In advance of the World of Warcraft movie’s March 2016 release, director Duncan Jones took to the stage at BlizzCon today to update fans on progress. The Moon helmer revealed that a rough edit of the film now exists, which Blizzard’s top brass has seen and appear to be delighted with. The majority of remaining work is on the special FX shots, which are being handled by ILM, needed to bring the world of Azeroth to life. “It’s Avatar and Lord of the Rings at the same time,” said Jones. “It’s a big, big movie.”
During the panel further details about the cast and setting were also revealed. The movie takes place in the Warcraft 1 era. The classic Horde versus Alliance origin story makes sense, given the richness of the Warcraft universe, and the fact Blizzard intends this to be the first iinstalmentin a series rather than a one-off. After searching for the right director for some time, Jones ultimately got the gig because he wanted to tell the Horde and Alliance side of the story equally, treating the orcs with real empathy.
Blizzard also revealed a number of the actors playing key roles for both factions:
They’ll be joined by Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol’s Paula Patton, who will play the less obviously aligned Garona. On stage, though, it was the arrival of Rob Kazinsky, wielding a giant Doomhammer prop, who stole the show. Kazinsky has been playing WoW since Burning Crusade, and has logged over 500 days in the game—a revelation which saw him jokingly accused of “slapping his nerd dick on the table” by the panel’s host.
As Orgrim, all Kazinsky’s work has involved mo-cap and green screen in order to bring the warchief to life. Judging by the slouched, menacing ‘orc walk’ which he performed on stage, the Horde fans are in safe hands. Both Kazinsky and Jones also seemed understandably at pains to point out they don’t plan on being the ones that “ruined Warcraft”.
Speaking about the quality of the special effects work, Kazinsky said: “You know the cutscenes that Blizzard do for, like, Draenor or the ‘Arthas, My Son’ one? It’s like that, but on crack.” To prove the point both recommended that the audience headed upstairs to the Dolby Atmos theatre here at the Anaheim Convention Center, where an extended cut of the trailer which debuted at Comic-Con is playing.
In terms of style, the impression I came away with from the footage is of a less booby, more overtly magical, Game Of Thrones. After the trailer, there was also a bonus lingering close-up of Orc leader Durotan watching over his pregnant wife, complete with some fairly subtle emoting. Promising stuff so far.