Warner Bros. just made an announcement sure to have “Lord of the Rings” fans rejoicing — a prequel to Peter Jackson’s original three movies titled “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” is now in production.
The standalone anime film will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama (“Blade Runner: Black Lotus” and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”) and will, according to a studio press release, “[explore] and [expand] the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep, delving into the life and bloodsoaked times of one of Middle-earth’s most legendary figures; the mighty King of Rohan – Helm Hammerhand.”
Even better for Tolkien devotees, Daily Wire sources inside the studio say the project is being fast tracked for a quick big screen release, and Phillipa Boyens, co-writer for Jackson’s trilogy, is on board as a consultant.
According to the release, the story takes place around 250 years before Gandalf tasks Frodo with carrying the ring to Mordor. It is intended to be a “companion piece” to the epic fantasy series with “story and artistic elements woven throughout that will reconnect fans to the excitement and cinematic wonder of Middle-earth.” Warner Bros promises it will “plunge fans into a legendary battle that helped shape Middle-earth and set the stage for the epic adventures brought to life in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.”
The studio will have competition attracting Tolkien devotees, however, as Amazon also has a “Lord of the Rings” prequel in the works. As the Daily Wire previously reported, the retail giant is spending a whopping $465 million for the first season of its live action series alone.
According to the company’s description, the drama will be set “thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.”
At a time when other studios have scored huge box office numbers with nostalgic prequels, sequels, and spin-offs of classic franchises like “Star Wars,” Warner Bros. is no doubt hoping to capitalize on the phenomenal success of Jackson’s early-2000s trilogy. Those films rank as the 12th highest-earning U.S. franchise of all time.
They also achieved something few other blockbuster series manage — critical respect. The finale to Frodo’s journey, “The Return of the King,” took home all 11 Oscars it was nominated for in 2004, including Best Picture and Best Director, giving it the record for most wins alongside “Titanic” and “Ben-Hur.”
Time will tell if the latest incarnations can fill those very large (even by Hobbit standards) shoes.
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