Sam Raimi is no longer directing the World of Warcraft movie — which is all well and good now that Duncan Jones is behind the wheel — but the manner in which he left the project is a little worrying. According Raimi himself, there were a series of script issues in the World of Warcraft project. The biggest issue, according to Raimi, was the fact that Blizzard had the power to “veto” any choice he made as Director.
In an interview with Vulture, Raimi explains the troubles he had with the project.
Robert Rodat was working on the script, and it was taking a long time. I think they were getting a little antsy at Legendary, the production company. Actually, what happened was even more complicated, so let me go back a little bit. First, they asked me if I wanted to make it, and I said, “Yes, I love World of Warcraft, and I think it would make a great picture.” So I read a screenplay they had that was written by the guys at [Warcraft developer] Blizzard, and it didn’t quite work for me. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert, so we pitched it to Legendary and they accepted it, and then we pitched it to Blizzard, and they had reservations, but they accepted it. Then Robert wrote the screenplay, and only once he was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power, and we didn’t know that. And they had never quite approved the original story we pitched them. Those reservations were their way of saying, “We don’t approve this story, and we want to go a different way,” so after we had spent nine months working on this thing, we basically had to start over. And Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out. Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago. Why did they let us keep working on it? Were they afraid to tell me?
In short, it appears as though Sam Raimi is laying the blame at Blizzard’s door. It’s a shame — we’ll never get to see Sam Raimi’s vision for World of Warcraft but, at the same time, I’m excited to see what Duncan Jones does with the movie. As is Raimi.
“I loved his movie Moon, and I think he’s a strikingly talented director,” he said. “I bet that if anyone can do a great job with it, it’s him.”