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The Lord Of The Rings: The War Of The Rohirrim Release Date, Cast, Director, Plot And More Details

J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy works "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" are among the most influential tales ever put to paper. This saga about the forces of good and evil struggling for control of Middle-earth has inspired a number of adaptations over the years, most famously the feature films from Peter Jackson. The director's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy dominated the pop culture conversation in the early 2000s, and three films based on "The Hobbit" dropped in the early 2010s, putting Tolkien and his world back in the spotlight. Another decade would pass before we returned to Middle-earth, this time courtesy of Amazon.

The streamer's epic series "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" — which made headlines for being the most expensive TV series ever made — split opinion when it dropped in 2022, scoring pretty well with critics across the board but disappointing a number of fans of Tolkien's works with its deviation from the lore. A second season is on the way regardless, though many Tolkien lovers have now got their eyes on another project currently in the pipeline: An anime movie titled "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim." If you're an anime fan who also loves "The Lord of the Rings," then you're in for a real treat, because the early indications are that this is going to be a must-see movie.

From the release date and plot to the confirmed voice cast, here's everything you need to know about "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim."

When will The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim be released?

News that a "The Lord of the Rings" anime film was in development dropped in 2021, but no scheduled release date was confirmed at the time. Amazon's live-action series was still in development when the announcement was made, and there was some expectation that the two projects might come out at around the same time to rival one another — the anime film is being made by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, the studio that brought Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies to the big screen. "All of us at New Line feel a deep affinity for the extraordinary world J.R.R. Tolkien created, so the opportunity to dive back into Middle-earth with the team at Warner Bros. Animation is a dream come true," Richard Brener, New Line Cinema president and chief creative officer, said in a statement back in June 2021 (via Variety).

Of course, the first season of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has come and gone, and we're still some way away from seeing the upcoming anime. However, we now know exactly when we can expect it: December 13, 2024. The film was originally penciled in for April 12, 2024, but the release date was pushed back due to what Deadline described as a "chain reaction." According to the Hollywood trade, it all began when Warner Bros. moved "Dune: Park Two" to March 2024 due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, fearing that the stars of the sequel wouldn't be able to promote it if it dropped in November 2023 as originally planned. The delay will no doubt be frustrating for Tolkien fans, but this timescale is actually pretty standard for big anime feature films — Makoto Shinkai's latest hit "Suzume" took three years to make.

What is the plot of The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

Like "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," the upcoming anime film is set before the events of Peter Jackson's films. However, while Amazon's series takes place a long, long time before those events in the timeline (it's set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, millennia before Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee left the Shire on a great adventure), "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" is a lot closer to them.

The anime takes place about two centuries before the events of Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" movies, during the reign of the legendary king of Rohan Helm Hammerhand. It's he who Helm's Deep was named after, and the founding of this iconic fortress — which featured prominently in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" — will be part of the plot of the movie. He won't be the main character, however: The story will be told through his daughter, who the creators have named Héra (Tolkien didn't reveal her name in his writing, but did mention her).

According to fan site The One Ring, which attended a panel for the film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June 2023, the creators were immediately drawn to Helm's daughter. "[They] wanted to explore a female POV in Middle-earth, but she's not a warrior princess per-se — she doesn't become king," the site reported. "For her character, they drew on the historical figure of Æthelflæd — the Lady of the Mercians, who defended her people."

The main conflict of the movie arises after a man named Freca (a Dunlending leader with Rohirric blood) lays claim to the throne. He proposes that his son should marry Héra and bring the bloodlines together. Helm doesn't see him as a threat, but that's a mistake. The panel even revealed a line from the movie regarding Freca: "Fat and prosperous is when men are at their most dangerous." They also referred to the film as being something of a "ghost story" that gets "surreal" in parts.

Who is starring in The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

The main role of Héra, who was described as "vulnerable and wild" during the panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, is being voiced by Gaia Wise, the daughter of actors Greg Wise and two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson. She made a small appearance alongside her mother in the 2015 film "A Walk in the Woods," but is best known for her turn in the hit British TV drama "Silent Witness."

The role of her on-screen father Helm Hammerhand will be voiced by "Succession" star Brian Cox. The imposing actor seems like a perfect choice for the part of Helm, who looked fearsome in the concept art shown at Annecy — he's a big, bearded man with an impressive crown and major "daddy vibes," said The One Ring. Besides "Succession," Cox is known for "Troy" and the TV miniseries "Nuremberg," for which he scooped an Emmy award.

Wulf, who is the main antagonist of the film, is to be voiced by Luke Pasqualino ("Snowpiercer"). He's an evildoer, but a handsome one: Per the Annecy panel, the creative team got "lots of ideas from the female staff" about how Wulf should look, and the feedback was that "he does bad things, so make him beautiful." The would-be usurper Freca will be voiced by Shaun Dooley ("The Witcher").

The ensemble cast is rounded out by Lorraine Ashbourne ("Bridgerton"), Yazdan Qafouri ("I Came By"), Benjamin Wainwright ("World on Fire"), Michael Wildman ("Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw"), Jude Akuwudike ("Beasts of No Nation"), Bilal Hasna ("Sparks"), Janine Duvitski ("Benidorm"), and "Gateway" star Laurence Ubong Williams, who plays a character named Fréalaf.

Is The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim connected to Peter Jackson's films?

Another actor who has been cast to work on "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" is Miranda Otto, and this is just one of many links to Peter Jackson's movies. Otto is reprising the role of Rohan shieldmaiden Éowyn from the films to narrate the anime. It's been clear from the start that "The War of the Rohirrim" is meant to be an extension of Jackson's films, and New Line is going all out to give it the same feel, with Philippa Boyens (who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King") acting as a consultant as well as a writer and executive producer.

Otto and Boyens are far from the only people attached to Jackson's movies to make a return for the anime. Richard Taylor and Alan Lee (who won Oscars for makeup/visual effects and art direction on the films, respectively) are on board. John Howe (the man who designed Smaug for the big screen) is also involved. Along with Lee, Howe helped make Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy feel like it belonged in the same universe as the previous films. "Alan Lee and John Howe, these guys are integral for us to map out that progress," Guillermo Del Toro told The One Ring when he was still involved with "The Hobbit," adding that these two men would "allow you to completely blend in to the universe that is already in place."

Some key artists from Weta FX (co-founded by Peter Jackson) are also working on the anime, meaning the creative team have access to the original models used on "The Lord of the Rings." And, not only will the anime look like Jackson's movies, it will sound like them too: Stephen Gallagher, who worked on the "Hobbit" trilogy, has been hired to compose. "I'm in awe of the creative talent who have come together to bring this epic, heart-pounding story to life," Boyens said in a statement (via Variety).

Who is directing The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

"The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama, a name that probably won't ring any bells — unless, of course, you're an anime fan. Kamiyama got his start as a background artist and worked in the animation departments for films like Studio Ghibli's "Kiki's Delivery Service" and the seminal cyberpunk anime "Akira," a film that Hollywood has been trying to adapt for decades. He made his directorial debut in 2002 with the miniseries "MiniPato" and hit the bigtime later that same year, taking charge of the critically acclaimed series "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex."

Kamiyama was also the chief writer on "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex," and the fact that he's a writer-director made him the perfect fit for "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim." According to The One Ring, producer Philippa Boyens revealed at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival that she's been counting on the fact that Kamiyama has a writer's mind. "Philippa found it was an easy collaboration — he's really good at keeping the story together, understanding place and scale, and keeping Philippa on track when she went down rabbit holes," the fan site reported.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich is also very grateful to have Kamiyama on board. "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," he said in a statement (via Variety). "This will be an epic portrayal unlike anything audiences have ever seen." The Saitama native is also known for directing the anime series "Guardian of the Sacred Spirit," "Eden of the East," and Netflix's "Ultraman," which he co-helmed with Shinji Aramaki.

Who is writing The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

While Philippa Boyens and Kenji Kamiyama appear to have had a big hand in the story, the actual script for "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" is being written by Phoebe Gittins, who is Boyens' daughter. Gittins has teamed up with her writing partner Arty Papageorgiou for the project, their biggest gig to date by a considerable distance. The pair are working from an original screenplay by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, the Emmy-winning pair behind Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance."

Why didn't Boyens handle the script herself? "I felt too old, honestly," she said during the film's panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Handing the gig to her daughter wasn't just about giving a cushy job to a family member, however. According to The One Ring, "Phoebe literally grew up on the sets and most importantly, she understands the rhythm of Tolkien's language." Gittens actually appeared on screen in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," playing a hobbit child in an uncredited role, and she later popped up in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," playing a wench at the Prancing Pony inn.

Kamiyama revealed during the panel that he was excited about the idea of Gittins coming aboard because he wanted a young female writer on the team, presumably to give some authenticity to the story's main heroine. She and her writing partner Papageorgiou previously collaborated on the feature film "The Sorrows," a drama released in 2013.

Who is producing The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

"The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" is being produced by Joseph Chou via his anime studio Sola Entertainment, which focuses on "bridging the best of the East and the West," according to its website. The company is perhaps best known for making "Tower of God" and "The God of High School," which were the top two most-watched Crunchyroll original anime series of 2020. Speaking at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Chou said that it was "a huge privilege" to be working on "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim."

Chou already has a relationship with Kenji Kamiyama, because Sola is one of the studios behind Netflix's "Ultraman" and several other Kamiyama projects. The studio made the spin-off "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" and the sequel series "Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045," which were co-helmed by Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki. Both were made using CG animation, and the style of the shows drew criticism from viewers. This has led to some concern among Tolkien fans that "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" might utilize the same lifeless 3D animation, but fear not, because the film is going to be traditional 2D — in fact, the art style is said to be reminiscent of '90s anime.

However, this doesn't mean that everything you see on screen will have been hand drawn from scratch. During the film's panel at Annecy, the creative team revealed the process that they'll be using. Per The One Ring: "They used detailed CG models of the characters and layouts, some from Weta, and assembled a layout in Unreal. They would choose shots and cuts from this and assemble a rough cut. This served as a base for the mocap director who would film actors. Then it all went to the animators, who used that to do the animation."

Is there a trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

No trailers for "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" have been released yet, but those in attendance at the 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival got a sneak peak of what's been done so far. "In the first clip shown, we see the opening of the film, which includes a classic Middle-earth narration, this time by Miranda Otto's Éowyn," /Film said of the footage, which reportedly looks fantastic. "We watch Hèra ride a horse to the top of a hill and feed a giant eagle. Later, another clip shows the politics at play in Edoras, with a lord of Rohan wanting to erase the history of a group of female warriors and banner women to the king, a prelude of things to come."

The panel also showed off a bunch of concept art, which included Oliphants and orcs (or possibly Wildmen, depending on the report) surrounding Edoras, the capital of Rohan. There were also lots of different images of horses, which is no surprise given that the Rohirrim are also known as the Horse-lords. Horses are very important to them and their culture, and therefore they're very important to the creative team, too. They're notoriously hard to animate, however, which is why the animators were sent to barns so they could see some horses up close. They took footage of the animals and even did some riding themselves so they could get a feel for how they move.

What is the runtime of The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim?

As those who have read Tolkien's books know, "The Lord of the Rings" is not a short story. Peter Jackson's trilogy doesn't cover everything from the source material (fans have long discussed the omission of Tom Bombadil from the movies), despite the fact that all three films are very long. "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers" are both just minutes shy of being three hours long, while "The Return of the King" runs for three hours and 20 minutes. And that's just the theatrical cuts. If you want to watch the extended editions back to back, you'll need to set aside a whopping 11 hours and 36 minutes.

Of course, "The War of the Rohirrim" isn't a retelling of "The Lord of the Rings" and therefore doesn't need to be as long, but it still has quite the mighty runtime. As revealed at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 2023, "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" is going to be 130 minutes long. The news was met enthusiastically by fans of Tolkien's world. "That's actually substantial for an animated film and will place it among the top 50 longest animated films of all time," The One Ring said of the runtime. "Length is no indication of quality, but good animation is time and resource intensive. WBA's commitment to a long feature indicates confidence in the story they have to tell."