‘Warcraft’ Movie To Be Directed By Duncan Jones [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by

World of Warcraft Sam Raimi Warcraft Movie To Be Directed By Duncan Jones [Updated]

The night before Comic-Con 2009 I wrote an article about a movie adaptation based on one of the biggest and most successful video games of all time: World of Warcraft. Sam Raimi, coming off the critically acclaimed Drag Me To Hell was still developing Spider-Man 4 for Sony at the time and word had it that he was going to direct the long-awaited Warcraft movie.

Nothing came of it and despite Raimi researching the gig over the years, he revealed over the summer that he was off to project due to his obligations to Disney for Oz the Great and Powerful. He specifically said “they had to start making it” and therefore needed a new director. And a new director they have found.

Legendary Pictures has signed Duncan Jones to helm the World of Warcraft live-action film based on the series of games and successful MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) by Blizzard Entertainment. Jones of course, comes to the franchise with a proven track record of sci-fi films (see: Moon, Source Code) that center on rich and unique characters. In a genre that’s failed to break out of the “sucky” trend, Jones may be right choice to deliver a blockbuster epic that fans (and critics) can get behind.

With the dropping of Raimi and subsequent hiring of Jones, it’s clear that Legendary is ready to get Warcraft into development. And good for them. They’ve been pushing the high fantasy and sci-fi genres in recent years with their other long-in-development adaptation Mass Effect and have Pacific Rim and The Seventh Son releasing later this year with another monster movie (Godzilla) in development.

Shortly after Raimi parted ways with Warcraft, Legendary brought in screenwriter Charles Leavitt to pen a new script to replace the one written prior by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan). Leavitt wrote The Seventh Son for Legendary and according to THR’s scoop on Duncan Jones taking the director’s chair, the screenplay is being kept top secret.

Adapting the over-exaggerated aesthetic and character designs of Azeroth (the world where the games take place) will be a challenge for Jones, but the rich universe allows for endless possibilities of characters and story arcs. Take a look at the original cinematic trailer for World of Warcraft (2004) and the trailer for Mists of Pandaria expansion from September:

[Update #1] Duncan Jones tweeted the following after the report:

[Update #2] The Tracking Board claims Warner Bros. is interested in Johnny Depp to star, but with his upcoming obligations to Pirate of the Caribbean 5 (and other projects), we’re not sure how possible that is.

World of Warcraft could begin shooting this fall for a 2015 release.


Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your video game and movie news.

Source: THR

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  1. Woah awesome director. Lol

    • What about Uwe Boll ?
      He would have been a perfect choice ! Some of the best Game to Movie Films were made by him :)

  2. Can it truly be? A good video game adaptation in the works?

    • I am as surprised as you are and will only believe it once I see it.

  3. Why don’t you do Minecraft while you’re at it? Or Runescape? (facepalm)

    • You can complain, but if Duncan Jones is creative enough (as he was with Moon AND Source Code) there could be a truly epic and clever story idea with Warcraft.

      • IMO Source code was awful. So I don’t really put that in the win column. I have a depressing sense that this film is going to be another “Hitman”.

        • That is your opinion but the concesus says it was a great movie 91% on RT

          • The idea of the film was good. The acting and directing were Sub-par IMO.

            • Fair assesmemt you can feel anyway you like, atleast you have reasons

            • It’s your opinion so I won’t argue, but myself and many it seems agree that Source Code was great.

    • Are you referring to the director or the source material?

  4. I love you legendary.

  5. What are the odds of this being fantastic? I mean, they got talent behind this but still. I hope this works out great even though I have’nt played WOW in a couple of years.

  6. Wow, they’ll make movies about any old crap won’t they?

    • From what I’ve heard, WoW isn’t crap. However, I’ve also heard there isn’t much potential for anything beyond what it is, including a movie because…what can possibly set it apart from any other movies with that setting? They all link back to that same source of fantasy and it seems like it gets expanded on, but does it really? I don’t think so, but thats just me

      • The biggest problem with WOW is the story well lack of. but it shouldnt be to hard to make a antagonist and allow a group of varies races and classes to band together and fight. Human warrior, gnome rogue, night elf hunter and idk. Most likely an alliance vs horde story line simple like lotr but with more unique abilities

        • I wouldn’t say lack of story. Warcraft has a fantastic story. The MMO has diluted it highly and crunched in tons of nonsensical extra side quests and so on, but at its core it has a phenomenal story. Personally, I am hoping they try to tackle the rise and fall of Arthas as their first film. If they are successful perhaps they will be able to branch out. I’m skeptical about the quality of the film, but we’ll see how it pans out.

      • a lot of people love this type of fantasy hence the popularity of the video-game. their only real competition is the hobbit trilogy, but knowing the rich lore of Warcraft, they will have no problem competing with them. personally i can’t wait. the 1st movie could be about War of the Ancients!

      • Not gonna argue about whether it’s crap or not but in my opinion, it is. I just can’t see any point in becoming as totally devoted to it as some people are and they come across as being as sad and pathetic as Trekkies.

        Jones can pull it off for sure but again, I just don’t see a story in it at all.

        • Thats why i say you make a story, an adventure with varioua races and classes. It could be fun

        • wow, thanks for sharing your opinion of us World of Warcraft players.

          sad and pathetic…

      • Well that would be like saying James Bond is crap cause every movie is almost the same….. ;)

        I mean after the first two or three times he saves the world or some terrorist plot what else is there?

        Im just busting your chops. However the WoW is much more diverse then getting a group of people together to defeat a foe.

        it actually has slavery and racial tension, forbidden love, comedy, horror etc.

        Ignore that crud movie up there about the Pandas. Youtube the HD openings of WoW, The Burning Crusade, Lich King and Deathwing. Why they wouldnt go that route with an animated movie is beyond me.

        Characters could then be ageless so to speak and the use of special effects, make up etc would not ruin or hamper it.

        The problem will be trying to have it all make sense. With that making it ‘live’ is probably its biggest problem.

        • bah used crap should have used no potential. sorry.

  7. Never played Warcraft but did admire the creativity in their video games, and just looked up Duncan Jones’ history and this may turn out to be a great film based on a video game.

  8. It will be a fantasy film with elements from the game most likely. Id watch it

  9. About time. They need to make this movie while it’s still relevant.

  10. I approve of the director. What most people don’t know is that Duncan Jones is David Bowie’s son. While I was in grad school at Vandy, Duncan was dating my co-worker. He was really humble. Didn’t work out between my co-worker and him, fwiw.

  11. Warcraft always had a fantastic story. I’m not sure live action is the way to go with it, but if they use source material from the RTS and lore it might be tolerable. I’m skeptical, however, if this is going to turn into another ‘Hitman’ film.

    • The writer according to imdb wrote blood diamond. The story writer wrote the game and many others

  12. I think he would have been a better fit for Mass Effect but still a smart choice. :)

  13. He should get the assistance of Peter Jackson or Guillermo del Toro to do the actual special effects. They do such amazing work.

    • Huh? They dont do it there is companies that do so. LOTR uses WETA workshops

  14. As the podcast said a few weeks ago, in a few years (good) video game movies might be the next big thing. We got Michael Fassbender in Assassins Creed, Tom Hardy in Splinter Cell, and now we got Jones, a great young action/sci-fi/thriller director doing Warcraft.

    • Yessir. Been saying that on the podcast every time I can, and on the site for coming up on 5 years :)

  15. I dont want to see johnny depp anywhere near this. But glad to see jones is excited to work on it.

  16. I read awhile ago that the movie was going to be set between the Warcraft 3 game & the start of WoW. Not sure if thats true now that they have a new writer tho.

  17. My only issue with a Warcraft movie is that there are SO many stories to tell, and stories from two completely different sides of the conflict.

    If they tell it from the Alliance side, obviously they will make the Horde side out to be the “bad guys”, and vice versa.

    Another important detail is that neither side speaks the language of the other. It will make writing dialog a bit challenging.

    • If they tell it truthful you know who the bad guys are……over all the Humans more or less started this whole conflict.

      As for the dialogue there was a time when it was believed you could learn the others language. You even had an experience bar related to language.

      The assumption was at one point you could help the other side and in order to do that you would need certain language skills.

      Of course that was dropped.

      One of the issues with the game is that (IMO) as as long as the races have lived together you would think they would pick up on it… :D

  18. Great Director. Moon and Source code are awesome movies.

  19. For all you ‘people’ that have not read the books (comic and paperbacks) or played any of the games (I started with OvH) you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to stories.

    If you want to compare it to other Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery please do. However need I remind you there are not that many original ideas in Hollywood at all as they all break down to a basic set of about 12(?) scenarios regardless of the setting.

    I would say possible spoilers but meh.

    The Orcs in Warcraft were brought from another planet within the universe of Warcraft. They were persecuted by the Humans of Azeroth and kept as slaves. One young Orc Thrall eventually become the Orcs salvation.

    Thats your first movie. It introduces you to the WoW and one of its key players.

    There is a deeper reason the Orcs were brought over…. but I dont want to state it incorrectly.

    The Orcs and Humans would fight for a long time until a common threat to Azeroth (the planet) would semi bring them together. This ties into I believe the original or one of the reasons (please someone correct me) the Orcs were brought over. This was a whole slew of demon spawn etc and introduced the Orcs previous homeland Outland (planet).

    While all this is going on a great power in the North (of Azeroth) has been growing. The Lich King previously used the Forsaken (undead types) for his armies and they are frantically trying to find a way to not come under his control again. The Lich King is not actually one person as the spirit can be transferred an or taken over. Arthas once a good guy took it upon himself to attempt to rid Strathholme of a disease that turned townsfolk into The Forsaken(?). This prompted him to completely burn the city to the ground. His rage consumed him and in turn taking up the sword Frostmourne damning his soul creating the new Lich King.

    The next big movie event would be the return of Deathwing. Deathwing was a dragon. The dragons are connected to the elemental plane and since DW was first defeated (way before WoW) he has been in hiding tending to his wounds and just waiting for a comeback. The comeback arrives with an almost splitting of the planet Azeroth. DW scorches and sunders the planter. Changing the face of Azeroth. This compels Thrall to step down as leader of the Orcs to attempt to assist in the defeat of Deathwing.

    phew.. sorry..

    Thats it in a nutshell. There are MANY more side stories that could be movies within themselves that dont contain your main players.

    Are they original? Not really as I said all your basic plots are used over and over.

    However rich and full? I would have to say yes.

    Oh and why do I not include Kung Fu Panda? Well that to me was the last straw in the game… :(

    Please correct some of my descriptions as this is going all off memory.

    • While an Orc as the main protagonist would be interesting, it will never happen. Hollywood and all it’s overanalyzation will deem it necessary that the main character be a Human (or near Human like say and Elf) so the audience can better relate to them.

      I know, I know, it’s completely moronic treating us like we can’t possibly bond with a non-human character but Hollywood have proven they are too stupid to take a chance.

  20. If you have ever seen the movie legend, then you know that hollywood has failed many, many times since then to create a fantasy that captures the audience into the world.

    I expect this move to be a hollow attempt to clone lord of the rings trilogy, without the heart the hobbits bring to the story.

    Its a shame too, The Tuaren, Thrall and child king of Stormwind could be some amazing stories.

  21. I’ve never played one second of World of Warcraft. I probably never will because I’m not now nor ever have been a “gamer” unless you count playing Madden or NCAA Football but I don’t think I can.
    So the main reason I’m reading this post and commenting is because I’m a fan of Duncan Jones and I’ve been waiting to hear what he’ll be directing next. He’s off to a pretty solid start with Moon and Source Code so I’m happy to hear he’ll be tackling a big budget potential tent pole film.

  22. I played WoW for a longtime, but imo I think this film is going come out to late as the game is now in decline and they should have bought out a film back it’s Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King expansion days when it’s popularity was at it’s height.

    Still as an ex -fan I would be interested in seeing how this works out.

  23. I want to see a Magic The Gathering movie. If World of Warcraft is getting a move then we should see some planeswalkers.

  24. I sort of have my doubts about this too. I played the very first Warcraft game but only the first one so I’m not sure if any of the follow up games had any characters that were personalized for the games, in other words characters you can bring to life for the audience to care about. That’s one of the biggest weaknesses of bringing any game to the screen, can you translate the games strengths into anything viable. One theory I’ve begun thinking about after watching the latest ‘Resident Evil’ episode is that you can’t watch these movies or even grade them like you do a standard movie because of the nature of the source. Whenever you do one you have to take into account what the owner of the original material wants and they usually are interested in furthering their industry goals, which is the video game industry! When you view something like ‘Resident Evil’ with that in mind you can see it differently. Some of it reminds you of a game and if you played the associated game then you get the satisfaction of seeing a version of the game somebody else played. That person being a composite of the studio production staff.

    Really! YOU are essentially watching the production staff play the game out in the movie environment. The twists and turns of the story are the moves they chose to make and the ending is the result of their game play. Looking at the movie from that angle we are all Alice in cheat mode and we are the games testers looking at the game to see if its flow is satisfying enough for general consumption.

    Perhaps the game industry should try to adapt a little when there properties get to the point where they become subjects for movies by generating sequels that put characters into a version of their game before the movie is made. Admittedly it would take a few extra years for people to connect but it would make game centric movies easier to produce and make money with. Perhaps the movie industry itself needs to build more bridges to the game industry…