(Annecy) When Japanese animation meets Tolkien’s universe, “it’s the Holy Grail”: The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim team unveiled at the Annecy international festival of the first images of his film which will mark, in April 2024, the return of the saga to the big screen, ten years after the end of The Hobbit.

The veil was notably lifted on the first scene of this feature film directed by Kenji Kamiyama and set in Middle-earth, 250 years before the events of Peter Jackson’s first trilogy.

We discover Princess Hera, riding in a rocky region and approaching a giant eagle. She is the daughter of Helm (dubbed in English by Brian Cox, the patriarch of the Succession series), king of Rohan, a kingdom on the eve of conflict.

Hera is the central character in this story about “the ruins of war” drawn from “three paragraphs” of the appendices available at the end of the books of J. R. R Tolkien, explained to Annecy the executive producer, Philippa Boyens.

“It was more interesting to follow a female character” who is not named in the books, inspired by an Anglo-Saxon princess and who is not the stereotype of “the warrior princess”, she said. assured.

Co-screenwriter of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Philippa Boyens has this time passed the baton to her daughter Phoebe Gittins in writing, considering herself “too old” for an anime.

Kenji Kamiyama, who notably worked on the animated film Akira (1988), joked about “the nervousness” of this project started during the pandemic, “probably the biggest” of his career.

While the supply of content is exploding, well-known sagas are popular with studios and broadcasters.

The Warner Bros group, behind this new version of Tolkien’s universe, announced in February that other films were in preparation.

For its part, Amazon has bet more than a billion euros on the series The Rings of Power, which had the best launch on its Prime Video platform this fall.

The online sales giant is also working, via its Amazon Games platform, on a video game from this universe.

After the critical and popular triumph of the Peter Jackson movies in the early 2000s, The Hobbit trilogy was also a box office hit, despite lukewarm reviews.