Duncan Jones Talks Warcraft Movie and Sequels on Twitter
Duncan Jones, director of the 2016 Warcraft movie, answered several questions on Twitter and shared insights about the film as well as his vision for hypothetical sequels.
Although it reported a domestic loss, the film went on to become the
highest grossing film based on a video game
of all time due to strong international response, particularly in China where it was cited as one of the country's most anticipated films of all time. Ultimately however, the lukewarm reception left the likelihood of any sequels slim at best.
The Origins of the Horde Trilogy
With a title like Warcraft: The Beginning, it's pretty clearly meant to be not only an origin story, but also the start of something bigger. With a wealth of material to draw from, there's ample material with which to make a sequel.
This of course refers to Thrall's origin story, told in the novel
Lord of the Clans
(titled after the cancelled Warcraft Adventures game of the same name). In the book, his friendship with Taretha is the catalyst for Thrall's escape, meeting his people, and eventually freeing them from Alliance internment, after which the Prophet Medivh directs him to Kalimdor at the start of Warcraft III. Duncan's tweet, however, would seem to retcon that, making an unknown Tauren responsible for introducing Thrall to the western continent.
We probably shouldn't read too much into terse, 280-character tweet, but it's an interesting narrative decision. On the one hand, it seems nonsensical that there'd be a Tauren in the Eastern Kingdoms, but then again, stranger stuff has happened in Warcraft, and it's not completely unreasonably to think that if one
present Blackmoore would have sought out other exotic gladiators. It would also serve as a softer introduction to this other species, so that audiences would recognize them by the time Thrall reached Kalimdor in a following film, and there's no reason that the Prophet couldn't also still direct him to actually take the Horde there.
This would at least roughly follow the narrative of the novel, in which Thrall meets the Drek'thar, Hellscream, and Doomhammer, learns Shamanism and frees his people. Although 1st Azerothian city might not be quite accurate, we can assume it would more or less follow the events of the Warcraft III, introduce viewers to the Trolls and Tauren (at least the latter of which would be recognizable from the second film), likely the Night Elves, and set the stage for the larger world of Warcraft. From there, assuming the series were still successful enough, the sky is the limit - a film about the Burning Legion would be really cool, and an Arthas trilogy could have been a phenomenal way to tell his story as well.
This is interesting, as it would imply that Jones didn't interact with that many Blizzard employees. Chris Metzen retired in 2016, and as Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development would have been the most likely advisor, but there hasn't been that much change over in terms of development staff. Granted, a movie director will have a host of writers, producers, managers, and other staff to rely on, but the comment makes you wonder how much direct involvement Blizzard actually had in the movie's creation; a question further exacerbated by a 2018 interview, in which Jones claimed
the movie wasn't a priority for Blizzard
, and further cited production issues within the studio.
Bringing Movies to the Big Screen
Unfortunately, movies are very different from video games, as it's extremely hard to adapt one medium to the other. You wouldn't think it were any different from adapting a book, but in fact, very few video game movie adaptations have been successful at all, and
most have been major bombs
. Whether it's due to fans rejecting rewrites, the story not resonating with general audiences, trying too hard to translate video game mechanics, or just being too ambitious for their own good, their track record is
bad and the bar for success in the movie industry is set
The Future of Blizzard TV
Movies were once considered the pinnacle of success in the entertainment industry, but that hasn't been true for quite a long time. The success of the small screen and more importantly streaming-exclusive series has opened a lot of doors for storytelling without the same burdens or expectations of the big screen. Netflix's
and despite what any jaded fans may think of Blizzard games, their cinematics are exceptional.
Fans have long requested Blizzard get into making feature length cinematic series or movies, and that might be a very real possibility. The seldom spoke of
Activision Blizzard Studios
was specifically created to bring the company's game franchises to films and television, though has so far only released one moderately successful offering in
, with a
Call of Duty
currently on hold
. Animation is a notoriously slow medium though, so that doesn't mean other projects aren't in the works - Studios President Nick van Dyke made waves earlier this year after inadvertently
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