It’s been a long time coming, but the movie based on the popular World of Warcraft video game series is going full steam ahead. Directed by Duncan Jones (Source Code), Warcraft has a script by Charles Leavitt (next year’s Seventh Son), and will begin filming in January 2014 for a release in December 2015.

We’ve had a casting shortlist for a while now, with two of the lead roles reportedly offered to Colin Farrell and Paula Patton. Additionally, Paul Dano (Prisoners), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) are under consideration for unspecified supporting roles.

Now, one actor who was on this shortlist has been cast. Variety reports that Travis Fimmel, star of History Channel’s Vikings, will play one of the film’s four lead roles.

The components for Warcraft have been coming together steadily and relatively under the radar, and – rather surprising for  a blockbuster project – we know quite a bit about it, with conceptual footage teased at SDCC this past summer. Jones and Leavitt are crafting the story with an emphasis on the high-fantasy elements of the game, and are starting from the very beginning. The plot will be based on the first two installments, Orcs & Humans and Tides of Darkness, which are in the mode of Real Time Strategy (RTS) rather than the looser and open-ended sandbox MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) versions of the game.

As far as which characters will be included, and who Fimmel might be playing, there are no hard reports beyond a rumored plot summary which stated that the main characters will be the powerful wizard Khadgar, his mentor Medivh, and the warrior Anduin Lothar, who might be the main hero (if the filmmakers hew anywhere near the storylines from the games). Also, expect loads of invading orcs to factor in, with an orc warchief (Orgrim Doomhammer, perhaps)  to presumably be one of the other main roles.

Of these, Lothar seems to be the best fit for Fimmel, who brings a rough charm, appropriately chiseled good looks and experience in this type of role. If the casting continues along the expected path, it’s conceivable that we might have an official roster of talent locked sooner rather than later – especially if Jones is to begin production by January. Reportedly, Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) was in “advanced negotiations” and Colin Farrell was “50/50” on whether he’d take a role. It’s likely that the other names on the shortlist – Dano, Mount and Yeltin – could be officially confirmed, with news on the rest of the leads to follow.

It remains to be seen whether or not Hollywood can nail a video game adaptation – although we here at Screen Rant believe it could be the next breakout genre after comic book movies – but with the Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation locking down quality talent in the form of producer/star Michael Fassbender and The Wolverine‘s Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank, the chances for Warcraft to help set the tone for quality video game films is looking better and better.

Warcraft will be released in theaters on December 18, 2015.

Source: Variety