It’s been nearly a decade since rumors about a Warcraft movie first spread, as cheers from thousands of loyal Blizzard fans echoed around the globe. As time passed, new rumors surfaced about problems within the project and those cheers turned to doubts. Directions were changed, the script was re-written and the film re-crafted – but despite the setbacks, Warcraft made it past production and is now released in theaters.
Set during the early days of Warcraft lore, the movie focuses on the Dark Portal and the initial invasion of [Azeroth](http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Azeroth_(world) by Gul’dan and his unified orc horde. This conflict is known as the First War, which would last for years as humanity fought back the corruption of the Burning Legion and the forces of the Horde, ending in their kingdoms destruction and the rise of the Horde as a unified organization. The problem with Warcraft is that it cuts corners and deviates from the Warcraft lore, specifically with the First War.
The End of the First War as We Know It
In the Warcraft universe, the First War ends with Orgrim Doomhammer leading an attack on Stormwind Keep. This results in the destruction of the human kingdom ruled by King Llane Wrynn. After securing the lands with the unified Horde, Orgrim Doomhammer then takes the offensive against Gul’dan and his loyal followers – who plead submission in order to stay alive as an organization under the control of the Horde if they can continue their experiments on the Dark Portal. Doomhammer naturally accepts, and the Horde continues to build themselves up within the world of Azeroth. Defeated and nearly wiped out, Lothar and the remaining humans of Stormwind retreat north across the Great Sea to the Kingdom of Lordaeron.
The End of the First War in the Movie, Warcraft
In the Warcraft movie, the events of the First War simplified: the united Horde never gets a chance to launch an attack on Stormwind Keep due to a preemptive attack orchestrated by King Llane Wrynn, which brings the remaining forces of humanity down on the Dark Portal. Llane and his men are quickly overwhelmed by the Horde and forced to retreat to the Dark Portal opened by Medivh with his dying breath. Here, Llane encourages Garona to kill him in order to be accepted by the Horde in order to try and bring peace between their two people, which she does. Accepted as one of her own by Gul’dan, Garona goes on to join the Horde as a true orc.
The interesting thing about Warcraft the movie is that the First War doesn’t actually end and Stormwind is never attacked over the course of the film. Instead, Lothar returns to become the leader of the remnants of humanity and Gul’dan remains in control of the Horde. Neither face crushing defeat at the hands of the other. So what’s next for the film franchise then?
Based on the way Duncan and Metzen decided to take Warcraft, the next film will probably conclude the First War and usher in the age of a unified Horde and focus on the human Kingdom of Lordaeron. This would make way for the establishment of the Alliance of Lordaeron and the introduction of dwarves, gnomes ,and high elves as races within Azeroth.
This sort of decision would also pave the way for the introduction of the Second War, where the Alliance of Lordaeron fought to take back the south from the Horde — pushing them back to the Dark Portal in a brutal campaign that would destroy most of their forces. The great thing about this direction is that this also opens the doors for the films to dive into the plague, which ushered in the age of the Scourge and the corruption of Prince Arthas Menethil — who would later become the Lich King, one of Warcraft’s most beloved and respected characters.
One of Warcraft’s most respected characters, Thrall, was revealed in Warcraft as a child and we can expect to see more of him in the second film. During the end-credits scene he was picked up by a human, who is most likely Aedelas Blackmoore or one of his men. The interesting thing though is that the end-credits scene almost infers that Thrall was taken in immediately after being sent down the river by his mother during the First War, whereas in traditional lore, he isn’t found until the beginning of the Second War.
Either way though, the Warcraft cinematic universe shows a ton of promise despite the slight alterations to the Warcraft universe that many have come to know by heart. While the movie may not be perfect, it certainly offers a great opportunity to enter this a massive universe that we hope to see on the big screen for years to come.