New Line Cinema is returning to Middle Earth.
The studio behind the feature film trilogies “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” is partnering with Warner Bros. Animation on the original anime theatrical feature “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.”
The stand-alone feature will depict the bloody saga behind Helm’s Deep, the fortress depicted in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” and the man in whose honor it’s named: Helm Hammerhand, the legendary King of Rohan who spent much of his reign locked in a prolonged and costly war.
Veteran anime filmmaker Kenji Kamiyama, who helmed Netflix’s “Ultraman” anime series, will direct the film from a screenplay by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance”). Joseph Chou (the “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” TV series) is producing.
While the filmmaking team is new to the “Lord of the Rings” movie franchise, the project is intended to be connected to director Peter Jackson’s six Middle Earth films based on the books of J.R.R. Tolkien. Philippa Boyens, who won an Oscar for the screenplay for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” is consulting on the project, which will also draw its aesthetic and narrative inspiration from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
“The War of the Rohirrim” is not, however, connected to Amazon’s gargantuan “Lord of the Rings” series that is deep into production in New Zealand. That project is set in the Second Age of Middle Earth, millennia before the events of the feature films; Helm Hammerhand’s reign, by contrast, unfolded roughly 260 years before the “LOTR” movies.
With Amazon’s series looming, New Line and Warner Animation are fast-tracking their feature, with animation at Sola Entertainment and voice casting already underway. The six Middle Earth features have grossed over .8 billion worldwide for Warner Bros., and it would appear the studio is not content ceding its claim to Tolkien’s creative territory to Amazon.
“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,” Carolyn Blackwood, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chief operating officer, and Richard Brener, New Line Cinema president and chief creative officer, said in a statement. “Fans know Helm’s Deep as the stage for one of the greatest battles ever put to film and, with many of the same creative visionaries involved and the brilliant Kenji Kamiyama at the helm, we couldn’t be more excited to deliver a fresh vision of its history that will invite global audiences to experience the rich, complex saga of Middle-earth in a thrilling new way.”
“This will be yet another epic portrayal of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world that has never been told before,” said Sam Register, President of Warner Bros. Animation. “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. Pictures will distribute the project worldwide.