The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim first look and new plot details revealed

See the public's first look at official footage from the Lord of the Rings anime adaptation.
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim | Image: Warner Bros. Animation
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim | Image: Warner Bros. Animation / e

As reported by Variety, the production team behind the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim has debuted footage of the anime movie in public for the first time at the Annecy Animation Festival. The presentation included director Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), producers Philippa Boyens, Jason DeMarco, and Joseph Chou, as well as Andy Serkis (Gollum in the live-action Middle-earth movies and director of the upcoming The Hunt for Gollum).

In addition to giving the public its first look at The War of the Rohirrim, new plot details emerged, with focus given to the movie's central cast. Based on a story outlined in the Appendices included at the end of The Return of the King, the movie stars Brian Cox (Succession, Churchill) as king of Rohan Helm Hammerhand. That name will be familiar to fans of the Peter Jackson trilogy — the fortress at Helm's Deep is named after him.

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The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim /

Additionally, Gaia Wise voices Helm's strong-willed daughter Hèra. Luke Pasqualino (Snowpiercer, The Musketeers) voices the primary antagonist Wulf, whom the production team has praised for being a nuanced, human antagonist. Miranda Otto also returns as Éowyn from the Jackson trilogy as The War of Rohirrim's narrator.

The conflict between Rohan and the Dunlendings, set about 200 years before the event of the live-action films, is Rohan's darkest hour. As narrated in Tolkien's writing, Helm must not only lead Rohan through the kingdom being overwhelmed by Wulf's Dunlending warriors but also through a long and bitter winter that further devastates the kingdom. Although Tolkien's description of the conflict is fairly short, he nevertheless clearly lays out Helm's ferocity in battle, earning the name "Hammerhand" for being strong enough to strike his enemies dead with his bare hands.

The War of the Rohirrim is the latest cinematic adaptation of the Middle-earth stories

Peter Jackson
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Peter Jackson's three-movie adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's book trilogy, released between 2001 and 2003 became one of the most popular film series of all time. The Lord of the Rings film trilogy won a total of 30 Academy Awards, with The Return of the King winning every Academy Award for which it was nominated. Jackson followed The Lord of the Rings with a trilogy based on The Hobbit between 2012 and 2014. Further spinoffs of the Warner Bros. Lord of the Rings series have recently been announced, including the Serkis-directed The Hunt for Gollum.

The War of the Rohirrim is not the first attempt at adapting Middle-earth into animation. The most famous animated adaption is likely Ralph Bakshi's 1978 The Lord of the Rings, which covered approximately the first half of the book trilogy. Rankin/Bass adapted the rest of the book in 1980's The Return of the King.

Notably, The War of the Rohirrim is not the first time a Japanese studio has been involved with an animated Middle-earth adaptation. Topcraft, the predecessor of Studio Ghibli, provided the animation for Rankin/Bass's 1977 adaptation of The Hobbit. Unfortunately, none of the previous animated adaptations of Tolkien's books were positively received by either fans or critics.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is currently scheduled to release in the United States on December 13, 2024. Peter Jackson's Middle-earth movies, including the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, can be streamed on Max.