‘The War of the Rohirrim’: the first images of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel anime

‘The War of the Rohirrim’: the first images of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel anime

New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have released some exclusive images from the upcoming film Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, an anime-style film set more than 150 years before the original Lord of the Rings trilogy

 

First look at the long-awaited Rohirrim Wars anime: the images show Helm Hammerhand sitting next to members of his family, including the new characters Héra, Haleth and Hama.

Héra, Helm Hammerhand, Haleth and Hama in the film. COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES

Another close-up image shows Héra holding a sword.

Héra (voiced by Gaia Wise) in Lord of the Rings: The Rohirrim War. COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES

“There are some things that I don’t think we could have done otherwise – or that would have made it extremely expensive – elements of the narrative that could have been achieved in the anime in a truly breathtaking way” tells to PEOPLE magazine Philippa Boyens, producer of the film who also co-wrote the screenplays for each of the three Lord of the Rings films and Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.

The film recounts a conflict between Rohan, the kingdom featured in the original trilogy, and the Dunleding that forces Helm and his kingdom to take refuge in a famous fortress: Helm’s Deep.
Héra, Helm’s daughter, “must find the will to lead the resistance against a mortal enemy who wants to destroy her completely”, as the situation in Rohan becomes more and more dangerous.

The story of Helm Hammerhand is told briefly in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, and the epic details prompted Kamiyama to accept the challenge of adapting it into a feature film.

“This is the story of the most powerful king in the history of Rohan, the one who defeated his enemies with his bare hands”, says Kamiyama.
“Why did his lineage have to end with him? I think there is a lesson in arrogance and also in the need for responsibility and awareness of one’s own power. We live in a time when, all over the world, we again face the reality of war. What then is power? What is the responsibility of those who hold it? It is something they must think about together with those who do not possess it”.

Boyens and screenwriter Phoebe Gittins expanded Tolkien’s original story. In particular, they wanted to give characterisation to a character that didn’t even have a name in the book.

“In the appendices from which the story is taken, there are these male characters with quite interesting designs, and then there’s this young female character who is never named – and that was really interesting to me”, Boyens explains. “We know that Helm has a daughter and that she was at the centre of the conflict. I and especially the scriptwriter Phoebe Gittins were attracted to her. We could feel the weight of being that nameless daughter, which immediately piqued our interest: Who was she? How did she live?”

Hèra might, however, have her dark counterpart in the film’s antagonist, Wulf, who leads the armies of the Dunlendings against the kingdom of Helm.

Wulf (voiced by Luke Pasqualino) in Lord of the Rings: The Rohirrim War. COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES

“We have an exceptionally great antagonist in this story”, says Boyens. “He’s been one of my favourite antagonists to write in all the films I’ve worked on”.

Wulf’s strength as a character, according to Boyens, lies precisely in the fact that he is not an evil wizard or dark lord like the more famous Lord of the Rings villains. He is just a human being and, in some ways, that makes him even more dangerous.

“He speaks so directly to a lot of the crises we’re facing today”, says Boyens. “He’s a really fascinating character and also exciting. You don’t know what he’s going to do, and some of the choices he makes are breathtaking, in a good way”.

We look forward to seeing this: The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is scheduled to hit theatres on 13 December.

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