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Lord Of The Rings: The War Of The Rohirrim - What We Know So Far

J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy works "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" tell a saga about an epic struggle between good and evil for control of Middle-earth that spans thousands of years. But these days, the most heated conflict involving "The Lord of the Rings" is arguably happening in the entertainment industry.

A "Lord of the Rings" TV series is currently in production in New Zealand. It still doesn't have a release date, but it's already the most expensive TV show ever made. The first season cost a staggering $465 million, plus an additional $250 million in rights fees to the Tolkien estate. With over half a billion dollars committed, Amazon is betting big that a show about Middle-earth's Second Age will hook enough viewers to make everyone forget about "Game of Thrones."

But Amazon isn't the only company in the "Lord of the Rings" business. On June 10, 2021, Variety reported that a new animated feature set in Middle-earth is in the works, and it's being made by the same companies that produced Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies.

Here's everything we know about the upcoming anime feature, "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim."

What's the release date of The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

At this point, New Line and Warner Animation haven't yet announced a release date for "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim." But the press release announcing the series did say the project was being "fast-tracked" and that both animation and voice casting were already underway.

It's possible that New Line and Warner are planning for "The War of the Rohirrim" to be released around the same time as Amazon's "Lord of the Rings" series, or possibly even before it. The live-action "Lord of the Rings" series also doesn't have a release date, but we do have a clearer idea of when it might debut.

Back in 2018, Amazon executive Jennifer Salke said that the company was aiming for a release date in 2021 (via The Hollywood Reporter), but the COVID-19 pandemic obviously changed those plans. As of April 2021, Amazon was still planning to release the series within the year (via The Hollywood Reporter). If "The Lord of the Rings" does premiere in 2021, it would be toward the end of the year. Otherwise, it's more likely to debut in early 2022. Since New Line and Warner Animation are already well into production on "The War of the Rohirrim," it would be a surprise if it didn't come out by the end of next year.

Who's in the cast of The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

Although casting is reportedly underway, no details about who will be voicing characters have been announced yet. Also, while "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" is described as a companion piece to Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings," it's still set about 260 years before the events of that trilogy. While it's possible that a character with a long life span like Gandalf might appear in the series, most likely it will be all-new characters — which means actors from Jackson's trilogy aren't likely to appear.

But New Line and Warner Animation have announced some of the behind-the-camera talent. "The War of the Rohirrim" will be an anime feature, and it will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama (via Deadline). Kamiyama is an experienced anime director who's already developed spin-offs set within major media franchises. He's previously directed the "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" anime as well as "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex."

Screenwriter Philippa Boyens, who won an Academy Award for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," is also serving as a consultant on the project. So, "The War of the Rohirrim" should be in good hands.

What's the plot of The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

"The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" will tell a new story that even Tolkien fanatics might not be familiar with. It will be set about 260 years before the trilogy and will follow Helm Hammerhand, king of Rohan, and his war of succession with a rival human tribe, the Dunlendings.

But even though Helm Hammerhand might be unfamiliar, the film will still tie into the "Lord of the Rings" story. Fans of the original film trilogy no doubt remember the Riders of Rohan as the mounted warriors who participated in the final battle between Sauron and the free people of Middle-earth, especially their ill-fated frontal assault on Sauron's army in "The Return of the King." In the course of Hammerhand's war against the Dunlendings, the Rohirrim retreated to a fortress that's later renamed Helm's Deep in the king's honor. Helm's Deep later becomes the site of a fierce siege in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."

So, while Helm Hammerhand may not be as recognizable as Frodo Baggins or Gollum, "The War of the Rohirrim" should still get Tolkien fans excited. And with hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on "Lord of the Rings" productions these days, the excitement should last a while longer.