At last, after years of teasing, the first trailer for Duncan Jones’ Warcraft movie is here. If you’re familiar with the smash hit video game franchise, it’s packed with secrets, hints and Easter eggs. And if you’ve got absolutely no idea what’s going on? Well, we have you covered to as we take a deep dive into the footage!
The trailer opens with a gryphon flying over snowy mountains towards a magical tower, which could be one of two places in Warcraft lore: the tower of Karazhan, home to the Archmage Medivh (played by Ben Foster in the film), or Dalaran, a human city home to magic users that you’ll see an... alternative look at later on in the trailer.
Over the shot you hear a man say “For years, our world has been at peace... but something is coming.”
That man is Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), a warrior in the Human army. You can briefly see him here landing his giant riding beast—joined by Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), Medivh’s apprentice. The fact that they’re both together doesn’t help us tell if the place they’re landing is Dalaran or Karazhan, but still.
Next, our first look at the city of Stormwind, the Human’s vast capital. Fans of World of Warcraft will recognise the appearance of the Cathedral of Light in the middle—it’s a familar (but much smaller) sight in the game’s version of the city.
Khadgar walks his way up a vertigo-inducing flight of stairs to face a council of (presumably) Mages—perhaps confirming that the city in the opening is indeed Dalaran, which is ruled over by a group of Mages and is semi-autonomous in the world of Azeroth.
Our first good look at Fimmel as Anduin Lothar. In the games, Lothar was dubbed “The Lion of Azeroth,” one of the greatest warriors alive during the Orc invasion.
A much more petrified-looking Anduin crouches over a body... that has a knife sticking out of the back of its neck. Interestingly, the golden-silver shoulder armor looks mightily similar to the royal armor worn by Dominic Cooper’s character—shown at Comic-Con earlier this year—King Llane, the human leader. Does Llane get offed during the Orc’s first invasion of Azeroth?
Anduin continues: “There are Dark forces upon us.” He’s right—as we get to see this massive orc leap out of nowhere and just fling some poor human soldiers around. The orcs in this movie look amazingly brutal.
King Llane (Dominic Cooper) is understandably miffed at his men getting slaughtered, commanding an unseen person, presumably Anduin, to hunt the beasts behind the attacks down.
A new voice this time, as we swap over from the world of Azeroth to a completely alien one—Draenor, the native home of the Orcs. Between the green demonic energy swirling around in the sky, and the tattered encampments of the Orcs, it’s not looking good. The voice is of Durotan, chief of the Frostwolf clan (Toby Kebbel), who you can see above with his close friend Orgrim Doomhammer (Rob Kazinsky) walking through the Orc camp. He confirms the grim outlook: “Our world is dying... there is nothing to go back to.”
A gigantic green explosion tears through a forest. In Warcraft, this neon green energy is the hallmark of demons: specifically, the villainous demonic armies of the Burning Legion, an all-conquering mass that wants to take over and corrupt the entire galaxy and the actual bad guys of the series. Something magically horrible is going on here. Considering the green forest looks a bit similar to the environment earlier, this might be the big portal the movie’s villain Gul’Dan (Daniel Wu, and very absent from this trailer) opens to bridge the worlds of Draenor and Azeroth together.
In the game, the orcs think they’re invading to take Azeroth for themselves before Draenor dies— but they were basically duped by the Burning Legion into becoming their own army of minions.
Another good look at Durotan, Orgrim (and his Doomhammer, hence the name!), as well as a massive wolf. They’re called Wargs, and the Orcs ride on them.
The Orcs themselves are looking out on a strange, unfamiliar landscape—a human farming settlement. Warcraft fans think it’s Westfall, an area where low-level Human players visit in the MMO World of Warcraft (which, by the way, is set decades after the events of this movie). Fun little World of Warcraft Easter Egg? You can see a few of the goofy mechanical harvest golems from the games wandering around the fields in the distance.
Durotan continues: “If our people are to survive, they must make a home here.”
Back in the Orc encampment from earlier, Durotan coddles a small green baby Orc, his son. Why is it green while he himself is brown? Well, before they come to Azeroth, Gul’Dan tricks the Orcs into drinking demon blood, given to him by the Burning Legion. It basically lets the drinker Hulk out—they get enhanced strength, but their skin is permanently turned green. Exposure to demonic magic also eventually turns Orcs green, which is what’s happened to the little baby Orc.
Warcraft fans will know that the baby is quite important later on in the series—Durotan’s son grows up to be a character from the later Warcraft games called Thrall. He ends up being a major player and leads the Horde in World of Warcraft, so expect a grown-up version of him to show up if there are any Warcraft sequels.
Here’s Durotan’s wife, Draka (Anna Galvin). As you can see, the Orc women are noticeably less roided out than their male counterparts—but they’re still fearsome warriors.
King Llane and his wife, Lady Taria (Ruth Negga), hold a meeting of the races of Azeroth to combat the Orc invasion. Note I said races—the trailers been all Orcs and humans so far, and the movie seems like it’ll mostly be that, but there are several fantastical species that call Azeroth home. Here you can see blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances by some light-haired High Elves on the left, and a Dwarf on the far right.
King Llane calls for the peoples of the world to unite—a nod towards the formation of the Alliance, the faction between Humans, Elves, and Dwarves that is created to defend Azeroth from the Orc Horde, and one of the playable factions from the games and World of Warcraft.
A chained up Orc woman who looks a lot less Orc-ish than the other Orc females in the trailer—because she literally is. This is Garona Halforcen (Paula Patton): as her name implies, she’s Half-Orc, Half... well, we don’t know. In the games, Garona was half-Draenei, an alien race that lived on Draenor before the Orcs almost wiped them all out, but Patton has said in several interviews that Garona is Half-Human in the film—hence why she looks more human here.
Whoever she’s talking to, she claims that there’s someone who could help them... as we return to a shot of Durotan again. Eagle-eyed Warcraft fans will spot the giant gate behind Durotan—this is the Dark Portal, the gateway built by Gul’Dan’s magic that lets the Orcs travel to Azeroth.
Orgrim says that there’s no other life for Orcs but war, as we see a stream of them assault and blow up a human keep. You wouldn’t have guessed that from a movie called Warcraft, would you?
Durotan counters: “No, but with the Human’s help, there could be.” As we see Anduin and a party of soldiers march on horseback. They’re joined by Garona. In the games, Garona was an advance scout for the Orc horde working for Gul’Dan, scouting out Azeroth, but she gets friendly with Medivh and Khadgar—and when the Orcs invade, she chooses to side with the humans rather than her own people.
Garona, Llane and Anduin meet up with Durotan. They don’t trust him, but Durotan and his clan just want peace with the humans, rather than war(craft). Orcs! They’re not all bad.
A man on a gryphon flies through the clouds... to get to a ginormous city floating around in the skies: this is Dalaran, which eventually over the course of the games uses the vast magical skills of its inhabitants to root itself out of the ground and become a sky-city that travels around Azeroth.
Lothar and some human knights chase a horse-riding Durotan as King Llane asks (presumably of Durotan himself, given the meeting we saw earlier) if they can trust him. An unidentified soldier counters by saying that every last orc should be destroyed. Humans! They’re not all good.
As if you hadn’t gotten the fact that not every Orc is just a mindless grunt, here’s Durotan decking a green Orc. So if you’re following along, Brown Orcs = alright, Green Orc = bad... mainly.
Another good shot of Garona, this time outside of her chains. It looks like she’s in a Human house or Inn, considering the background.
Lothar and Lady Taria salute a crowd outside of the Stormwind Catherdral... but they seem to be standing in front of a coffin. Notice Llane’s not with his wife, and Khadgar is looking after his children. So is that Llane’s coffin?
The reverse of the shot shows a huge crowd—once again, you can see a few High Elves sitting in the front row on the right, just to break up the sea of humans.
Another Orc questions why Durotan fights against his own people. Man, do the Orcs in this movie look good or what?
Draka ships her young child down a river, as an Orc comes up to her. He’s green skinned—was he trailing her? In the game, this is how Thrall eventually washes up and ends up a captive of some human soldiers, setting his path up to eventually lead the Orcs in later games.
It wouldn’t be Warcraft without huge armies of Orcs and humans charging at each other. Lothar yells out “Whatever you plan to do, do it now!”
Maybe that plan was roaring very loudly, because that’s what Durotan does immediately after.
And finally, we get the money shot of the trailer—Lothar leaping onto a Gryphon mid-air, and divebombing to hack away at some Orcs. Once again, you can see the massive Dark Portal as Lothar flies toward it. Looks like that big battle from earlier is the humans trying to stop the Orcs from coming through the Portal. Well, more than they have already.
That’s all for now—but if you want to know more about Warcraft, you can check out our FAQ and Character guide (warning: spoilers for a very, very old video game are within!). Anything else cool you spotted in the trailer? Let us know in the comments!