Earlier this week we got the first official image from the upcoming fantasy epic, Warcraft. Although to some people it might seem like it’s just one big geek fest, there’s a lot more riding on it than you might think. Set for release in summer 2016 (six months after initially planned), it could be one of the most important films for the future of blockbuster cinema, or at least the next twenty years.

Why Warcraft is so Important for Cinema (What’s the Deal?)
I can see a nipple

So why is it so important? As I’m sure most people already know, it’s adapted from a video game, one of the most popular video games of all time, in fact. Let’s face it, World of Warcraft has an image problem. The image of a sweaty nerd sitting in his mother’s basement, leveling up endlessly by killing wild boars. This isn’t an ideal starting point for a film that no doubt wants to, and quite frankly needs to be taken seriously. The reason being, if Warcraft can be not only successful, but a good film, it will be the first of its kind. A good video game adaptation. If Warcraft can work the way many of us hope it can, you can bet we’re going to see a lot of other beloved properties being fast tracked to the big screen. Metal Gear Solid, Mass Effect, The Legend of Zelda, Bioshock and Halo could all have adaptations by 2020.

I don’t care what some people are saying, the comic-book genre is not dying. With Age of Ultron having the biggest opening and second weekend of all time, excluding the first Avengers, it’s just a silly thing to say, and with so many other highly anticipated films on the way, we have a lot more in front of us before they go away. But eventually they will, and both Hollywood suits and nerds alike will need something new to replace them. With video games becoming more cinematic, and being a largely untapped resource, they feel like the natural next step.

Why Warcraft is so Important for Cinema (What’s the Deal?)
You had your chance

It’s not just video game adaptations that need the push, however. Fantasy films in general haven’t really been a major part of cinema for a long time. Yes, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies were hugely successful, but I would struggle to name two or three films outside of them that have achieved even part of what they’ve done. You could argue that Harry Potter and even Twilight are fantasy films, and that would technically be true, but they aren’t epic fantasy in the way the middle earth films are, and the way we hope Warcraft will be.

Why Warcraft is so Important for Cinema (What’s the Deal?)
Do we really want this to be our fantasy legacy?

There’s one more reason this films needs to succeed. A lot of people very much enjoyed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, myself included, and one of the best things about that film was the motion capture performances by Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, and the rest of the apes. From what I understand, Warcraft is going to do the same thing, but have even more motion capture performances, and fewer ‘real’ actors on-screen. Warcraft could help usher in an age of cinema where literally any actor can play any role. The only limitations would be what the film makers can think up, and the truest test of whether an actor is successful or not is if they’re actually any good. Wouldn’t that be a great place to be in as a movie goer?

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing Warcraft. It probably won’t be as good as a lot of us are hoping, but we’re still hoping. If not, we’ve always got the Michael Fassbender Assassin’s Creed film to get excited about…

Are you excited about Warcraft? Do you think it can be any good? Share your thoughts in the comments.