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Warcraft movie, true to its namesake, will explore both sides of a grand story

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The origin tale draws on lore going back to the first game

Warcraft's director and one of its principal stars told a PAX East 2016 audience that the film will take an holistic approach to the Warcraft canon, including scenes and lore that began with the franchise's real-time simulation incarnations of more than 20 years ago.

The story, said director Duncan Jones, will not be a good-versus-evil or us-versus-them tale, but one that follows both factions' interests and anxieties after the orcs' Durotan, the chief of the Frost Wolf Clan, plunges through the portal bridging their realm, Draenor, with the humans' Azeroth. This event begins Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, which launched on PC in 1994.

"What Blizzard has always done well is draw from things that we feel liike we know very well, whether J.R.R. Tolkein, Marvel Comics or Star Wars, and synthesize those and turn them into something new," Jones said. "Warcraft will introduce the idea of heroes on all sides. It's two different perspectives on a conflict and a war that's unavoidable."

The panel's moderator noted that the Dark Portal between Draenor and Azeroth has been represented, typically, as a loading screen, meaning Warcraft as a film has a chance to break new ground. Actor Robert Kazinsky, who portrays the Orcs' Ogrim, agreed, noting that Durotan's personal circumstances will inform much of his initial journey into Azeroth.

"One of the first shots is a lingering close-up of Durotan as he watches his wife sleep," Kazinsky said, referring to Draka, Durotan's warrior-mate, who is pregnant with their child at the film's beginning. "Those 10 seconds is all it takes for the audience to melt into his eyes and say, 'Yes, I get who this character is,' and not see him as a monster."

After the panel, Legendary Pictures, Warcraft's production company along with Blizzard, unveiled an alternate movie poster showcasing Draka.

warcraft draka poster

"There's an inherent joy in this film because so many of us are gamers," Kazinsky said. "We're telling the story in the way that it's meant to be told, but there still are a lot of fun little moments."

The Orcs, Jones added, will speak a language that includes words and terms from the World of Warcraft glossary, with the rest of the dialect glued together by the expert who works on the linguistics for Game of Thrones. "We kept coming to experts to ask for help and finding out they were big-time Warcraft players," Jones said.

Warcraft premieres June 10.