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Made up of a complex lore built over decades, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has plenty of material to mine for a movie spinoff. Plus, the franchise already boasts a fan base of more than seven million, subscribers. Then there's even more people who have since its creation in 1994, when it was known as Warcraft. Our resident WoW expert worried the game's world was too broad to properly capture in one film. But writer-director Duncan Jones, who won a reputation with his intimate sci-fi mystery Moon, has revealed a plan for Warcraft that we suspect will appeal to both Alliance and Horde players.
Reporting from Blizzcon, Game Informer revealed Jones led a panel discussion that included some Blizzard representatives. There, Jones told the assembled crowd that he and his special effects supervisor, Bill Westonhofer of Life of Pi acclaim, have been playing the game since its beta version. Moreover, both have high-level characters at present. So, clearly they share a passion for WoW. But when he read the original script, Jones was troubled by how Alliance-heavy it was. He approached the Blizzard execs with changes that would better share the focus between the Alliance and the Horde.
Considering how WoW works, this should come as good news to its legions of fans, who can expect to see a complex portrait of their side rather than a clear depiction of "good guys" and "bad guys." Jones is aiming for the audience to be able to understand and empathize with both sides of the conflict, which will include characters like Lothar and Durotan. Made by invested fans, Warcraft will contain Easter eggs that WoW devotees can enjoy. However, Jones is also aiming to make the overall story accessible to those who've never played the game.
While ducking questions on casting, Jones shared some concept art--which you can see below--and explained the film will be made in the style of Avatar, with human actors interacting with motion-capture created creatures. The filmmaking team onstage also promised the wildly popular fantasy series Game of Thrones would be an influence as well, though how is a little unclear at this point. They could mean in tone, or in the complexity of right and wrong when it comes to the story's warfare. Less likely is that it will match the show in graphic violence as they crew is shooting for a PG-13 rating. However, Jones promised, "You can get away with some shit with PG-13." Still, the panel suggested their battle scenes will look more like Gladiator's, but that film was notably rated R.
Warcraft will begin production in January of 2014, and is set to hit theaters on December 18, 2015.