A World of Warcraft movie was in development for years before Duncan Jones finally signed on to write and direct, eventually making the wildly ambitious Warcraft a reality. One of the reasons it took so long for the film to get off the ground in the first place was because adapting a game of this scale was no easy task, especially in a manner that was agreeable to Blizzard, the game company that owns the property. Jones hopped in with a unique take—treat the orcs and humans equally as protagonists instead of making one side the “villains” of the piece—and set about crafting high fantasy on a blockbuster scale. And while the finished film suffered from some harsh reviews and disappointing domestic box office, it remains an admirably ambitious feat and a film that works more often than it doesn’t.
Given the tremendous visual effects involved, Warcraft was an expensive movie. And while it only grossed $47 million in the U.S., the film fared much better overseas, ending its run with a gross of $433.5 million worldwide. That’s not bad, and thus fans have been wondering if a sequel may be on the books. During a wonderfully candid interview with Thrillist, Jones addressed the prospect of making a sequel, saying he’s definitely game given how much time he’s already invested in the franchise:
“If there were an opportunity for us to make another film in the Warcraft universe I really feel like we did the hard work in the first movie as far as setting the table. I would love to capitalize on 3 and a half years of hard work and be able to have some fun in that world now that I’ve done the hard work. [So] who knows? Maybe I’m just being a masochist.”
But during the interview, Jones was also upfront about the fact that he’s equally proud and frustrated by the finished product of Warcraft, saying there were concessions made along the way that seemed minor in the moment, but kind of snowballed:
“Trying to make a movie like Warcraft, and trying to do it in a unique way… you get killed by a death of 1,000 cuts. Not just editing cuts. It’s little changes that seem really innocuous. As a filmmaker the only way that I understand how to make a film is holistically. Every choice that I make, whether it is story or character or costume, all works together. When you make a little change it doesn’t seem like a big deal. When you keep making those little changes, especially over three and a half years, suddenly you’re basically spending all of your time trying to work out how to patch up what has been messed around with.”
Indeed, with so much money on the line plus a potential franchise, the studios (i.e. investors) want to ensure that they’re getting the most bang for their buck, and thus some of the more ambitious flourishes may be shot down in favor of trying to appeal to a broad audience. While I think Jones succeeded more than he failed in that regard—this movie is really weird in the best way—he admits that some of the aspects of the film he had to drop still nag at him:
“I’m equally proud and furious about Warcraft. I love it. I spent so much time on it. I put all my heart into trying to make it work. Parts of it, I think, work but it also drives me crazy that I wasn’t able to push through everything that I knew needed to happen in order to make the film I knew it could be.”
As for whether we’ll see a director’s cut, Jones says no such thing exists. Given the amount of visual effects involved, anything that was waylaid or sidelined either during production or the scripting phase never got finished, so Jones says, “There is no possibility of ever being a director’s cut. It’s purely in my head.”