Footage from the Warcraft movie, shown behind closed doors at San Diego Comic Con, has leaked online.
While the quality isn’t the best in the world, the leaked trailer does provide fans with their first real glimpse of director Duncan Jones’ vision for Blizzard’s fantasy universe, complete with visual effects by Hollywood wizards Industrial Light and Magic.
A number of beloved Warcraft characters are shown in the trailer. The trailer opens with future Horde leader Thrall marching with the Frostwold clan towards the Dark Portal on Draenor. After meeting with evil warlock Gul’dan, the Horde then passes through the portal into Azeroth.
It all looks suitably epic, wih plenty of wide shots and huge crowds of Orcs. Those who would have preferred Blizzard to have employed their legendary CGI cutscene skills to bear for the film might have their fears allayed by the footage, too – what we can see of Duncan Jones’ film certainly looks the part. The sense of scale is certainly there, the Dark Portal looks suitably impressive and dominated the skyline, and Orcs look, well, Orc-y, and not just like human actors wearing makeup.
Warcraft will be an origin movie, depicting the arrival of the Horde on Azeroth and subsequent war between the Orc and Human races. The director says that the movie isn’t a straight up tale of good versus evil; rather, he describes the story as being about “two heroes on a collision course,” suggesting that Blizzard’s attempt to depict both sides as equally noble remains intact.
A number of fan-favorite characters will appear. As well as Thrall and Gul’Dan, the archmage Medivh will play a central role in the story. Medivh will be played as Ben Foster, who people might remember from his role as Angel in X-Men 3: Last Stand. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes actor Toby Kebbell portrays Horde leader Durotan, while Pride actor Ben Schnetzer plays Khadgar, Medivh’s apprentice.
Warcraft isn’t just a film for the fans, however; Duncan Jones has said that the movie has been created to be accessible to newcomers as well as the existing fanbase. But judging by the characters, story and the leaked footage seen here, it doesn’t look as though the Warcraft universe has been diluted in order to reach a wider audience.
Could Warcraft be the film which finally breaks from tradition and finds both mainstream and critical success? Hard to say; but the signs certainly look good, and it could be a lot worse – notorious German filmmaker Uwe Boll once attempted to gain the rights to make the Warcraft movie, only to be turned down by Blizzard. Blizzard’s reaction to news of Boll’s interest was reportedly “Not him. Anyone but him.”
Warcraft is due for release in cinemas sometime in 2016. The first official trailer is expected sometime later this November.