Set roughly 250 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, the film will tell the story of Helm Hammerhand, a King of Rohan during a terrible war with the Dunlendings and an alliance of Easterlings and corsairs from the south. Helm is mentioned in the Lord of the Rings novels and movie trilogy as the warleader for whom the fortress of Helm's Deep is named.
New Line and Warner Brothers have fast-tracked the project after developing it in the background for some time. It is believed that they wish to take advantage of the impending renewed interest in all things Middle-earth when Amazon launches its Lord of the Rings prequel TV series set during the Second Age. Voice casting is already underway.
The project is not affiliated with Amazon, meaning it is currently intended for cinemas and possibly HBO Max rather than Amazon Prime Television. The project is also not making use of any of the new deals between the Tolkien Estate and Amazon, and will instead rely solely on information from the Lord of the Rings appendices.
Kenji Kamiyama, who created the animation for Netflix's Ultraman project, will direct. Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, who wrote the well-received Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, are writing. Philippa Boyens, who co-wrote the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies, is consulting on the project, which will be very much in the visual style and continuity of the Peter Jackson movies.
This will be no less than the fourth animated Middle-earth movie, following on from The Hobbit (1977), The Lord of the Rings (1978) and The Return of the King (1980).
With the film only just greenlit, it is unlikely to air before 2023 at the earliest.