‘Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’ Debuts 20 Minutes of Epic Footage at Annecy, Introducing a Headstrong Princess Héra of Rohan

Lord of the Rings: The War
Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. Animation, New Line Cinema and Sola Entertainment previewed 20 minutes of its upcoming anime feature “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim,” receiving thunderous applause during the packed presentation on Tuesday at the Annecy Animation Festival.

Director Kenji Kamiyana said he was inspired by not just J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” books, but by the films of Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, who were confirmed as exec producers of the movie during the session.

The new story is set nearly 200 years before Bilbo Baggins comes into contact with the ring of power, and centers on the House of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan (voiced by Brian Cox), with a focus on his daughter, the strong willed Princess Héra (voiced by Gaia Wise). In the clip, a dispute erupts during a council meeting, leaving Wulf, a ruthless Dunlending lord, seeking vengeance. Miranda Otto reprises her “Lord of the Rings” role as Éowyn, this time as the movie’s narrator.

“There is such power to the story,” said Kamiyama (whose credits include the TV series “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”), assisted by a translator. He was joined in the highly anticipated session by producers Philippa Boyens (who also co-wrote the story), Jason DeMarco and Joseph Chou, in conversation with Andy Serkis.

DeMarco emphasized that with the stylish anime look, the filmmakers didn’t set out to make an animated Peter Jackson movie. Rather, they wanted to make a Kamiyama movie.

“The fans are going to go nuts for this,” enthused Serkis, who will reprise his role as Gollum in “Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum,” which he will also direct. During the session he also teased his performance-capture based retelling of “Animal Farm,” which he is directing, saying it’s a contemporary take on George Orwell’s classic novel.

“Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” opens in North America on Dec. 13 and internationally beginning Dec. 11.

From Variety US