A “Lord of the Rings” anime prequel is on the way

“The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” tells the story of Helm Hammerhand

By Kylie Cheung
Published June 11, 2021 5:44PM (EDT)
Elijah Wood in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (New Line Cinema)
Elijah Wood in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (New Line Cinema)

"Lord of the Rings" fans thirsty for spinoffs have never had to wait all that long, between the "Hobbit" trilogy of the 2010s, and Amazon Prime's upcoming "Lord of the Rings" television series adaptation. New Line Cinema announced on Thursday that it's begun working with Warner Bros. Animation to produce an anime film prequel to the classic, 2000s fantasy series directed by Peter Jackson, and animation work and voice casting are already underway.

Of all adaptations and spinoffs of the fantasy epic, an anime is certainly a new and refreshing departure, especially for the modern age. The anime film, directed by Kenji Kamiyama, is called "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim," and will tell the story of Helm Hammerhand, who was King of Rohan during the war with the Dunlendings who attempt to usurp his throne, long before the events of Jackson's trilogy. The story will explore the legendary fortress Helm's Deep, named after the king himself, and the familiar site of a key conflict in the 2000s films.

"This will be yet another epic portrayal of J.R.R. Tolkien's world that has never been told before. We're honored to partner with much of the incredible talent behind both film trilogies, along with new creative luminaries to tell this story," Warner Bros. Animation President Sam Register said in a statement announcing the project. He also quoted King Theoden's (Bernard Hill) line at the beginning of the iconic siege of Helm's Deep: "And so it begins."

While the project will feature new writers who weren't a part of the original trilogy, Kamiyama will be joined by screenwriter Philippa Boyens, who co-wrote the original films as a consultant on the project.

The anime film has yet to receive a release date. As for Amazon's rendition of the legendary fantasy franchise, the series is currently slated to have at least five seasons, with eight to 10 episodes per season. Filming for the first two seasons began earlier this year, and the pilot has completed filming and is in post-production, as of January.

More than 20 years after "Fellowship of the Ring" first premiered in theaters, the "Lord of the Rings" franchise has remained as popular as ever. And now, as it wades into an all-new, untold story, the epic fantasy franchise will do so via an all-new medium: anime.


Kylie Cheung

Kylie Cheung is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She is also the author of "A Woman's Place," a collection of feminist essays. You can follow her work on Twitter @kylietcheung.

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