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Twenty years after making its first journey into the lands created by J.R.R. Tolkien, New Line is returning to the worlds of The Lord of the Rings.
The Warner Bros. movie division, which made the Oscar-winning Rings trilogy and later adapted The Hobbit, has partnered with Warner Bros. Animation to produce an original anime set in Tolkien’s fantasy world, the companies announced Thursday.
Titled The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, the stand-alone feature will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama, an anime veteran who last directed TV series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and produced by Joseph Chou. The two have worked on some of the biggest anime franchises over the years, including Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya, Ultraman and Appleseed, on top of Ghost in the Shell.
Rohirrim is being written by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, the creators behind Netflix’s Emmy-winning The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series.
Philippa Boyens, who co-wrote Rings and Hobbit with filmmaker Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh — winning the best adapted screenplay Oscar for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King — is serving as a consultant on the project.
Jackson is not involved with Rohirrim but has blessed its making, according to insiders. The project is on the fast-track with animation being done at Sola Entertaiment and voice-casting underway. The plan is to release the movie theatrically.
Rohirrim ties to the original trilogy, specifically the second installment, The Two Towers, by focusing on an untold story behind Helm’s Deep, the fortress at the center of the movie’s epic battle. The story will be set hundreds of years before that fateful war and, according to the announcement, tell of the life and bloodsoaked times of its founder, Helm Hammerhand, the king of Rohan.
“All of us at New Line feel a deep affinity for the extraordinary world J.R.R. Tolkien created, so the opportunity to dive back into Middle-earth with the team at Warner Bros. Animation is a dream come true,” enthused Warner Bros. Pictures Group COO Carolyn Blackwood and New Line president and CCO Richard Brener in a statement. “Fans know Helm’s Deep as the stage for one of the greatest battles ever put to film and, with many of the same creative visionaries involved and the brilliant Kenji Kamiyama at the helm, we couldn’t be more excited to deliver a fresh vision of its history that will invite global audiences to experience the rich, complex saga of Middle-earth in a thrilling new way.”
The initial Rings trilogy grossed $2.9 billion upon initial release and won 17 Oscars out of a total 30 nominations. Its success continued in many DVD/Blu-ray editions and engendered a Rings tourist trade in New Zealand, where the films were made.
Amazon Studios paid $250 million for the screen rights to Rings and is planning on spending close to $1 billion on a series franchise. Amazon, however, does not have the rights to the actual Rings story and its multiple series will be set in a different age of the world that is known as Middle-earth.
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