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Warcraft movie producers worked to include 'big, universal themes'

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Warcraft, the upcoming film based on Blizzard Entertainment's world of Azeroth, has been in development for a long time because "we just couldn't get it right," said Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull in an interview with I Am Rogue.

Blizzard and Legendary Pictures first announced plans to develop a live-action Warcraft film in May 2006; the movie is now set for release on March 11, 2016. Sam Raimi was originally slated to direct the film, but was moved off the project in mid-2012, about six months before Moon director Duncan Jones came on board.

"The guy is so talented," said Tull of Jones. "I think people might initially say, 'It's a video game movie, or it's sort of fantasy whatever.' But just wait. That's the whole point of having a Duncan Jones direct the movie versus maybe some other version.

"That's really as fans what we want to see, which is stuff that's commercial, but elevated, that takes these amazing stories as jumping-off points and then puts these directors on them that will tweak it slightly and look at it through a different lens," Tull explained.

According to Tull, the producers couldn't simply extend Warcraft into a movie, because "if everybody who's ever played the game went to see it, it's still not enough." (Blizzard announced in January that there have now been more than 100 million different World of Warcraft accounts created.) Instead, said Tull, the filmmakers decided to focus on "big, universal themes that people will be able to get their heads around," while making sure that the movie doesn't eliminate what Warcraft fans love about the games.

Filming on Warcraft is set to be completed later this week, and the movie will require about 20 months of post-production work.

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