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SciTech

Warcraft movie reveals story, iconic characters, locales


BlizzCon 2013 offered some tantalizing reveals about the races, characters, and locations set to appear in the Warcraft movie that will be appearing in cinemas worldwide in December, 2015. Delivering the news were Blizzard’s Nick Carpenter, Christ Metzen and Rob Pardo. Also present were director Duncan Jones, who was behind films such as “Moon” and “Source Code,” as well as award-winning visual effects supervisor, Bill Westenhofer.
 
First contact
 
According to IGN and Kotaku, the film will be an “origin story,” focusing on the “first contact” between humans and Orcs. Iconic characters Anduin Lothar and Durotan from the original real-time strategy games will play major roles.
 
Jones stated that originally, the Warcraft film’s script was human and Alliance-centric. The team felt, however, that that wouldn’t have done justice to Warcraft’s other half: the Orcs and the Horde.
 
“It’s about both sides,” said Jones, who wants the movie’s audience to be as sympathetic for the Orc heroes as the Human ones. “It’s going to be red and blue.” In other words, the Warcraft film will be about “being a hero no matter what side you’re on.”
 
Metzen remarked that this decision was made so that all Warcraft players can experience in the film the same balance between factions they enjoy in the games.
 
“You have to be as empathetic for Orc heroes and their situation and why they’re doing what they’re doing as you are about anyone,” stated Jones. Pardo added: “the red side is characters too.”
 
Durotan will represent the uncorrupted Orc nobility.
 
“To tell a story where you’re really, honestly telling it from both sides—especially a war film—is unusual,” Jones added. “The fact that we’re able to get an opportunity to do that is, on a story level, breaking a few barriers. I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of films with this structure.”
 
“One of the difficult decisions we had was what part of the lore to focus on,” said Jones, addressing the fact that the Warcraft universe has “so many different stories and memorable characters” as one of the major challenges of conveying “the root of what Warcraft is.”

“We had been working on multiple iterations of the story in the years before we met (with Jones),” said Metzen. “It was a process of honing in on what are the themes that are universal, constructing a story that sings to everyone’s faction and race and finding the touch points that are the broadest themes so everybody wins.”
 
Of swords, makeup, and special effects

 
Westenhofer is a huge fan of the franchise. “I just about spit out my coffee,” he claimed, when asked if he was familiar with the Warcraft universe.
 
Westenhofer started playing the insanely-popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, during its alpha test in 2004. During the making of “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” he would wake up at two in the morning just to participate in raids. Now he has a level 90 Mage in the game.
 
According to Westenhofer, the movie will employ live action and CGI in what will be an “extremely complex endeavor for visual effects.” He further stated that the film will be like “Avatar meets Game of Thrones in terms of complexity.”
 
He also compared the film’s tone to Russel Crowe’s Oscar-winning classic, “Gladiator.”
 
The Orcs will be played by real actors, under tons of makeup and prosthetics. Helping the team to make these characters “as emotive as any human character” is Industrial Light & Magic, world-renowned for its work on seminal classics like “Star Wars” to modern blockbusters such as “Pacific Rim” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
 
Mayes Rubeo, who served as costume designer for “Avatar” and “Apocalypto,” will be behind the film’s costumes. Simon Duggan, who worked on “I, Robot” and “The Great Gatsby” will handle cinematography.
 
The film will strive to strike a balance between fantasy and reality. “The swords are the biggest swords humans could possibly hold,” said the team.
 
Casting call
 
Jones did not reveal much information about the film’s cast, but he did say that actors have already been chosen. “Any of you who know your lore will see that there are definitely opportunities for some very strong female, lead roles,” he said.
 
On the other hand, “it’s been hard to find an actor who looks like Durotan,” said Jones. “Every time I meet an actor I just try to squish his face.”
 
Fans were quick to suggest Ron Perlman, a.k.a. Hellboy, to play an Orc.
 
Warcraft locales
 
Thanks to the concept art revealed at the panel, we have some clues as to what famous Warcraft locales we’ll see in the film.
 
These include Draenor, the Orc homeworld; Dalaran, the floating city of magic; Ironforge, the Dwarven city; and Stormwind, the heart of the Alliance. The movie’s chief focus, however, will be the Eastern Kingdoms of Azeroth. The movie will aim for a PG-13 release, similar to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
 
Filming will begin in Vancouver in early 2014. — VC, GMA News
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