Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have joined Warner Bros’ and New Line Cinema’s animation The Lord Of The Rings: The War Of The Rohirrim as executive producers.  

The duo’s involvement in the film, which is being directed by Kenji Kamiyama, was revealed today by producer Philippa Boyens at the film’s work-in-progress session at Annecy film festival.

“They are longtime creative partners of mine and creators of the lot of the visual world of Lord Of The Rings,” said Boyens, who co-wrote the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy and subsequent The Hobbit trilogy with Jackson and Walsh.

“They’ve been huge supporters of this film from the very beginning; they’ve stayed in the background a little, but I’m proud to reveal that they’ve been with us all along and are in fact our executive producers.

“They wanted to stay in the background because Peter in particular wanted to give Kenji the space to find his own way into the film,” added Boyens, who produces The War Of The Rohirrim with Joseph Chou.

Warner Bros/New Line screened 20 minutes of the film to the Annecy audience. It was followed by a panel hosted by Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Jackson’s Rings trilogy, with Boyens, Kamiyama, Chou and executive producer Jason DeMarco present.

“We did not want to make an animated version of a Peter Jackson film,” said DeMarco. “We wanted to make a Kenji Kamiyama animated feature film that lives within that world. That’s a difficult task that requires a lot of delicate balancing between two types of filmmaking that haven’t collided like this before.”

The War Of The Rohirrim is an anime feature written by Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou, based on J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord Of The Rings. It is set 183 years prior to the events of the first film trilogy, and tells the story of Hera, the daughter of the hot-tempered king of Rohan, as she and her father defend their kingdom against an army of Dunlendings.

”Most of my job has been to sit at the centre of these very particular worlds – the world of creating anime, and the world of creating Lord Of The Rings and bringing it to the screen,” said DeMarco. “And making sure that New Line and Warner Bros understood what it takes to make an anime theatrical film – what that means production-wise, time-wise, technique-wise.”

The War Of The Rohirrim will be released on December 13 in the US.

Serkis moves

Meanwhile, Serkis will direct and reprise his role as Gollum in Warner and New Line’s The Lord Of The Rings: The Hunt For Gollum, in pre-production ahead of a 2026 release.

The actor/filmmaker is also in production on his animated adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which he discussed on the panel.

“In the same way as you talk about the wreckage of war in The War Of The Rohirrim, the wreckage of truth is what appealed to me about Animal Farm,” said Serkis, adding it was one of the first adult-oriented books he read along with The Lord Of The Rings. “The version we’re making is not set as an allegory to totalitarian Russia. It’s very much a story for now, it’s very contemporary. It’s modernised. It’s about a world where we know not what is true anymore.

“We came across the idea of witnessing innocence being destroyed by following the wrong course of an ideology. Being pitted between two ideologies – one of which was for the good of everyone, and one of which was for the self. And falling. And finally working out that you made the wrong decision.”

Although Jackson was not present in Annecy, he opened the session with a short video presenting The War Of The Rohirrim, including a skit with the video ‘interrupted’ by Gollum. Serkis also performed his Gollum voice to the delight of the packed Annecy crowd, describing the combination of anime and Lord Of The Rings as “precious”.

Annecy continues until Saturday, June 15.