The fantasy genre is one of the oldest and most thoroughly explored styles of storytelling that there is. From Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit to the Harry Potter films, there have been films that transport audiences to outlandish worlds and tell stories about the triumph of good over evil. However, that style of storytelling does not always mirror the world we live in. The upcoming Warcraft adaptation seems poised to change that by injecting serious moral complexity into a normally black and white genre.
In a series of new interviews with IGN, the cast and crew behind Warcraft revealed that part of bringing this specific universe to the silver screen was predicated on the idea of a morally grey story. The basic premise of the film revolves around conflict between humans and orcs when the latter invades the former’s home, the realm of Azeroth. While the orcs are a warlike race and indeed invading a peaceful land, director Duncan Jones stated in his interview that he essentially wants to make their reasons for doing so relatable, and get across the notion that not all orcs and bad, and not all human characters in the film will be morally righteous. According to star Ben Schnetzer:
He [Jones] really wanted to humanize the horde, to humanize the orcs, and wanted people to be able to identify with them.
As a general rule of thumb, most "bad guys" in fantasy films are often the grotesque, barbaric race while the "good guys" or often portrayed as humans – or at least more similar in appearance to humans. For example, the Lord of the Rings franchise also featured orcs, but spent very little time exploring them or their reasons for engaging in war – instead relegating them to the role of minions driven by bloodlust. Warcraft will deviate from that formula by framing the conflict between humans and orcs in a manner similar to the historical conflict between Native Americans and white settlers, with atrocities occurring on both sides. Check out the entire featurette for Warcraft below to get a better sense of how the film will blur lines of right and wrong.
Moral complexity of this nature has become an increasingly common trend in other genres. Superhero films have undergone a similar metamorphosis in recent years by having audience members essentially choose sides when it comes to heroes they are siding with. This trend will come to a head with the upcoming releases of Captain America: Civil War as well as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
We will keep all of you Warcraft fans updated on any and all developments related to the project. The film version is scheduled to hit theaters on June 10, 2016.