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Decades before Peter Jackson’s live-action The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi rendered the epic in striking animation. (Rotoscope is cool, eh?) Now, a new project from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. returns J.R.R. Tolkien’s sprawling story to animated form. And this time, they’re going the way of anime. Our next trip into Middle-earth will be The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, fostered by filmmaker Kenji Kamiyama.
A press release describes the new film as an exploration of “the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep.” The material adds that this feature will “delv[e] into the life and bloodsoaked times of one of Middle-earth’s most legendary figures; the mighty King of Rohan – Helm Hammerhand.”
Helm, the ninth king of Rohan, was famously defeated—but not killed—at the Crossings of Isen. However, he would survive for just another year, following a lengthy siege alongside his brother. Despite his defeat, Helm maintained a ferocious reputation; he was even thought to live on in some form following official decree of his death.
Kamiyama has been imbuing the anime world with color and story since the 1980s. Among his most noteworthy credits, we find several Ghost in the Shell series, as well as the 2019 Ultraman show. He will also direct the forthcoming Blade Runner anime, Black Lotus, alongside Shinji Aramaki. This series is expected to air on Adult Swim at some point in 2021.
We don’t know just yet when to expect The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. However, we know that the film will debut on the big screen. At present, Warner Bros. touts Rohirrim as a stand-alone story; as such, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a trilogy born of this project. But given that The Hobbit was originally only supposed to be one film, we might not wish to count anything out, either.