"The horn of Helm Hammerhand will sound in the deep one last time." So spoke King Theoden (Bernard Hill) of Rohan during the climax of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Soon, viewers will understand exactly what he meant.
New Line Cinema announced on Thursday that they were teaming up with Warner Bros. Animation to produce an original anime feature set years before the events of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Titled The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, this anime film will explore a key feature of Middle-earth: The legendary fortress Helm's Deep, subject of one of the best battles in either Jackson's films or J.R.R. Tolkien's books. Helm Hammerhand, the legendary King of Rohan for whom Helm's Deep is named, will be the central figure of War of the Rohirrim.
The project will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Blade Runner: Black Lotus, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) and written by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance). Though they may be new to Middle-earth, veteran screenwriter Philippa Boyens - who co-wrote the original Lord of the Rings films alongside Jackson and Fran Walsh - is serving as a consultant on the project.
Boyens won't be the only connection between War of the Rohirrim and the live-action films. Though a standalone story, this prequel will weave in "story and artistic elements" connecting it to the larger tapestry of Middle-earth. Its announcement also comes the same year that The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in Jackson's original trilogy, celebrates its 20th anniversary.
"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," Warner Bros. Animation President Sam Register said in a statement. He then quoted King Theoden's line at the beginning of the siege of Helm's Deep: "And so it begins."
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is being fast-tracked for the big screen by New Line, with animation work and voice casting already underway.