Blizzard took to Blizzcon 2014 this weekend to give us the lowdown on the cast of Warcraft. Don't know your Stormwinds from your Stromgardes? Orgrim Whomhammer? King of Wherenow? Here's a handy dandy guide to all the characters you need to know about.
Many of the characters involved in the movie appeared during the stories of the first two Warcraft games, Orcs and Humans, and Tides of Darkness as such their stories are already well known to fans of the games. But for the sake of this guide, I won't be revealing all the major plot details related to each character here - so if you're completely coming to this fresh, bear in mind there may be spoilers in the comments. Spoilers for 20 year old stories, but still - the movie will presumably cover these too, so be careful if you don't want to know everything!
The Alliance from the time of the Movie was a very different beast to the one you might know from World of Warcraft - largely because it was more of a union between different Human kingdoms (hell, Azeroth was a country, not the world it's set in. Blizzard have done a lot of tweaking in the early days and it's likely we'll be getting something in the movie that plays closer to the Azeroth we know from WoW than from the original game) instead of the multi-racial conglomerate of Dwarves, Gnomes, Night Elves, Worgen and Draenei we know today. In fact, the Alliance didn't exist until after the events of the first game, at which point it was known as the Alliance of Lordaeron. Let's get to know them, shall we?
Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Azeroth, was the Knight-Commander of Stormwind's forces during the First and Second Wars with the Orcs (presumably the movie will only cover the events of the first war, the story of Orcs and Humans). Even fought back to the capital by the Orcish Horde, Anduin and his forces held strong and eventually fought the Orcs back long enough to pull refugees out of the sacked Kingdom of Stormwind and to another Human Kingdom, Lordaeron, where Lothar would eventually help create an alliance between Humans, Dwarves and High Elves that would defeat the Orcs. In WoW, a statue of Lothar was erected at the site of his finest battle at the base of Blackrock Spire in the Burning Steppes, in memory of his stand against the Orcs.
Dominic Cooper as Llane Wrynn
King Llane I succeeded his father Adamant in a time when the Orcs had already invaded Azeroth, inheriting both Stormwind and the War his people had been fighting for years before. Like his father before him Llane lead his forces in battle against the Orcs for a decade, managing to keep them largely contained - until the King and his closest allies learned of the subterfuge that brought the invaders to their world in the first place (more on that later).
Llane was succeeded by his son, Varian, who still rules Stormwind and leads the Alliance in World of Warcraft.
There's not much to say about Taria Wrynn other than what the Blizzcon reveal told us: she's Llane's wife and Queen. Taria hasn't appeared in Warcraft before, but a character with a similar name has, Varia, shown above. Weirdly enough, Varia Wrynn was Llane's mother - as a child Llane and Varia were sent away from Stormwind by Adamant to protect them from the Orc's attack. Presumably we'll find out more about her in the movie.
Medivh is a mage, an extremely powerful magic user known as the Guardian of Tirisfal. The Guardian of Tirisfal was a human tasked with protecting Azeroth from demonic incursions by the Burning Legion, and Medivh, like his mother Aegwynn before him, took the title and the magical powers that came with it.
Little did Medivh know though that since his birth he'd been possessed by the spirit of the Burning Legion's leader, Sargeras, who used Medivh to open the Dark Portal on Azeroth, bringing the Orc Horde from Draenor to his homeworld. Despite his subterfuge driving him into madness, Medivh would go on to become an important part of events in all three of the Warcraft RTS games.
Khadgar was, like Medivh, a Mage - and was the apprentice to Medivh before the Orc's invasion. Sent by the Kirin Tor (an alliance of Mages that ruled the magical city-state of Dalaran) to apprentice under Medivh, he eventually grew wary of his Master's intentions before uncovering his plans to open the Dark Portal. Although Khadgar couldn't stop Medivh from opening the Portal, he alerted Llane and Anduin to the plan, allowing them to ready Stormwind's forces for attack. Khadgar fought along side them and against his former master.
In recent times, Khadgar is considered one of the most accomplished Mages on the planet, and helps rule Dalaran as part of its Council. He will play a role in World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor.
As her surname implies, Garona is a half-breed: Half-Orc, Half Draenei. Considered an outcast by her fellow Orcs since a young age, Garona belonged to no Orc clan, and trained as a Spymaster and Assassin under the watch of Gul'dan (more on him later). She was one of the first Orcs sent through the Dark Portal to Azeroth, acting as a scout for the Horde before she was confronted by Medivh. Instead of killing her however, Medivh allowed Garona to return as a messenger between himself and Gul'Dan. During her time on Azeroth she grew closer to Medivh and his apprentice Khadgar, her loyalty the Horde waning. When Khadgar learned of his master's plan to open the Portal enough to let an invasion force through, he was aided by Garona in bringing a warning to Llane and and Anduin Lothar. Since then, Garona stood by her human allies in confronting Medivh, and became a trusted advisor to Llane and Lothar.
Just as the Alliance of Warcraft is unfamiliar to WoW players of today, the Horde of the film is a distant ancestor of the honorable conglomerate of Trolls, Blood Elves, Tauren, Goblins and Forsaken the Orcs stand beside now. Warcrafts Orcs aren't natives to Azeroth but are from another world, called Draenor. There they lived a nomadic life until they came under the thrall of a demonic army known as the Burning Legion, lead by one of Warcraft's biggest bads - Sargeras, an all powerful being called a Titan that was driven mad. The Orcs consumed demonic blood, turning their skin green and driving them into blood frenzies that saw them decimate their co-inhabitants on Draenor, the Draenei, before being sent through to Azeroth via a mystical gateway called the Dark Portal. Not every Orc is a mindless villain though - here's the Orcs you need to read up on.
Chief of the Frostwolves, Durotan was a widely popular and honourable Clan leader on the Orc's home planet Draenor. When the Orc's spiritual leader Ner'zhul (who, unknown to himself, was being manipulated into working with the Burning Legion to persecute the Draenei) rallied the Orcs into a war with the Draenei, Durotan and his wife Draka grew suspicious of Ner'zhul's actions, which eventually lead to them and the Frostwolves declining to drink from the Demonic Blood that turned the united Orc clans into the blood-frenzied, green-skinned Horde. For his defiance, Durotan and his clan were exiled when the Horde invaded Azeroth through the Dark Portal, cast out to a region of Azeroth called Alterac Valley, bringing his wife, and their newborn child - who would go on to be Thrall, the famous Horde Warchief in Warcraft III and World of Warcraft - with them.
An alternate-reality version of Durotan will appear in Warlords of Draenor.
Rob Kazinsky as Orgrim Doomhammer
Orgrim Doomhammer was a close ally and trusted friend of Durotan's, as well as second-in-command of the Blackrock Clan alongside Blackhand. Although his friend Durotan had doubts about the Orc's conflict with the Draenei, Orgrim was immensely loyal to Blackhand and followed him into battle, and eventually became second-in-command of the Horde when Blackhand was declared Warchief. When the Horde invaded Azeroth, Durotan visited Orgrim to warn him of the Burning Legion's manipulation of the Horde through Ner'zhul and Gul'dan, setting Doomhammer on the path to confronting the Warlocks and his Warchief.
Orgrim (unsurprisingly) wields the legendary weapon Doomhammer, a gigantic hammer that would eventually find its way into the hands of Thrall.
The bloodthirsty leader of the Blackrock Clan was chosen by Gul'dan as the Horde's first Warchief, as the Warlock - and through him, the Burning Legion - thought he was weak-willed and could be manipulated along with the the rest of the Orcs. Blackhand, under Gul'dan's command, lead the united Orcs to drink from the Demonic blood, driving them into a frenzy that saw them decimate the Draenei and ultimately go on to invade Azeroth.
Once again, an alternate-reality version of Blackhand (shown above) will appear in Warlords of Draenor. It's almost like Blizzard planned all this to run up to their movie, isn't it?
Finally, we have Gul'dan - the first Orc Warlock, and the Orc who perpetrated most of stuff that lead to the events of the Warcraft games and the upcoming movie.
Gul'dan was once a powerful Shaman, and apprentice to Ner'zhul, leader of the Shadowmoon Clan. When Ner'zhul was approached by the Legion's emmisaries, disguised as ancestral spirits of the Orcs, and tricked into attacking the Draenei, Gul'dan stood by his master, until Ner'zhul discovered he was being hoodwinked. Ner'zhul intended to cut all his ties to the Legion, but in a bid for power Gul'dan betrayed him, informing the Legion of Ner'zhuls intentions. He was rewarded with great power for his treachery, becoming the first Warlock.
Under Gul'dan's directions the Orc Clans were forged into the Horde, and he also guided them (through Blackhand) into drinking from the blood of a Demonic Pit Lord named Mannoroth, turning their skin green and driving them into a frenzy, while at the same time corrupting them and enslaving them to the power of the Legion. Gul'dan's Horde almost eradicated the Draenei in their bloodlust, and before they could tear each other apart, he was contacted by Medivh and Sargeras, who instructed him to begin building the Dark Portal, so the Horde could travel to other worlds and conquer them as well...
Interested in finding out more about these characters? The first two Warcraft RTSes, Orcs and Humans and Tides of Darkness, are your best bets, especially for the Alliance characters, but if you want to know more about the Orcs of the Horde, the novel Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden is a good place to go to, as well as other early Warcraft Novels that retell the events before and during the first two Warcraft games.
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