Warcraft film universe
- This article is about information about the film universe. For game version of Warcraft, see Warcraft universe. For the lore of the cosmos, see Magic.
The Warcraft film universe is an alternate, separate version of the main Warcraft universe. The movie lore is similar, but different. It was streamlined to be more accessible to the general public. Personalities of characters are the same with slightly changed backstories.
Founded around the 2016 film Warcraft, the film universe is shared by the prequel comic Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood and prequel novel Warcraft: Durotan, as well as Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, and is expected to be used for any future film sequels or literature.
There's also a behind the scenes book named Warcraft: Behind the Dark Portal.
Notably, the film universe is not simply a different timeline, created by a deviation in key historical events, but rather a subtle reimagining of the main universe, with some contradictions best explained by the unavoidable practicalities of producing a successful movie.
While the film is set in Draenor and Azeroth at the time of the First War with the Horde and the Alliance, the lore differences extend far beyond this period, with substantial historical changes to both Draenor and Azeroth.
In addition to these specific differences, note that the film universe as it has so far been revealed is around 30 years behind the main universe in its timeline, with the latest material ending only a "very short" period after the first opening of the Dark Portal. As a result many characters which died or were changed long ago in the main universe are still living and unaltered in the film universe, but whether their ultimate fates will diverge from the main universe or repeat the known lore is yet to be revealed.
|Film universe||Main universe|
|All of Draenor is dying, with substantial climate change and plants and animals inexplicably growing sick and dying. The cause is unknown to most orcs, but is in fact the fel magic being wielded by Gul'dan.||Large areas of Draenor are turned to dusty wastelands by the fel warlock magic of Gul'dan and the orc warlocks. Other areas such as Nagrand survive in their original lush state.|
|The Red Walkers are a clan of orcs rejected by Gul'dan for inclusion in the Horde, and forced to wander Draenor due to the worsening climate.||The Redwalker clan resisted and opposed the commands of Kil'jaeden through Ner'zhul before the events of the First War.|
|Orgrim Doomhammer is Durotan's second-in-command and a member of the Frostwolf clan. Orgrim is noted as the only member of the clan not to wear his hair long.||Orgrim Doomhammer is Blackhand's second-in-command and a member of the Blackrock clan. He and Durotan meet as children during a Kosh'harg festival, and soon become friends, defying traditions of clan separation.|
|Draka is exiled from the Frostwolf clan in her young adulthood due to being weak, something the Frostwolves do not allow within their clan. After surviving a year in exile she successfully returns to the clan through proving her strength at Midsummer, and she and the new chieftain Durotan grow close.||Draka is born weak and sickly, and her family is forced to live on the outskirts of the village. After seeking help from Mother Kashur she is sent on a special hunt, through which she learns how to hunt, and becomes a strong and skilled orc. Newly confident, she attends a celebration where she meets a young Durotan.|
|Garona Halforcen is half-human, the daughter of an unknown female orc and a youthful Medivh. Her mother is burned alive for giving birth to her, and Garona is taken as a slave by Gul'dan. She is given the name Garona, translating as Cursed.||Garona was fathered at Gul'dan's command by a male orc and an enslaved female draenei, the sister of Vindicator Maraad. She is magically aged and placed under mind control, later becoming Gul'dan's personal spy and assassin.|
|The Horde is formed by Gul'dan with the promise of finding a new and fertile world to live on, fleeing the dying Draenor. Some draenei are imprisoned and killed, but apparently for the purpose of fuelling the opening of the Dark Portal.||The Horde is formed by Ner'zhul (who was deceived by Kil'jaeden) in order to pre-emptively defeat an imagined threat from the draenei. Once the draenei are defeated, the Horde becomes restless and falls to in-fighting. Gul'dan then leads the Horde to Azeroth in search of a new world to conquer.|
|Many orcs are corrupted with the fel, turning them green and increasing their size and strength. Gul'dan gives the fel to the orcs directly through his control of the magic, but does not give it to all orcs, even including the Warchief Blackhand. Many orcs remain brown-skinned and apparently unaffected. The fel appears to incite bloodlust, but the orcs remain free-willed.||The orcs are corrupted by drinking the Blood of Mannoroth, provided in limited quantities by Mannoroth himself. Almost all orcs drink the blood, with only a small number refusing to do so. The blood infused the orcs with demonic bloodlust, turning them into pawns of the Burning Legion.|
|Garad is killed by the Red Walkers after being weakened by Gul'dan's poison, in response to refusing to join the Horde||Garad is killed in battle against a group of ogres and gronn, prior to the formation of the Horde|
|Alodi is an ancient female mage residing within a cubic artifact held by the Kirin Tor. Alodi is "kind of the original Guardian", from a time before the Kirin Tor existed.||Alodi was a male half-elven mage and the first Guardian of Tirisfal.|
|The Draenor-side of the Great Gate is an ancient artifact buried beneath the sands of Draenor, excavated by the Horde.||The Draenor-side Dark Portal is constructed by the Horde to travel to Azeroth.|
|The Azeroth-side of the Great Gate is a temporary portal without frame set horizontally into the marshy earth, its opening causing the immediate area to be destroyed, and nearby trees to topple into it. The portal lasts only a number of minutes, after which it vanishes. A stone portal is later built by the orcs who arrived through the temporary one.||The Azeroth-side of the Dark Portal is a stone portal resembling that on Draenor, constructed or created by Medivh prior to the arrival of the orcs.|
|The Great Gate is wide enough to allow an entire clan of orcs to enter walking shoulder to shoulder. Hundreds of orcs pass through before the portal closes.||The Dark Portal is initially only large enough for individuals to pass through. After initial scouting missions, the portal is widened.|
|The location of the Draenor-side Great Gate is a dusty wasteland prior to the arrival of the Horde. After the orcs arrive on Azeroth, the initially marshy swampland around their encampment begins to change to resemble that on the other side of the gate. The worst affected areas are rapidly reduced to only dirt, parched and thirsty, even the plants having been ground to dust. However, the corruption is highly localised: lush trees still cover the nearby hills, and dense foliage surrounds the encampment.||Tanaan Jungle, where the Draenor-side Dark Portal is built, is slowly turned from a lush, verdant jungle to a dry, barren wasteland due to prolonged exposure to the orc warlocks' magic. After the opening of the Azeroth-side portal the surrounding area changes over several years to resemble the other side, the transformation completed by the chaotic energies unleashed by the later destruction of the portal. The changes encompass the entire zone, reaching as far north as Nethergarde Keep and Dreadmaul Hold.|
|By the time the Great Gate is opened, Dalaran has already become a flying city.||Dalaran does not become a flying city until after the Third War.|
|As a young man Medivh begins to dabble in fel magic, believing he can control it, but is slowly corrupted (and possibly manipulated by Sargeras) partly without his knowledge. He is later involved in opening the Dark Portal, although this and other memories are suppressed until much later on.||Medivh is sent into a coma by Sargeras on the eve of his fourteenth birthday, and is later possessed by the dark titan, and used to open the Dark Portal.|
|Anduin Lothar has a deceased wife and a son. Queen Taria Wrynn is his sister.||Anduin Lothar has no family and is the last of his ancient bloodline.|
|Llane Wrynn has a daughter and a son.||Llane Wrynn I only has a son.|
|Moroes is a member of the Kirin Tor.||Moroes is a civilian.|
|Khadgar joined the Kirin Tor at the age of 6 and left it at 17 becoming an independent mage.||Khadgar was 17 when he was sent by the Kirin Tor to study with Medivh.|
|Go'el is born near-dead and Gul'dan uses the fel to save him, turning his skin green.||Go'el is born healthy and with green skin.|
|Garona chooses to help the humans against the Horde. Medivh recognises her as his daughter, and offers her advice.||Garona is a spy of Gul'dan and the Shadow Council. She and Medivh become lovers, and produce a child, Med'an.|
|Orgrim refuses to participate in the Horde's slaughter of human civilians, but later betrays Durotan by telling Gul'dan of his planned alliance with the humans, leading to the extermination of their clan. Realising his mistake, he then frees Durotan from his imprisonment, and helps Draka to escape with Go'el.||Orgrim serves as Blackhand's lieutenant in the First War, eventually becoming Warchief and leading the Horde to victory. He later seeks Durotan's help in overcoming Gul'dan, resulting in Durotan and Draka's assassinations by the Shadow Council.|
|The Frostwolf clan is exterminated on Gul'dan's order, following Durotan's meeting with the humans.||Members of the Frostwolf clan are sent into exile soon after the orcs crossed into Azeroth, for refusing to follow Gul'dan.|
|Durotan is killed by Gul'dan in a mak'gora.||Durotan is killed by Gul'dan's assassins in Lordaeron.|
|Baby Go'el is put in a basket on a river by his mother, just before she is killed.||Baby Go'el is left on the ground near the bodies of his parents. Draka is killed by Gul'dan's assassins in Lordaeron.|
|Blackhand is killed by Lothar in a mak'gora.||Blackhand is killed by Orgrim Doomhammer in a mak'gora.|
|Medivh succumbs to the fel, transforming into a demonic form (possibly depicting Sargeras). Medivh is eventually crushed to death by a stone golem sent over his head by Khadgar, while being distracted by Lothar. Khadgar then purges the fel from Medivh, freeing him from its control, and allowing Medivh to temporarily open a portal to Stormwind to help the army and prisoners escape the battle.||Medivh is stabbed by Khadgar, awakening Sargeras. He is then decapitated by Lothar, banishing the dark titan.|
|Llane Wrynn asks for Garona to kill him in front of the Horde, since there is no hope of survival. With no witnesses to the pact, she is assumed to have betrayed the king, and is welcomed into the Horde.||Garona is forced to kill Llane Wrynn I by the Shadow Council, betraying her allies. Varian witnesses his father's death, proving a formative experience in his attitude toward the Horde.|
|Grommash Hellscream and Kargath Bladefist participated in the invasion of Azeroth.||Grommash Hellscream and Kargath Bladefist remained on Draenor during the First War.|
|The humans shut down the Great Gate and Gul'dan finds his hold over the Horde is not absolute. The Alliance is formed.||Stormwind is destroyed and occupied by the orcs. The humans flee north to Lordaeron to create the Alliance of Lordaeron.|
|Durotan's companion on Draenor was Sharptooth.||Durotan's companion on Draenor was Nightstalker. Sharptooth was his companion on Azeroth.|
The following characters are original to the film universe, not having appeared in any form in the main universe.
|Callan Lothar||Son of Anduin Lothar||Deceased; killed by Blackhand|
|Cally Lothar||Wife of Anduin Lothar||Deceased; died in childbirth|
|Taria Wrynn||Sister of Anduin Lothar||Alive|
|Finden||Member of the Council of Six|
|Adariall Wrynn||Princess of Stormwind; daughter of Llane Wrynn and Taria Wrynn||Alive|
|Shendra||Member of the Kirin Tor's Council of Six|
|Durkosh||Father of Garad, grandfather of Durotan||Deceased|
|Rokuk||Father of Durkosh, grandfather of Garad||Deceased|
|Karos||Soldier of Stormwind, lieutenant to Anduin Lothar||Deceased; killed during the battle at the Dark Portal|
|Varis||Soldier of Stormwind, lieutenant to Anduin Lothar||Deceased; killed during the battle at the Dark Portal|
|Aloman||Soldier of Stormwind, one of Lothar's finest soldiers|
|Evran||Knight of Stormwind||Deceased; killed by orcs in Elwynn Forest|
|Kyvan||Knight of Stormwind||Deceased; killed by orcs in Elwynn Forest|
|Kaz||Dwarven weaponsmith, working in the Royal Armory|
|Zarka||Frostwolf warrior||Deceased; slain for the Frostwolves' betrayal|
|Kagra||Frostwolf||Deceased; slain for the Frostwolves' betrayal|
|Dekgrul||Frostwolf||Deceased; slain for the Frostwolves' betrayal|
|Shaksa||Frostwolf||Deceased; slain for the Frostwolves' betrayal|
|Nizka||Frostwolf||Deceased; slain for the Frostwolves' betrayal|
|Kelgur||Frostwolf toddler||Deceased; slain for the Frostwolves' betrayal|
|Kurvorsh||Frostwolf warrior||Deceased; shot by Lothar in Elwynn Forest|
While many of the above changes are simple plot deviations, some are more far-reaching. The reasons for these deviations are largely left up to speculation, but some have been explained by official sources, such as Warcraft director Duncan Jones; these explanations are quoted below.
- [We just thought] it would be cooler if Dalaran was floating then if it were on the ground. Back in my head I have retconned ideas if we get to make more films on how to get back on lore track. So, please understand: I am aware and I do have a solution. - Duncan Jones
- 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. - Duncan Jones
Film ending: Orcs defeated, Stormwind still standing
- 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. - Duncan Jones
Khadgar not ageing after defeating Medivh
Jones has stated that there is the possibility of adding Khadgar's sudden ageing in future films.
- 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. - Duncan Jones
Changes in general
Jones explains the main reasons for making changes to the original lore:
- There’s three different factors that would have an impact on making those kinds of changes. One of them would be, ‘Are there already pre-existing pieces of lore that dovetail and actually, over twenty years of storytelling, some things fits perfectly and some of it is actually in complete conflict with itself. So what do we do in those situations?
- Secondly would be, as a filmmaker, we’re trying to make a film, which is a very different medium than a game, especially when you have twenty years to tell your story. Can I find ways to streamline things that keeps the spirit and the DNA of the lore? But at the same time just makes it practical? Because, it’s not a game. And it’s not The Iliad. I can’t talk about who-begat-who-begat-who. Which you kind of have to if you’re going to start throwing extra depth and explanations of who caused that, and then having to explain who that person is and who caused that. You just kind of go down a rabbit hole.
- So there’s the simplification and the need to streamline. Third, once in a while there’s also the fact that it [something] would be cooler. But there’s not too many of those. I would say that most of the changes from the lore really fit into those first two categories.
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
- ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
- ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
- ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
- ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
- ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
- ^ Duncan Jones on Twitter (2016-06-17).
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, chapter 17
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j http://io9.gizmodo.com/director-duncan-jones-answers-all-your-burning-question-1781663557
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 131
- ^ a b Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 58
- ^ a b Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 286
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 64
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 95
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 96
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 153
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 166
- ^ a b c d e f Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, page 226
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, pages 102-103