Duncan Jones’ Warcraft flopped stateside, but it’s tearing it up in China, so a sequel is still a very real possibility. It’s also a movie I think people should see even though I have serious reservations about the film. One of those reservations is how it leans too heavily on the fan side so that some things are confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the game are left out.
However, Jones took to io9 to answer some burning questions you may have about the movie if you’re unfamiliar with the games or if you’re super-familiar with the games and wanted to know why some story elements were changed. Spoilers ahead.
Fans of the game may note that there are very different outcomes for Durotan (Toby Kebbell) and Garona (Paula Patton). In the game, Gul’dan’s guards murder Durotan and his wife Draka, and Garona is mind-controlled into killing King Llane by Gul’dan. In the movie, Durotan sacrifices himself to show Gul’dan’s corruption, and King Llane asks Garona to kill him so that she can become a celebrated figure amongst the orcs and work for peace. Jones, wanting to present the humans and the orcs on equal footing, has their leaders both commit noble sacrifices for their people.
In the games, those characters and their storylines are painted with pretty broad brush strokes. And I think when you’re making a movie, you have to work at a different level of fidelity. And you have to add a little more definition and three-dimensionality to who these characters are, why they do what they do, and what they’re thinking about when they’re not yet doing what they are going to do! And so I think films are different in that respect.
And for me, to engage an audience, both of fans but also people who are not fans, I need to make these characters that people are going to care about. If Durotan is going to go up against the Horde, if he’s going to go up against Gul’dan, why is he going to do that? Why is he going to out himself and his family and his wife and child in a position where they can be in danger? All of that has to be explained, and it has to come out of the mouths of characters who you believe would do these things.
Additionally, in the game, the human world of Stormwind falls, but in the movie, it hasn’t been taken by the orcs. Jones says that to try and include the fall of Stormwind would have just been too much:
I kinda feel like we’d bitten so much off with what we were trying to achieve. We had to introduce all of these characters, introduce all of this world to people who may not know anything about it. I think the fact that they got the portal closed was enough. You know, whatever happens next will happen next. But that kind of felt like a pretty good chunk size. In two hours, we can get that done. Anything more, you’re kind of running into a convolution of epilogues and of story.
Jones also talks about why he made Thrall the final image of the movie:
If we do have the chance to do more movies… to me, this story is about the Orcs losing their home. And Durotan trying to find a new one for his people. I would love, by the end of the trilogy, for us to know where the new Orc home is. And Thrall is obviously going to be massively important in that story.
Oh, and if you’re confused by who Glenn Close (in the running for most random cameo of the year) was playing, Jones has an answer:
Glenn Close is… well, we use the name Alodi, which is a guardian…kind of the original guardian and the retconning that we’ve done with that she is a guardian that comes from so far back that the Kirin Tor themselves don’t remember her in their understanding of war. So that kind of works for us and I think it builds from enough elements of the lore that, again, it’s one of those things where there may be pieces missing, but the pieces that are there are not wrong.
So if the film can be a big enough of a success worldwide to merit a sequel, where does Jones hopes he can take the story?
I would love to see Lich King. You know, I would love to see these other things. I would love to see someone else tell those stories so that I could watch them as a fan.
But what are the chances of a sequel happening? Jones says:
Chris Benson and I have discussed in very loose term what the trilogy will be. We all want to relax after this film. It took three-and-a-half years. And we’ll kind of get back into it if people like this film enough to warrant us having the chance to make a few more.
The interesting thing is going to be the emphasis we spend on specific characters that may not be the same emphasis that’s in the game. But again, that kind of gives us a little bit more flexibility and freedom to see things from perspective that follows the same lore, but sees it from a very different perspective than you saw it in the game.
Warcraft is now in theaters.