The Warcraft Movie – First Trailer Analysis: What We Learned

Den of Geek broke down the first Warcraft movie trailer and found tons of story hints!

Buy all your World of Warcraft swag here!

Thanks to BlizzCon, it’s finally here—the first official full-length trailer for Legendary Picture’s Warcraft movie. Let’s take a detailed peek at what we learned in the trailer, speculate a bit, and view a fly-by of sorts that goes over the important scenes.

First, give the trailer another look before we move on to the analysis:

Note: For anyone familiar with World of Warcraft and not the earlier Warcraft games, bits of this trailer may seem confusing. The Warcraft movie essentially takes place well before the time of World of Warcraft, during the era of the first two Warcraft RTS games: Orcs vs. Humans and Tides of Darkness. That means we won’t be seeing any Night Elves or Trolls or Tauren, unfortunately. But hey, there’s always room for sequels.

We begin with a gryphon and two riders flying towards a magical tower and city. Kind of looks like Karazhan as depicted during its prime, no? We’re then brought into what might be the most iconic city in all of Warcraft (sorry, fellow Hordies, you know it’s true)—Stormwind. We also get a voice over from Anduin Lothar (played by Travis Fimmel) as he and Khadghar (Ben Schnetzer) land in an airy tower of sorts. Lothar speaks of dark forces and an and to Azeroth’s peaceful times.

Ad – content continues below

Stormwind sure looks pretty (speaking of Stormwind, have you taken a peek at this spiffy video that lets you view the skies of Stormwind from above?). We quickly find ourselves in Stormwind Keep.

We see a shot of Lothar standing over a body of a fallen, armored companion. He looks shocked. A shot of a forest—Elwynn forest, presumably—is then shown. A group of Stormwind soldiers are taken by surprise by a band of ferocious, green Orcs. King Llane I (Dominic Cooper) tells Lothar to “find these beasts or whatever they are”.

It’s time to visit the other side. Not all Orcs are out for blood. Durotan (Toby Kebbel), chief of the brown-skinned Frostwolf clan, takes control of the voice over and briefly shows a few screens displaying the downfall of Draenor, the homeland of the Orcs. “Our home is dying,” he says, as the skies erupt with green lightning flashes that can only be fel energy of some kind. The Orcs are shown walking through war-torn fields with their belongings past rows of ragged Horde banners.

A final green flash bathes the screen—the opening of the Dark Portal and an escape to freedom. Azeroth. Freedom isn’t the only thing awaiting the Frostwolf orcs in Azeroth, of course. Gul’Dan’s influence (Gul’Dan (Daniel Wu), interestingly enough, is also absent from this trailer entirely) can easily cross through a simple portal.

Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer (Rob Kazinsky) are shown surveying the wilds of this new, strange world. We can see the snowy mountain peaks in the distance. Those fields sure look like Westfall (and look, WoW fans, there’s even a teeny mechanical harvest golem in a field toward the right).

Durotan and Draka (Anna Galvin) agree that they must make Azeroth their new home “whatever happens”. Durotan holds up his tiny, newborn son. Aww, look at the adorable baby Thrall/Go’el. This little green guy is going to have plenty of screen time in later movies. Also, if you’re wondering why he’s green, it’s generally believed to be because of the demonic magic that he was exposed to while a baby.

Ad – content continues below

Back to Stormwind Keep. Talk of uniting begins. King Llane and Taria Wrynn (Ruth Negga) sit at the head of the table. Look at the council table. It’s easy to miss, but there aren’t just humans seated. High Elves can be seen to the left while a single Dwarf can be seen to the far right. Neat, huh? This is essentially the beginning of the Alliance as we know it. We get a lovely shot of Stormwind from the harbor side. Following that, we get a brief shot of a shamanistic Orc dressed for battle.

A resolute, Orc-ish figure appears, speaking of compromise. Garona Halforcen (Paula Patton). Garona isn’t a full-blooded Orc (which explains her appearance compared to say, Draka, who was shown earlier). In the games, she’s Half-Orc and Half-Draenei, but according to Warcraft interviews, she will be Half-Human in the film. She speaks of Durotan, and tells the humans that he can help them unite the races of Azeroth.

Orgrim seems defiant of the idea of uniting the Frostwolf clan with the humans, and states “For Orcs, there is no other life but war”. Shots of war begin to display on-screen in front of backdrops of the ancient, forested area in front of the Dark Portal and the entrance to the charred landscape surrounding Blackrock Mountain.

It is here that Durotan and Lothar meet. Lothar is accompanied by Garona. Both races long to save their people from the legions of green-skinned, fel-tainted Orcs who cannot be reasoned with.

A shot of Dalaran from gryphon-back is now seen. King Llane questions whether or not if the humans can trust the Frostwolf Orcs. “They are beasts—they should all be destroyed,” a voice replies.

Ad – content continues below

After a brief shot of Durotan slamming a fel-tainted Orc in the head, Lothar quizzically asks “Are you sure about that?”

We’re shown a picture of Garona’s brief freedom and another shot of her being imprisoned (after an encounter with Medivh, perhaps?) and her being consoled by Lothar. Lothar speaks of saving “their kingdom”. These two definitely seem to be working closely together at this point.

An interesting shot outside Stormwind Cathedral can be seen here. Lothar and Lady Taria stand in front of a coffin. King Llane also seems to be absent. Is that him inside the coffin? Is the earlier scene in the trailer with the armored body (pictured above at 0:25) perhaps King Llane? Oh, yeah, and you can also see a few High Elves in this shot as well, in the front row towards the right.

More shots of war are seen. An elder Orc takes control of the voice over at this point. This very well may be Nerz’hul. He speaks of his intense dissatisfaction with the fact that Durotan has sided with the Alliance races.

Draka casts off baby Go’el into a stream in the hopes of him finding safety as the scenes of the inevitable war continue.

Legions of Stormwind soldiers and Frostwolf Orcs face off against swarms of fel Orcs as they enter from the Dark Portal. The trailer ends with a pretty cool shot of Lothar making an attack from the back of a gryphon.

Ad – content continues below

Interestingly enough, the ending scenes are cut as though the humans might be potentially facing off against the Frostwolves as well as the fel Orcs. Are the Frostwolves with or against the armies of Stormwind at this point? This trailer is one of the first we’ve seen that truly seems to resonate with the emotions surrounding the whole Horde vs. Alliance conflict. This is essentially where that conflict is born. Powerful stuff.

Laura Hardgrave is a staff writer.