Host Chris Hardwick kicked off BlizzCon 2014’s Warcraft movie panel by introducing director Duncan Jones and Charles Leavitt. The stage had several Stormwind guards in full armor – with actual people inside – and a few orc statues.

Jones recalled playing the Warcraft games when he was younger, and when he heard that Sam Raimi was starting work on a Warcraft movie, he got excited to take on the job. When asked how to make it a movie, he compared it to making a great movie out of Facebook by finding a great story. Warcraft has so many stories from over the years that it was a matter of finding the right one, and they ended up deciding on going back to the beginning where the Orcs and humans began their feud.

Jones said the original Sam Raimi script painted the Orcs in a bad light, so he wanted to make both sides sympathetic. In war movies, it’s rare to feel for both sides, and it’s even rarer to see that in fantasy movies, so making it work for Warcraft was a challenge, he said.

On living up to fan expectations, Jones said that it was important to work closely with Metzen at Blizzard to get it as right as possible. Metzen said they tried a few different takes on the film, but then when Jones said it had to be 50/50 Horde and Alliance, Lothar versus Durotan, he fell in love with the idea.

Jones described the film as “Avatar and Lord of the Rings at the same time.” Hardwick then said it was time to talk about the characters that would appear in the movie.

  • Lothar is the Alliance lead played by Travis Fimmel (Vikings).
  • Durotan is the Horde lead played by Toby Kebbell (Planet of the Apes).
  • Medivh is an Alliance mage played by Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, X-Men: The Last Stand).
  • Orgrim is Durotan’s right-hand man played by Rob Kazinsky (Pacific Rim).
  • King Llane of the Alliance will be played by Dominic Cooper (Need for Speed).
  • Gul’Dan of the Horde will be played by Daniel Wu (The Man With the Iron Fists).
  • Blackhand the Destroyer will be played by Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers).
  • Khadgar of the Alliance will be played by Ben Schnetzer (Pride).

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After the panel, fans were encouraged to visit the theater showing a teaser trailer for the movie. I stopped by and from what I could tell it was the exact same trailer shown at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The trailer shows Lothar talking about his father and going to war, then Durotan talking about becoming a father and the pain of war. The trailer builds to a clash of armies, human versus orc. Then there’s a series of quick shots sure to send any Warcraft fan into a tizzy: Night Elves with glowing eyes, a mage casting Arcane Explosion, a dwarf taking aim with a rifle, and a human dive-bombing on a brown-and-white griffin ripped right from the Alliance flight path.