The Lord of the Ring franchise is getting a feature length anime film produced by New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation. But it won't be set during the War of the Rings, instead it will be set 183 years before the events we see unfold in The Two Towers. Here's the release date, and everything we know about the story so far.
Do you remember Helm's Deep? Of course, you do, and you would be forgiven for thinking that the defensive structure itself is called Helms Deep. The fort there is actually called the Hornburg, and was built in the Second Age, but the Hornburg sits in a gorge, and it's this gorge which is called Helm's Deep.
The gorge is called Helm's Deep because it was named after the 9th king of Rohan, Helm Hammerhand, who retreated there with his forces in the year 2758 of the Third Age. The reign of that king, Helm Hammerhand, and the war that forced him to retreat into Helm's Deep, will be the subject of this new anime film. That was incredibly long-winded, wasn't it? But you're a Tolkien fan, so you're used to it.
The War of the Rohirrim: Release Date
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim will be released on Friday, April 12, 2024. This is the working date, officially, but we could see a delay. The last update we got was from mid-2022, and at the point they were still writing the script.
The War of the Rohirrim: Plot (Spoiler Alert)
The War of the Rohirrim will tell the story of Helm Hammerhand from the time that he's crowned Rohan's ninth king in TA 2741 until his death in TA 2759, for this entire period he was in an active war against the Wildmen of Dunland. The war was fought between the people of Rohan and an alliance of Dunlendings, Easterlings, and the Corsairs of Umbar.
Helm Hammerhand's greatest enemy during this war, and the main villain of the film, will be the Dunlending-leader Freca and Freca's son Wulf. Freca actually tried to blackmail Helm to agree to a marriage between Helm's daughter and Wulf, which might have created peace, but Helm punched him so hard he died (literally). This is when the war really intensified. Wulf became the leader of the Dunlendings, Rohan was overrun, Helm was pushed back to the Hornburg, and from this defensive position the king spent the rest of his life ferociously resisting the Dunlendings. It's actually his nephew, Fréaláf Hildeson, who eventually defeats the enemy and recaptures Rohan.
How Lore-Accurate Is The War of the Rohirrim?
The story of The War of the Rohirrim is based on the life of Helm Hammerhand, who does exist in the texts, and did fight a war with the Rohirrim. We don't know the exact details of the plot, so it's impossible to say if they will portray his life in the exact same way Tolkien did. But we can make an educated guess at how lore-accurate it will be, at least by comparison to Amazon's recent Rings of Power show.
The question of lore-compliance is an incredibly pertinent one for the LotR community, and it was constantly asked of The Rings of Power. Now, The Rings of Power wasn't perfectly lore-accurate, but it was trying to tell a very expansive story, and the show's writers were very restricted in which parts of the source material they could use. The Rings of Power show was basically retelling a condensed version of everything that happened in the Second Age, but using only about 5% of the possible source material.
By comparison, the War of the Rohirrim is based on the life of a single king, Helm Hammerhand, and we only have two sources from the Legendarium that tell this tale:
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, II: The House of Eorl
- Unfinished Tales, Part Three: The Third Age, V: "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
We know that they don't have The Unfinished Tales (no studio will ever get access to that coveted text), but they do have access to the Lord of the Rings Appendix. So unlike TRoP, The War of the Rohirrim will be able to use 50% of the available source material on the subject. For this reason alone we expect it to be far more lore-accurate than TRoP was. But again, no promises here.