Games Workshop finds itself in something of an awkward place as it tries, in ways it has rarely been able to over the decades in spite of its gaming success, to bring the worlds of Warhammer and Age of Sigmar to a wider public consciousness. It’s got streaming services, comics, games, a desperate attempt to stop appealing to fascists: and yet somehow the best help might be coming from beyond the grim dark future.
Speaking on The Witcher Unlocked, Netflix’s post-show breakdown special for the second season of its fantasy saga, Henry Cavill once again discussed the fact that he is a massive nerd, but more specifically, a massive nerd for Warhammer 40,000, the futuristic iteration of Games Workshop’s fantastical strategy tabletop games. Expected by his colleagues at this point—as fellow co-stars Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra braced themselves with a giggle for the coming nerd-out—as Cavill began talking about his passion for the game, surprisingly the man behind Geralt of Rivia found himself interrupted... by a bard.
Well, by Joey Batey, the man behind said Bard, who chimed in to add that it’s not just Cavill who’s nerding out about plastic space people in his down time. Batey is likewise a long time fan of the game, and sounds like he’s itching to pitch Cavill’s Adeptes Custodes up against an incoming force of Necrons—a host of skeletal robots who spent billions of years sleeping on “Tomb Worlds” in stasis before re-awakening to forge their empire anew. Lovely! But aside from the duo trying and failing to convince their co-stars to join them in their tabletop crusades, it’s honestly kind of amazing that this is maybe the best PR Games Workshop has had in years in terms of the public consciousness of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, GW has been trying very hard to bring Warhammer to new audiences lately, beyond the strength of the tabletop games themselves. There’s the plans to turn Eisenhorn into a TV series, the branching out of its comic book deal to work with Marvel on several series. Sure, Warhammer+ might very much be hyper-aimed at fans of Warhammer on the tabletop more than it is a wider audience, but as it establishes itself it feels like a viable platform for Games Workshop to bring non-gamers on board with as it grows. But none of that is perhaps going to have the reach of one of the biggest action stars on the planet right now, and stars of one of Netflix’s biggest hits, just casually talking about the plans for their next army or two (a Warhammer fan can never simply just have one). Maybe they’ll have more people tossing a coin to Games Workshop to join them, if only to understand what the fuss is all about.
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