- Travis Fimmel
- Paula Patton
- Ben Foster
- Toby Kebbell
- Rob Kazinsky
- Daniel Wu
- Clancy Brown
It is hard at this point to figure out which characters these actors will play on the big screen for the Warcraft film. Duncan Jones only revealed two characters at BlizzCon 2013 (read the panel transcript later).
Those two characters are Sir Anduin Lothar and Durotan, chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan.
Duncan said: “The story that was most important to tell was an origin story of that first contact. So for us, for me, and I think you guys agree was the story to tell is between Lothar and Durotan. I would imagine most of you know your lore and can kinda know where this is going.”
It is obviously set during the First War — played through the first Warcraft RTS game titled Warcraft: Orc and Humans (1994). However, Duncan and Metzen have the flexibility to bend the story a bit without actually breaking the canon.
As Rob Pardo said: “I think one of the exciting things about exploring the storyline that we are is that the early games weren’t really a great mechanism for telling this story. So it really allows the movie a lot of flexibility to kinda do the ultimate version of Warcraft history.”
Basically, there wasn’t much of a quest objectives system like the one we have seen in Warcraft III.
Those who haven’t played Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, right before the map loaded you had this primitive MS DOS-like background image with scrolling text as a medium to tell a brief story or what you were supposed to do roleplaying the leader of your faction, and then the map loaded and you had to basically figure out things after reading a single mission objective onscreen.
In fact, Durotan didn’t exist at all in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. He was never mentioned in-game nor in the manual of that first game.
Durotan was originally a character in the Warcraft Adventures video-game that Blizzard Entertainment cancelled on May 22, 1998. Later, Metzen contacted Pocketbooks to tell the story of the cancelled game. After a writer missed the deadline, Christie Golden was approached by her agent while she was enjoying her vacations, and took the helm of the novel. Christie wrote Warcraft: Lord of the Clans in barely two weeks.
The novel actually didn’t capture all of the plot of the video game. A lot was scrapped, including Deathwing, Vol’jin and Gazlowe.
Durotan was featured briefly in that novel. There you see the scene where Orgrimm Doomhammer warns Durotan he discovered Gul’dan had ordered to kill him. Orgrimm asked his guards to escort Durotan and his wife Draka and their baby to a safe place. However, the guards were secretly assassins of the Shadow Council and killed them. This novel was published on October 2001.
We can see more of Durotan in the novel by Christie Golden titled World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde (2007) which served as a novel tie-in for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
That novel covered a few eras of Draenor up to the point when the Dark Portal was to be created, which gave Durotan a big character development spotlight.
In terms of the Warcraft film’s plot, Durotan was never featured in the Warcraft: Orcs and Humans RTS video game. However, it doesn’t mean that bringing him into the spotlight as a main character of the film breaks the canon.
The 1994 game didn’t have an evolved medium to tell a grand story. There were limitations, and technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today.
Chris Metzen and Rob Pardo talked during the Warcraft Film presentation panel that this new vision of the film script under Duncan Jones’ idea is sort of like the Ultimate Warcraft story.
This iconic “Ultimate” term is in reference to Marvel Comics revolutionary imprint: The Ultimate Spider-Man, where basically Marvel modernized the origins of Spiderman reintroducing core stories spanning the 1960s and later years for the present day readers.
So having Durotan and Lothar together onscreen in a sense doesn’t break canon. It simply adds to the canon and enriches it. I don’t think we heard the name of the orc we roleplayed as in the original Warcraft game. Now we have a name for him. Durotan.
To further validate the argument, the very first mission in the orc campaign says the following:
Chapter 1: Swamps of Sorrow
Blackhand has assigned you to an outpost in the Swamps of Sorrow. Your task is simple enough that even the Warchief feels that you are capable of it. Construct at least 6 farms, so that we may keep our troops well fed and ready to do battle. Only a fool would leave his treasures unguarded, so you must also build a barracks for the defense of these farms.
The player is not roleplaying as Blackhand. In fact, there is no name. But the non-named orc existed in the canon.
Warcraft Film – Horde Characters
On the Horde side, the obvious characters at a glance to show up in the Warcraft film are Warchief Blackhand. If Durotan was the non-named hero in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, then he was executing the orders of Warchief Blackhand. Blackhand must then be in the film. That means Durotan must be in Blackrock Spire to get orders from Blackhand, and depending how early in the timeline Duncan is going with the film, maybe at the Dark Portal or Stonard — before they head up toward the Blackrock Mountains.
Blackhand is of the Blackrock Clan, and as we read in World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde (reprinted in Chronicles of War), Durotan was a good friend of another Blackrock orc… Orgrimm Doomhammer. It is mandatory for both characters to interact with Durotan in the film. We also know other orcs who came through the Dark Portal: Gul’dan, Eitrigg (Blackrock), Saurfang, Maim and Rend (sons of Warchief Blackhand), Warlock Drek’thar, Warlock Teron Gore, Warlock Cho’gall, Griselda (daughter of Blackhand), Garona Halforcen (Gul’dan’s top assassin and diplomat), and Grommash Hellscream.
I don’t know about you, but I have huge expectations for this film. There are a lot of orcish characters in the RTS, some only mentioned in the novels, mangas or World of Warcraft NPCs who claim to have come through the Dark Portal or in the internment camps who should be present in the canon during the First War; and Duncan Jones and Chris Metzen should deliver. Especially with the many Red Shirt Guys who are no doubt going to be looking at all the plotholes and eye-sharp details missed or gotten wrong. I’m sure the in-house historians Justin Parker and Evelyn Fredericksen will have a tough time checking and double-checking to make sure the plot is pure and pristine.
Warcraft Film – Alliance Characters
One must ask the question. Is Medivh going to be featured in Duncan Jones’ Warcraft film? That’s a pretty good question. Medivh (or better said, Sargeras through Medivh’s body) kept in contact with Gul’dan and opened the Dark Portal. It would be negligent not to add Medivh to the Warcraft film, especially when that’s the origin of Warcraft. But … who could be the actor to star as Medivh?
At that time, Medivh was in his late 30s, maybe 40s. He was friend of Lothar and Prince Llane as a kid. The novel mentioned them having an adventure against trolls in Stranglethorn Vale; and shortly he fell into a coma at age 14, when the power of the Guardian (passed down to him by his mother Aegwynn) kicked in. The self-induced coma could be arguably the power fighting to repel the spirit of Sargeras. Medivh woke up from the coma many years later during his adulthood.
So there are a few actors from the cast line up announced a few weeks by Legendary Entertainment who might qualify to take the role of Medivh. Kazinsky, Kebbell and Fimmel could in theory take the role of Medivh as they were born in the early 1980s (a bit over 30 years old).
Toby Kebbel (Age 31) played as Prince of Persia and has a better vibe to play Medivh than Fimmel. Here he has similar clothing of what he could look like as Medivh. At least the basics are there.
Kazinsky has a boy-face, though. He fits Khadgar better. Young, good-hearted and heroic vibe. He recently played as Chuck Hansen in Pacific Rim.
I’m a bit conflicted there in my personal criteria because all three could be Khadgar, including Ben Foster (below).
At first, I thought Travis Fimmel could be Lothar, but personally with his looks and still young-looking aged I would cast him as Turalyon.
Now when I heard that Clancy Brown came aboard the first thing I thought when I saw that face is: Lothar. However, he could also play King Llane.
It is all smokescreen at the moment. None of the roles each actor is playing in the film have been revealed.
Locations and more Characters
Something odd about the choice of locations revealed at BlizzCon 2013 is Iron Forge. This place was never mentioned in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, and I can’t recall it mentioned in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, either. It represents a big question mark.
Certainly, there were no dwarves in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. The dwarves were introduced into the Warcraft universe in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (Dec 1995).
Where does Iron Forge fits in the Warcraft film then? At least, in Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2002) the dwarves are indeed mentioned. Khadgar and Medivh ride gryphons in Karazhan to reach the Swamp of Sorrows, but in none of the RTS game missions it is mentioned.
Some of the locations played in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans were the Swamp of Sorrows. As seen in Caverns of Time: The Black Morass, the Swamp of Sorrows and the Blasted Lands were formerly part of the Black Morass.
The RTS game, from the orcs campaign’s point of view, took us to Grand Hamlet, Dead Mines, Redridge Mountains, Sunnyglade, Blackrock Spire, Northshire Abbey, Southern Elwynn Forest, Darkshire, Goldshire, Moonbrook and Stormwind Keep.
On the Alliance campaign those places are visited too, in addition to Rockard, Stonard, and the Temple of the Damned in Black Morass.
Which of these will the Warcraft film feature? Out of all these Warcraft: Orcs and Humans locations — only Goldshire and Stormwind were officially revealed at BlizzCon 2013.
In addition, Duncan Jones and Metzen revealed Iron Forge, Dalaran, Draenor, and Stormwind.
That sounds absolutely cool, but then as a lore buff you might blink a couple of times. Dalaran was never mentioned in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans.
However, it was mentioned later in the Warcraft: Orcs and Humans novelization by Jeff Grubb — Warcraft: The Last Guardian (reprinted in the Warcraft Archive). Warcraft: The Last Guardian was published on December 2002.
That novel featured the story of Khadgar, a Dalaran librarian sent to Karazhan by the Council of the Six to become Medivh’s apprentice. As the plot progressed, the reader could witness the unmasking of Medivh as the one who opened the Dark Portal; and the discovery that a demon named Sargeras possessed him, as well as the story of Aegwynn’s encounter with Sargeras in Northrend.
If any of that is portrayed in the Warcraft film, or there is a visit to Dalaran during the First War, a cameo of Prince Kael’thas, Modera, Krasus, and Kel’Thuzad is mandatory. These were members of the Council of Six at that time. Ah-hah! You didn’t think of that one, eh?
There is great expectation for the Warcraft film. Originally, the first plot rumor spun out of Bleeding Cool was that the Warcraft film was focused on Khadgar and Medivh. Alright, Lothar and Durotan were confirmed at BlizzCon 2013 as the lead roles, but maybe the Khadgar/Medivh rumor was partially true. There can’t be a First War without Medivh, and a Khadgar appearance should be also mandatory as he was present during the beheading. Which also means Garona should be in the film.
I should note that Lothar (main character of the Warcraft film) beheads Medivh at the end of the novel. This scene was actually in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in the Alliance campaign mission # 8, except a little different. There was no tower of Karazhan or beheading in the RTS game, but of course, the game wasn’t a great medium to go into details.
With Stormwind City as one of the locations revealed at BlizzCon, King Llane, and his wife the Queen should be mandatory, especially if Lothar is to get orders to deal with the threat to the kingdom, which means we should see a child named Prince Varian.
Among the illustrations shown at BlizzCon 2013, featuring locations to be visited during the Warcraft film, one of them is a complete enigma: Dalaran. Why is that illustration showing a Dalaran city floating in the sky? Was the image just to evoke Dalaran in our minds and not to be taken literally? In the First War, Dalaran was on the ground in a cross-like island. It was razed by red dragons later in the Second War. Or was the image representative of how we will see Dalaran in the film? Hmm…
That is a mind-blowing enigma. If it was a literal image of how we will see Dalaran in the film, then there is a paradox.
Dalaran is a floating city because it was taken to the Crystalsong Forest in Northrend to take the battle to the Lich King and to the Nexus War’s backyard so to speak.
The only way a floating-in-the-sky Dalaran can appear in the Warcraft film is if the film started in the present day of World of Warcraft. Last time we saw Dalaran in Mists of Pandaria time is during the Patch 5.1 Landfall mission known as The Purge of Dalaran. At the end, in the Horde version of it, players escape Dalaran through the sewer and a flying mount catches the player as it falls into … the sea.
That was evidence that Dalaran has been moved in the present from Northrend and it is floating away to an unknown destination. Unknown because the logical thing is that it should be returning to its original location in Lordaeron, but Jaina could be moving it somewhere else.
Anyway, the point is that if the Film started in the present day, we would be seeing the story of Warcraft told from the point of view of a lead character to someone else. Imagine King Varian telling the story to the Pandaren. Or the whole First War said as a flashback by someone in the present.
That would be nice in some way if as Metzen jokingly said:
We could really make a number of trilogies if we really put our minds to it.
What if there were indeed more trilogies based on Warcraft? Say, Warcraft I and II as a trilogy.
Warcraft III as a trilogy.
World of Warcraft as a trilogy.
Now if the Warcraft film started from the point of view of the present (coughs, floating Dalaran), then we would be seeing character cameos quite often. It would be a great storytelling mechanic to have King Varian, Jaina and other leaders of the present day show up in the Warcraft film. Even short glimpses of Arthas as flashbacks hinting at a film based on the rise and fall of Prince Arthas to be produced in a few years from now.
I’m just dreaming on a cloud here. The Dalaran illustration thing may be nothing. But the lingering question mark is there. A floating Dalaran.