Lord of the Rings anime movie gets a release date – but it's a long way off

Karl Urban in The Lord of the Rings series
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

It’s been a good week for The Lord of the Rings Fans. Just 24 hours after Amazon dropped the first trailer for its upcoming The Rings of Power series, Warner Bros. has confirmed the theatrical release date for a standalone anime-like movie called The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.

The joint collaboration with New Line Cinema won't arrive for a long time yet, though. According to Variety, it's scheduled to hit theaters on April 12, 2024. 

First announced in June 2021, The War of the Rohirrim will delve into the history of Helm’s Deep, the legendary Rohan fortress that played host to the huge battle in Peter Jackson's live-action adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

The movie will focus on the exploits of Helm Hammerhand, then-king of Rohan and founder of the eponymous stronghold. No actors have attached themselves to the in-development project as yet, though Variety reports that voice cast announcements are expected soon.

We do know, however, that Kenji Kamiyama (known for his work on Japanese-made series Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) has signed on to direct The War of the Rohirrim alongside fellow Black Lotus producer Joseph Chou.

The film already has a script, too, courtesy of screenwriting duo Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou (who both penned Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series). The pair have reportedly adapted an existing story by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews.

Speaking of his excitement for the project, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich told Variety: “The ‘Lord of the Rings’ films took Tolkien’s masterwork to new cinematic heights and inspired a generation. It’s a gift to be able to revisit Middle-earth with many of the same creative visionaries and the talented Kenji Kamiyama at the helm. This will be an epic portrayal unlike anything audiences have ever seen.”

As mentioned, The War of the Rohirrim will be released exclusively in theaters.

Analysis: Rohan stands alone

Exciting though it may be to receive this release date confirmation, The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim won't be tied to either preceding live-action project.

Warner Bros’ anime doesn’t take place in the same timeline as Jackson’s movies, nor Amazon’s upcoming The Rings of Power series. Instead, The War of the Rohirrim will be set hundreds of years before the former, but several centuries after the latter.

That means we won't be seeing fan-favorite characters like Frodo, Sam or Aragorn returning to the screen. And, while individuals such as Galadriel are alive during the events that'll play out in War of the Rohirrim, we wouldn't expect much by way of character crossover in Warner Bros' forthcoming anime flick.

Unlike The Two Towers, then, Rohan will stand alone when the kingdom's enemies attempt to overthrow Helm and take his throne for themselves. Given what we know of Helm's backstory, we suspect that they'll be biting off more than they can chew. 

Of course, there's always the potential for Warner Bros. to alter how this intriguing point in Middle-earth's history plays out. Thanks to The War of the Rohirrim's 2024 release date, though, it'll be a while before we find out for sure. 

For more Lord of the Rings content, check out our trailer breakdown of The Rings of Power's first teaser.

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.