Andy Serkis Unveils “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” Footage at Annecy

As promised back in mid-May, the first look at The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim was unveiled at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on Tuesday by none other than Andy Serkis. Serkis, of course, was one of the stars of Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings trilogy, and his time playing Gollum has not come to an end (more on that later). For the War of the Rohirrim unveiling, Serkis moderated a panel about New Line Cinema and Warner Bros.’ upcoming anime epic, which treated festivalgoers to 20 minutes of the film. 

The War of the Rohirrim is based on a brief portion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and is centered on Hèra (voiced by Gaia Wise), the daughter of the legendary Helm Hammerhand (Brian Cox), a mighty king of Rohan, tracks the Hammerhand family’s attempts to protect their lands from the Dunlendings. Serkis promised that fans were “gonna go nuts for this,” as he himself is a fan of the film—he didn’t work on it, but his Lord of the Rings future is mighty busy. Serkis channeled his iconic character to priase the upcoming anime film—”There is only one word to describe a movie with Lord of the Rings and anime at the same time, and that is precious.”

The panel included the film’s director, Kenji Kamiyama (Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series), producers Philippa Boyens and Joseph Chou, and Warners executive Jason DeMarco. DeMarco reflected on the challenge of combining The Lord of the Rings world with anime.

“We did not want to make an animated version of a Peter Jackson film,” he said. “We wanted to make a Kenji Kamiyama anime feature film that lives within that world. And that’s a difficult, difficult task that requires a lot of delicate balancing between two types of filmmaking that haven’t really collided like this before.”

Image by Winson Seto. Courtesy Warner Bros.
Image by Winson Seto. Courtesy Warner Bros.

The War of the Rohirrim is set roughly two centuries before the events in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” and will include the creation of Helm’s Deep, the fortified gorge in the White Mountains that was a major setting in Tolkien’s work and the middle film in Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy The Two Towers. The script comes from Phoebe Gittins and her writing partner, Arty Papageorgiou, and is based on a draft from Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews.

“I’m in awe of the creative talent who have come together to bring this epic, heart-pounding story to life, from the mastery of Kenji Kamiyama to a truly stellar cast,” Boyens told Variety back in 2022.

The connection between the new anime film and Jackson’s creative team includes Oscar-winning makeup and visual effects artist Richard Taylor and Oscar-winning art director Alan Lee. Tolkien illustrator John Howe is also involved. The film is slated for a December 13, 2024 release.

Serkis also teased his upcoming live-action feature Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum, which he will star in and direct, with Peter Jackson executive producing.

Featured image: Helm Hammerhand. Image by Winson Seto. Courtesy Warner Bros.


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