Long before Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s work made its way to the screen in animated form, first in 1977’s The Hobbit and then in 1978’s The Lord of the Rings and 1980’s The Return of the King. So in a sense the new Lord of the Rings movie, The War of the Rohirrim, is a return to the franchise’s roots, at least onscreen.

Directed by Kenji Kamiyama, the movie serves as a prequel to the Jackson trilogy. (He is also involved in the film as an executive producer.) It’s set almost 200 years before the films in the location that’s known as Helm’s Deep; essentially this is the story of how it got its name. The voice cast includes Brian Cox, playing “Helm Hammerhand, the mighty King of Rohan.” As far as we know at this point, the only actor from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings reprising their role here is Miranda Otto, who plays Éowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan.

The film comes out in theaters in just about six months, and we’re finally starting to see some actual stills from the film, including the image at the top of this piece, and the three directly below.

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Here is the new animated film’s official synopsis:

Set 183 years before the events chronicled in the original trilogy of films, “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” tells the fate of the House of Helm Hammerhand, the legendary King of Rohan. A sudden attack by Wulf, a clever and ruthless Dunlending lord seeking vengeance for the death of his father, forces Helm and his people to make a daring last stand in the ancient stronghold of the Hornburg—a mighty fortress that will later come to be known as Helm’s Deep. Finding herself in an increasingly desperate situation, Héra, the daughter of Helm, must summon the will to lead the resistance against a deadly enemy intent on their total destruction.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is scheduled to open in theaters on December 13.

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