Love it or hate it, Blizzard has made obscene amounts of money from its Warcraft franchise. World of Warcraft and its companion books are notable for their rich, sometimes convoluted lore, and so it only made sense that a movie involving these fantastical stories could happen. After a decade from its announcement and quite a bit of time spent in development Hell, Warcraft is looking at a 2016 release. Thankfully, Uwe Boll is not involved, and the trailer that many World of Warcraft players, and fantasy fans in general have been impatiently awaiting, looks very promising.
Warcraft takes place far before the events of World of Warcraft, focusing on the first contact between humans and orcs. The humans are pretty straight-forward, so it would be difficult to make them not fit their established counterparts. That said: the orcs in the preview match up quite pleasingly with their video game iterations (especially given how refined cinematics have become in-game).
The best part, unless this movie jumps the rails, is that Warcraft won’t really hold many surprises. This is all built on a foundation of well-established lore, and this movie has been in the works to some degree or another since its announcement in 2006. The character interactions feel as immersive as playing any of Blizzard’s massively successful games and the action sequences in the preview play out like World of Warcraft meeting up with Lord of the Rings. Bear in mind just how important having that established foundation of fantasy lore can be, for example, Tolkien’s mass of background work, including devising a whole elvish language, stand as testament to how far that sort of detail can go to fleshing out a fantasy world and making it truly immersive.
Warcraft is especially exciting because it’s starting so early in the history of the Warcraft universe. There’s immense potential not only for this movie, but for sequels should this fare well (and sequels tend not to take decades to make). The orcs and humans clashing will make for amazing action sequences, and watching these races attempt to navigate diplomacy with one another while big players like Gul’dan and Grommash Hellscream wreak havoc on both behind the scenes and on the battlefield will make for some phenomenally nerdy, thoroughly enjoyable cinema. One might even speculate that this movie, as big as it could be, could also be an opportunity for Blizzard to try bringing former players, kicking and screaming, back to World of Warcraft by cross-promoting the film and the game, (perhaps by giving away in-game goodies, and so on). However, until further announcements and trailers, it’s hard to say for sure how the film will pan out. All that’s left is the hope that this film will be worthy of the massive amount of great fantasy writing that could potentially be brought into play, and not just a high-budget fiasco, cashing in on devoted fandom.
Keep it Maverick Film and find out more as the build-up unfolds.
By Phil Gorski