooley, whose previous voice acting credits include the documentary series Britain’s Underworld and the video games Elden Ring and Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Lord Frygt – Alex Jordan
Lord Frygt seems to be a brand new resident of Middle-earth, so we don’t know anything about them. What we do know is that they will be played with authority by Alex Jordan, who, aside from Cox, is the most accomplished voiceover artist in the cast. His voice has been heard in everything from the video game Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series to the series The Amazing World of Gumball.
Several actors have been announced for the film in yet to be announced roles. These are Yazdan Qafouri, Michael Wildman, Jude Akuwudike, Bilal Hasna, Lorraine Ashbourne, Benjamin Wainwright, and Janine Duvitski.