Gamers descended on the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend like an invading horde for the annual BlizzCon – a convention celebrating everything to do with the World of Warcraft developers. And while those gamers were rewarded with new info on the latest WoW expansion (and updates on Diablo III and other popular titles), it wasn’t all about video games at the event.
Hardcore Blizzard fans have been following the development of a Warcraft movie for years (it was originally in the hands of Sam Raimi, but has now passed on to Moon director Duncan Jones), and this year’s event saw Jones and his team arrive at the gathering to share where they’re headed with adapting this massive property for the screen.
Jones didn’t drop any major casting tidbits, but the filmmaker did reveal some inside information about the script. The early draft was reportedly very Alliance centric (one of the two warring factions in the Warcraft universe – featuring humans, night elves, dwarves and so on), which didn’t sit right with the filmmaker. Jones has since changed the direction of the project, stating he wants fans to feel for the Horde side (which will primarily focus on the Orcs led by Durotan, but also features the undead, Tauren, trolls and other beastly races) as they square off against the Alliance forces led by Anduin Lothar.
Warcraft nerds have already figured out that this info means Jones and his team are looking to the original strategy games for their inspiration – as opposed to drawing their material from wildly popular Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game that was set to be the film’s original focal point. This is good news – since it should provide a better narrative than the open-ended, everyone’s-the-hero MMO.
With the film set to launch in 2015, it’s a bit odd that we haven’t really heard any casting buzz for the feature to date. Jones offers a coy “yup” as his only response when asked if they’ve lined up actors. He goes on to add that it’s been particularly difficult to find an actor who looks like an Orc. I’ll just drop this hint here – Ron Perlman would make a fantastic Durotan.
Jones then offered up some tantalizing tidbits about the visual look of the film – sharing concept art of various cities that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s spent time on Azeroth, and allowing his Academy Award-winning FX supervisor (and hard-core WoW player) Bill Westenhofer to reveal that the film is using gigantic swords and real actors in Orc makeup (there seems to be some debate about this last part – some think it means there will be a lot of practical FX in the film, others are assuming it will be a more motion-captured effect like the Avatar films. Personally, we hope they go the costume and makeup route) for the actual shoot.
We suspect we’ll be getting a lot more details about what Jones and company are cooking up for the first cinematic foray into the kingdoms of Azeroth in the weeks ahead. Warcraft is set to begin filming in Vancouver early next year – but until then, let us know what you make of this new information. Are you pleased with the story reveal? Does the concept art impress? Do you see this spawning a Tolkien-esque franchise? Talk about it all below.
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