Warcraft’s 10-Year Journey to the Big Screen

This week the Warcraft movie finally reaches U.S. cinemas, having already hit the charts in Europe and China. It’s probably fair to say that critics haven’t been too kind to the big budget video game adaptation, but that’s not likely to stop the legions of World of Warcraft fanboys from flocking to see if director Duncan Jones has done the game world justice. You’d hope there’d be something worth watching though. After all, the film has been in development for a long 10 years. Here’s what you need to know about the game’s epic quest to reach the big screen.

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It Was First Announced in 2006

It was just over 10 years ago, May 9th, 2006, that Warcraft developer Blizzard first announced that it was partnering with Legendary Pictures to produce a live-action movie based on the franchise. It made sense at the time–Warcraft 3 was only a few years old, and MMO World of Warcraft was hitting its stride, breaking subscription records.

Delays, Delays, Delays

In case you couldn’t guess, Blizzard didn’t set out to spend ten years on the film. First it was set for 2009. Then it slipped to 2011. By 2011, it was still in the “treatment stage.” Finally, a real release date was once again set: December 18th, 2015. Except then this pesky little film called The Force Awakens came along, and Warcraft got pushed back again to avoid a fight it could never win: to June 10th, 2016, when it finally, actually, really comes out.

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Blizzard’s Own Writer Worked on the Script

The film gives a ‘story’ credit to Chris Metzen. You probably haven’t heard of him, but he’s the guy who invented and wrote most of the Warcraft games’ lore, as well as Diablo and StarCraft. He didn’t write the final version of the script, but it’s all inspired by his writing–which is presumably good news if you’re a fan.

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Uwe Boll Wasn’t Allowed Near It

Anyone who’s familiar with video game movies knows there’s one name to fear above all others: Uwe Boll. The firebrand German director is responsible for abysmal adaptations of Alone in the Dark, Far Cry, Postal, and more. He saw another opportunity in Warcraft, and approached Blizzard to get his shot. They said no. More specifically, they said: “We will not sell the movie rights, not to you… especially not to you.”

Sam Raimi Was Supposed To Direct

Director Sam Raimi best known for the Evil Dead and original Spider-Man films, was Blizzard’s first choice for the movie. He was attached for years, but had to give up the job when the planned schedule clashed with his last film, Oz the Great and Powerful.

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David Bowie’s Son Got the Job Instead

Duncan Jones (a.k.a. Zowie Bowie) is the son of the late rock superstar, and he replaced Raimi in the director’s chair. More importantly, he also directed the amazing Moon, and the not-as-amazing-but-still-quite-good Source Code a few years later. He reportedly won the job thanks to arguing that the script shouldn’t make the orcs the bad guys, changing the story so that “It’s 50-50.”


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