Films based on video games have never done particularly well, but that hasn’t stopped many gaming studios from creating new movies to get people more interested in their games. One of those films was Warcraft. While it wasn’t exactly what fans were hoping for, some are still curious about the story and hope to see some answer in a future film or a Warcraft TV Series.
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What Happened in the 2016 Film?
Using dark fel magic, the orc shaman Gul’dan opens a portal to Azeroth and leads a small Warband through it. Among them is the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, Durotan and his pregnant mate Draka, who goes into labour upon arriving in Azeroth. Gul’dan revives the dying baby, Go’el, and the orcs begin invading different settlements and taking prisoners.
After Anduin Lothar (the commander of the armies of the Kingdom Stormwind) learns that some of the slain human bodies contain remnants of fel magic from Khadgar (a trespassing mage), the king of Stormwind sends the two to inform the Guardian of Tirisfal, Medivh.
The orcs begin building a portal to bring the rest of the Horde over to Azeroth and go to war against the armies of Kingdom Stormwind. A scouting team captures the half-orc, Garona, but the king of Stormwind soon releases her in exchange for her loyalty. She helps the humans.
After a failed attempt to unite with the Frostwolf Clan, the humans soon learn that fel magic has corrupted the Guardian of Tirisfal and that he had been the one who helped the orcs reach Azeroth. Gul’dan has the Frostwolf Clan slaughtered for their betrayal, and before she dies, Draka sets her son in a basket and floats him downriver. Durotan is slain by Gul’dan dishonourably.
While the king and his army are fighting the orcs and trying to save the humans taken prisoner, Lothar and Khadgar are trying to close the portal by fighting a now half-demon, Medivh. They are successful, and a dying Medivh uses the last of his power to help the humans escape from the Orcs. But unfortunately, the king, Garona and a few human soldiers cannot get through before the portal closes. So the king orders Garona to kill him so that she can foster peace between the humans and the orcs.
Lothar arrives to retrieve his king’s body and kills the orc that murdered his son in cold blood. The orcs, bound by tradition and having gained respect for the human who managed to take down a magically enhanced orc single-handedly, let Lothar leave despite the anger of Gul’dan, who they have lost respect for after Durotan’s dishonourable death.
Audiences see that Go’el was found by a human and that he would grow to become Thrall, an essential character in the lore of Warcraft.
While the film might not have met fans’ expectations, it still did surprisingly well (having beat Star Wars: The Force Awakens in some countries), with a decently condensed story and some amazing-looking CGI characters. After Warcraft’s very frustrating cliffhanger, many were expecting a sequel, but there has been no news of one since 2016.
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Plans for Sequels Going Nowhere
While film sequels might have once been likely with the response that the first film was getting, that soon began to dwindle. Then, in 2020, director Duncan Jones tweeted about what his plans for the franchise would have been and went into detail about the plot of the second and third films.
He spoke about how the second film would have followed “Go’el/Thrall as a young orc slave in Blackmoore’s gladiator camp. Here he meets and befriends a Tauren who tells him of another land to the west where his people come from, & where he might find allies & maybe a new home….”
The third film would have continued with “the gathering horde army and freeing orcs around the Eastern kingdom before a dangerous trip across the sea to Kalimdor, & the founding of the 1st Azerothian city of Orgrimmar.
He said that the trilogy would basically fulfil “Durotan’s promise to give his people a new home.”
Unfortunately, with the resounding silence from the gaming studio, Blizzard, and the many lawsuits the company is facing, fans aren’t expecting to see the sequels anytime soon.
Continuing as a Warcraft TV Series
One of the big problems with turning a video game into a movie is that games spend hours walking players through their world and letting them learn the lore for themselves through missions, stories from characters or random notes they find. Movies have two hours to give their audiences a whole lot of information so that the story makes sense.
Fortunately for fans, gaming studios have realised that using a TV series format for their adaptations works way better for them in the long run. This allows them to give the slow introduction typical for video games before working their audiences through the lore of the story.
What does the Microsoft Buyout and the Success of Other TV Shows Mean for a Warcraft TV Series?
After all the love and attention that has gone into new TV shows for games such as Halo, Fallout, League of Legends and, more recently, The Last of Us, fans know that TV shows can do video game stories justice, so they’re hoping that they will get to see a Warcraft TV Series soon. Reddit users such as Murdash have said, “The Arcane series has made me realise how absolutely criminal it is that we don’t have any good long-form content of the Warcraft universe.”
While it doesn’t look like we’ll have any sort of World of Warcraft media outside of the online game for a while, fans are still excited about the potential of a new series. With the success of both live-action and animated adaptations of games, there’s no limit to what creators can do with a series based on the world of Azeroth.
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Are you keen on a Warcraft TV Series?