Skip to main content

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim might be animated, but its runtime holds up a series tradition

The Lord of the Rings doesn't know the meaning of the word short.

A floating heads poster for Lord of the Rings showing Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, and various other characters.
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has revealed a first look at the upcoming animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, and even confirmed its runtime.

There are two things everyone knows about The Lord of the Rings: that one bit of trivia about Viggo Mortensen breaking his toe and his scream in the film being his real reaction, and that The Lord of the Rings films are very, very long. Yesterday, via Entertainment Weekly, Warner Bros. Animation revealed a first look at the animated film, which tells a prequel story about Helm Hammerhand, the ancient king of Rohan, the namesake of Helm's Deep. It is also quite long, as The Hollywood Reporter also shared that despite being envisioned as 90 minutes long to start, it has now ended up at two and half hours long.

To be clear, when I say animated, I should specify that it is an anime. The film is being directed by Kenji Kamiyama, best known for works like Blade Runner: Black Lotus, Ghost in the shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (which just so happens to be a big inspiration for the upcoming Chainsaw Man movie). Kamiyama is joined by Philippa Boyens, who co-wrote the screenplays for Peter Jackson's original Lord of the Rings films, who's serving as producer on the animated prequel.

"When they suggested anime, that's when my brain really started whirring," Boyens told EW. "Immediately, the idea of telling this story came to me. They had a number of different ones they were going to pitch me, but I was quite bossy, and I was like, 'No, I know exactly what this needs.' I immediately felt that it would work for anime because it's so character-based and also contained within its own world. It speaks to certain things that work really well with Japanese storytelling."

Jackson is also serving as an executive producer on the film, and while Gollum himself Andy Serkis isn't involved at all, THR did report that he has recently watched it, and that he said "The fans are gonna go nuts for this."

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is due out December 13, later this year, and it's not the only film set in the series you can look forward to, as a Gollum-focused project is in the works too.

Read this next