Star Wars effects studio working on Warcraft film, an Orcs vs. Humans origin story

Blizzard confirms Oscar-winning Star Wars studio Industrial Light & Magic working on upcoming film based on fantasy series; Durotan and Lothar will be featured.

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Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the prolific Academy Award winning visual effects studio behind franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, is working on the upcoming Warcraft film, Blizzard Entertainment confirmed today at BlizzCon during a special panel for the movie.

More specifically, ILM is creating the Orcs for the Warcraft film, which will be performed by real actors. Colin Farrell has reportedly been offered the lead role for the movie, though casting was not discussed today during the panel.

The Warcraft movie will feature a combination of live-action and CGI. Visual effects supervisor for the film, Bill Westenhofer, described the Orcs as "gritty and real," going on to say the movie will come across as "Avatar meets Game of Thrones."

Westenhofer has won Oscars for Life of Pi and The Golden Compass. He is also a veteran and devoted World of Warcraft player, having started playing the game in its original beta in 2004. He currently has a level-90 character.

Two major characters for the Warcraft film--an Orcs. vs. Humans origin story--were also confirmed during the panel: Durotan and Lothar, who will go head-to-head. Both characters want to do the right thing for their people, director Duncan Jones said, though no further details were provided.

The Warcraft movie will be released on December 18, 2015. Jones said today he hopes the film will be released in 2D and 3D, and that the film will probably be rated PG-13. Blizzard COO Paul Sams recently explained in detail why the movie will not fall on its face like other films based on games that have come before it.

"We're really excited about, we believe in the team, and we think that come 2015, we're going to have something special," Sams told GameSpot last night.

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Avatar image for SuperDutchy

As if it wasn't enough that Disney had control of most of my favorite comic book movies as well as Star Wars, but now they have control over Warcraft...sigh.

Avatar image for monkeypukefight

<< LINK REMOVED >> is that a bad thing?? disney has brought out some amazing movies over the years... not all of them are great but the ones that are, are memorable...

Avatar image for gerplunk

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>no they don't. It's Legendary/Universal film, not Disney. ILM does effects on other companies' films all the time.

Avatar image for monkeypukefight

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> jep, you're completely right.

Avatar image for Stiler

Sigh, another CGI fest movie.

Why do so many filmakers not understand that CGI will never hold up as well as real world props/make up effects.

It's like there's no studio out there that grasps the concept and legacy of films like Jurassic Park, which to this day is STILL holding up because they understand that CGI was good to NOT be used as a crutch to hold up your entire effects but as a last resort when you absolutely had to do it to get the shot you wanted but only then

Jurassic Park is still a great filmt o watch these days and doens't look nearly as "dated" as other films with CGI in them from the 90's because of this.

That famous T-rex scene? That wasn't CGI, it was a GIANT animatronic they developed and that's why it looked (and still) looks great on film.

I mean just look at Star Wars, the prequels were full of CGI and already the OLD Star Wars films are holding up better (even when you disregard the blatant CGI added in them).

The old Jabba the Hutt already looks better then the cartoony CGI version they threw in.

Also look at LOTR, in the LOTR films the Orcs were mostly REAL people in make up and real world prostehtics/effects, meanwhile in The Hobbit they went full CGI for the Orcs and you can EASILY tell it's CGI and doens't look nearly as real as the LOTR orcs.

Avatar image for roguebot

@Stiler The CGI shots of the T-Rex looked fantastic too, for example the night scene when he busts out of his cage and Malcolm says "I hate being right all the time".

This is because of the extreme level of attention paid by the animators to weight distribution of the dinosaurs (which kept the animation from looking "floaty" like so much CGI does), as well as the fact that it was a night scene, which meant that less texture detailing was necessary (all the T-Rex scenes were great, but the night scene was the best-looking for this reason).

Coupled with the animatronic shots, it was a scene that couldn't be beaten by pure CGI or pure animatronics.

Avatar image for Stiler

<< LINK REMOVED >> Exactly, that night scene showcases the best. It used the animatronic T-rex for it's upclose shots and when it was away/moving the CGI still looked great and had good weight (how it would splash the water/sink into the mud), most CGI ignores the importance of weight.

This is something that is easily noticeable in games as well when they use physics and don't bother to put in the correct weights and things are very "floaty" and it just detracts from the whole thing.

Avatar image for vadagar1

<< LINK REMOVED >> so fucking trueeeeeeeeeeeee

Avatar image for Ezio_2009

<< LINK REMOVED >> This movie isn't a CGI fest. If you watched the panel, you wouldnt have said this.

Avatar image for Stiler

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> From this article it makes it sound like the Orcs are going to be fully CGI with the actors doing the face work (like they did for Avatar) where it just captures their facial animation but the actual characters are completely cgi.

Avatar image for monkeypukefight

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> remember that gollum/smeagol is a full cgi character... and its still one of the greatest characters ever made. but i guess he is the exception to the rule.

just saying, if they put as much of an effort in the making of this movie as weta workshop and digital put into the making of LOTR, it will look great.

Avatar image for Hurvl

How ironic that they got the studio behind the Star Wars effects work on their Warcraft film, since they are releasing it on the same day as the next Star Wars movie. Apparently they'll both cooperate and fight against each other and perhaps Durotan and Lothar will do the same (reality imitating fiction).

Avatar image for jack00

If I recall SW episode 1-2-3 special effects weren't that good. They are old movies tho so hopefully the studio got better.

Avatar image for Seymour47

<< LINK REMOVED >> Are you referring to the original movies (Episodes 4, 5, and 6)? Or the more recent movies (Episodes 1, 2, and 3)? The original movies were made in the 70s and 80s. For that time period, their visual effects were pretty amazing. Honestly, portions of those movies are far better than what we get today, because they used miniatures and models. It's still very hard to get the same realism out of CGI relative to models. WETA (the Lord of the Rings effects studio) is the only one I've seen do it reliably and they still use a lot of models in their work.

Avatar image for sohail5566

have no interest in need for speed movie dont think mass effect movie is a good idea and prince of persia was an awful movie for me just dont **** it up

Avatar image for vadagar1

<< LINK REMOVED >> that movie was OKA , then again I never played the games XD

Avatar image for Poidad

<< LINK REMOVED >> Prince of persia was great! then again I never played any of the new games.

Avatar image for sohail5566

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> i have only played first part and two thornes and pop 2008 didnt finished becuz of orbs i have to collect and for the movie i watched only 25 min of it didnt like

Avatar image for SteamyPotatoes

This movie will be awesome, watched the entire Movie panel.

Avatar image for Ezio_2009

<< LINK REMOVED >> Agreed. Anyone who watched the panel should be relatively excited for this movie.

Avatar image for quickshooterMk2

as long disney won't ruin it

Avatar image for Smosh150

<< LINK REMOVED >> Disney has no authority in the matter, Industrial Light & Magic is a division of Lucasfilm, not Lucasarts which was acquired by Disney.

Avatar image for MXVIII

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> LOL, Lucasfilm is owned by Disney. Disney bought out EVERYTHING to do with George Lucas. Btw Lucasfilm cost Disney 4.6 billion. Anyway I doubt Disney would ruin the film. Marvel isnt doing to bad under them. Cant wait to see the new Captain America

Avatar image for Seymour47

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> ILM is officially owned by Disney. That said, ILM can be contracted by any studio to work on a movie. This does not mean Disney has any say in what ILM does for that movie. So, yes Disney owns ILM, but no, Disney will have no say in this movie.

Avatar image for gerplunk

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It's a Legendary/Universal film, not Disney. ILM does vfx on tons of movies that aren't Lucasfilm or Disney