BlizzCon WARCRAFT Movie Panel Recap...............

Here's a recap of the BlizzCon Warcraft movie panel which featured director Duncan Jones, Blizzard's Chris Metzen and IL&M's Bill Westenhofer. The panel was moderated by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.

Here's a rundown of what was shared at this year's BlizzCon regarding the Warcraft movie from director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), Blizzard's Chris Metzen, IL & M's Bill Westenhofer and Orgrim Doomhammer actor Rob Kazinsky.

  • The panel was hosted by Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick. Legendary Pictures recently purchased Nerdist and as they’re producing the Warcraft movie, this type of cross-brand synergy is a no-brainer.
  • Duncan Jones is on stage with Metzen and begins the panel by touching on the Sam Raimi version of the Warcraft movie which focused solely on the Alliance. Jones says that a Warcraft movie needs to tell the story of both the Alliance and the Horde. “[Raimi's version] was, in my opinion, very human-centric, very Alliance-centric. There was I think an approach that in my opinion didn’t put the Orcs in the best light. As in the game where you could choose which side to be on, I thought that it was really important that we made a film which allowed you to be on either side of the conflict, and followed through heroes from both sides. Telling a story where you really allow the audience to empathize and feel for both sides is unusual in war movies, let alone fantasy films, where normally the monsters are portrayed as villains. … In our case, the Orcs were a group that we really wanted to allow the audience to care about.
  • Metzen adds that they’ve been trying to make a Warcraft movie for a long time but Blizzard’s anxiety level was high as a failed movie adaptation would hurt the brand awareness of Blizzard’s number one IP.
  • Metzen describes going to the Legendary lot and seeing footage of orc leader Durotan, watching over Draka, who is pregnant with his child. Metzen was blown away by the VFX.
  • Bill Westenhofer of Industrial Light & Magic joins the stage. He discusses how the motion-capture for the Warcraft movie was done on set, which is rare. “We wanted to put our Orc actors right next to our human actors and have them interplay. There’s a magic that happens in the real performance. … Motion capture on set was an incredible technical challenge. Our camera operator could see, through his viewfinder, a digital representation of the Orc as he’s filming it. Our actors would be translated in real time, converted into an Orc, and they could see it. We’re really proud of how it turned out.
  • Duncan and Metzen talk about using practical sets with a mixture of motion capture VFX. They describe building Stormwind with an eye towards being as accurate as possible, down to the mailbox, bulletin board, etc.
  • Next came the reveal of characters and which actor is playing said character. You can read that HERE.
  • Jones stated that storywise, they know what they have. Now, the visual effect have to come together. “Storytelling-wise, we know what the film is. We’re there now. We have so many special effects, it’s outrageous. It’s Avatar and The Lord of the Rings at the same time. It’s a big, big, big film. It’s just going to take a while. … I’m sorry, I wish it was sooner.
  • As far as Travis Fimmel being cast as Lothar, Metzen says he always envisioned the Lion of Azeroth as an older man but Fimmel “absolutely killed it.
  • All of the orcs were filmed using motion capture, expect Garona, who is played by Paula Patton. Garona is half-orc/half-human so they used makeup.
  • Rob Kazinsky comes on stage with Ogrim’s Doomhamer to much applause.
  • On Ogrim, Kazinsky stated, ” Durotan is the wise chief, then you have the hard, not very bright bastard next to him. Evolution from someone’s brother and friend to a leader in his own right.
  • The audience is then recorded screaming a few familiar World of Warcraft battlecrys, “For the Horde”, “For the Alliance” and “For Azeroth”.
  • No footage or trailers were shown at the panel but there were props from the film and some footage of the orcs on display on the convention floor. However, the screens showing the footage are being closely monitored to ensure that nothing leaks.

Durotan's Wolf Cloak.

Lothar's armor and warhorse armor.

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