The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is an upcoming anime film based on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Set to be released in spring 2024, the movie will follow the story of Helm Hammerhand, a king of Rohan who lived ca. 250 years before the events depicted in The Lord of the Rings.
The film is a New Line Cinema (NLC) and Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) co-production and is being directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) from a screenplay by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance).
Joining Kamiyama will be Joseph Chou (Blade Runner: Black Lotus) as a standalone feature producer, with Philippa Boyens (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies) serving as a consultant. Anime studio Sola Entertainment will provide the animation work. The voice casting is currently underway.
The Lord of the Rings anime to fortify WBA’s anime expansion
The initiative comes amidst WBA’s efforts to expand into producing anime content, with Adult Swim’s Jason DeMarco (Toonami) joining on the bandwagon as SVP Anime & Action Series/Longform for WBA and Cartoon Network Studios (CNS).
DeMarco has been appointed the lead creative executive on The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim and he isn’t hiding his excitement:
“I got into this business because I love action cartoons and storytelling. Being able to work in anime and action development, two areas of animation I care about deeply, is a dream come true.”-Jason DeMarco
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim will further expand on the history of Helm’s Deep, whose Hornburg fortress staged the largest battle in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Although WBA representatives have stated that the anime movie is a standalone story, it will nevertheless complement Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy, with both the story and the “artistic elements” linking the anime to the movies.
In the words of WBA President Sam Register: “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. And so it begins.”
And so indeed it seems to. Namely, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim anime movie is just one of the many forthcoming LoTR projects, the biggest of which is (so far) Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series. According to preliminary announcements, the release date is set for April 12, 2024.
Who is Helm Hammerhand?
Helm Hammerhand was the ninth King of Rohan. Born in the Third Age (T.A.) 2691 (for reference, the Fourth Age started after The War of the Ring in T.A. 3021) to King Gram, Helm succeeded his father in T.A. 2741 at the age of fifty.
He was nicknamed “Hammerhand” because of his great strength and is believed to have fought Dunlendings with his bare hands.
During the Long Winter (T.A. 2758-2759), King Helm and his men took shelter in the Súthburg fortress, which was later renamed Hornburg in honor of Hammerhand’s horn.
Though his reign ended in tragedy during the Dunlending invasions (he died in T.A. 2759 at the age of sixty-eight), Hammerhand remains a legend — among his foes and descendants alike. The Rohirrim often call upon the spirit of the fallen king in war and name themselves Helmingas in his honor.
Trivia: Although Hornburg is often referenced to have been built by Helm Hammerhand, this is not true. Originally, Helm’s Deep was a large valley gorge in The White Mountains (Ered Nimrais) settled by the Men of Gondor who constructed the original Súthburg during the Second Age of Middle-earth. When Gondor gifted the land to the Rohirrim, Hornburg became their stronghold.