This Is Why Sam Raimi Is No Longer Directing The World Of Warcraft Movie

This Is Why Sam Raimi Is No Longer Directing The World Of Warcraft Movie

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.”

Sam Raimi on Oz, The Avengers, and Two Huge Movies He Never Made [Vulture]


  • I’ll be honest, I’m more pleased that Mr. David Bowie’s Son is director rather than Sam Raimi. Sam Raimi would have made a good movie, but ultimately a forgettable one.

    • The story with Spider-Man 3 is the studio forced Venom into the movie. Look at the character of the Sandman, he was fleshed out and had reasons and motivation for doing what he did.

      Look at Venom, One Dimensional, and his motivation was Venom hates Spiderman like he did in the comics.

      • I LOVE Venom, and I would LOVE to see him done in a movie the way he is in the comics, but instead, we got that…

        Fucking seriously, Hollywood actors. Trying to get them to hide their face behind a mask or helmet for an entire movie must be like giving a cat a bath or taking it for a walk on a leash. (NO.jpg)
        “But then they won’t see my beautiful face! It’s not about the character, it’s about meeeeee!”

        I don’t go pay to see movies much, these days, but Dredd deserved my money just in pure support of the terrifyingly brave move of faithfully keeping a famously-masked character fucking masked, the whole movie. I want to see more of it. I’m sure we all remember that story about how the Master Chief’s helmet is the reason no-one wants to make a Halo movie. “He’s just not expressive enough, no-one will relate to him!”
        And yet Steven Seagal made movies…

        • dredd was freakin awesome

          i deeply regret not seeing out in cinemas because i was busy

          i wish it was more widely promoted. i would love a sequel

          • if thats all you noticed, then go back to watching brainless action movies and playing your calls of duties

            the point of dredd is the graphic violence and the faceless emotionless main character. It may seem boring at first, but it takes effort to be CONSISTENTLY like that

            When i watched the original stallone version, it was ruiend by the fact that he took his helmet off and became too “human” in character, so it was like every other carbon copy action movie.

            I much prefer this modern interpretation. Because in real life judges wear their funny wig thing because traditionally it symbolised being faceless and unbiased.

            Karl Urban was fantastic in portraying it. I watched it without reading up on the movie first, so i had no idea it was him. Ive seen him in different roles before and his acting was top notch and convincing

            the slow mo help enhance the graphic nature of the movie

            The only flaw was that they stuck to one single environment of an apartment block. So it watched like a rail shooter game.

            But it left me wanting more to see more of the city that they reside in

          • “if thats all you noticed, then go back to watching brainless action movies and playing your calls of duties”

            Funny. That’s what I thought Dredd was. And as for FSPs … never touch them.

            I was reading Judge Dredd back in the 80s and I appreciate the was Urban played Dredd. However I definitely did not appreciate the slow-motion gratuitousness violence which was, in my option, completely over the top and completely unnecessary.

        • Transient, it’s a fine argument, but V for Vendetta blows the “Master Chief’s Helmet” excuse out of the water.

          …well, maybe not out of the water, but dents it a little. Then again, Spider-Man 1-3 ensured we didn’t have to endure Toby’s mug for a decent portion of the film. So that can’t be bad, right?

    • +1, but you should read the interview in full – he’s actually pretty candid and contrite about Spiderman 3. I was surprised that I ended up liking him more for reading it.

      • I don’t blame Raimi, I blame the studio, this sounded like a similar situation and I’m glad he bowed out.

  • Jones is a talented man. I wasn’t interested in this movie at all but it’s on my radar now.

  • This is good… This means any movie created will have direct input by Blizzard, they won’t allow it to go down the Doom route (get it so close, but miss the mark by so far at the same time)

    • Good, unless it turns into World of Thrallcraft: The Thrall Story, staring Chris Metzen as Thrall.

      • Chris Metzen will most likely demand to do the voice over.

        Probably part of the Veto that Blizzard did, Raimi wanted to kill Thrall, Metzen wouldn’t allow it.

    • Don’t be too sure about that. It’s already rumoured that it won’t cover any of the existing Warcraft games’ stories, or the WoW story/lore, or feature many (if any?) of the major characters. It’ll be a reboot/reimagining, similar to Dark Knight, designed specifically for movie-goer audiences, not Warcraft fans. That’s how Hollywood rolls.

      Remember Wing Commander?
      Cat-people with hair? Doesn’t test well. They should be hairless, almost bug-like aliens. The ships in the game? Old-hat. We should use all-new assets that don’t bear any resemblance to the game. Oh, and you know what would be cool? If we gave the humans space magic.

      It WOULD be a textbook case of Hollywood fucking up fan-favourite game properties, if it weren’t for the fact that the movie was made by the creator of the games. Instead, it fairly neatly puts to rest the idea that a movie will be any good if it has strong involvement from the game devs.

      • ooo, rumours on the internet?… I’ll believe those!

        In all seriousness though, the Warcraft franchise is massive… Almost every man and his dog knows about it… What was their peak player base again? Regardless of those that have played WoW or not, everyone who has ever heard the name Warcraft will be seeing this movie.

    • I wouldn’t have said the Doom film was close. There was one monster and a FPS scene that reminded me of Doom, but the rest seemed like it had been pulled from another script.

      • The only thing the Doom movie lacked from the original game (other than some talented actors) was the inclusion of Hell rather than a mutation being the source of the outbreak… If Hell had been the factor, and the Cyberdemon had been involved, it would have been a pretty great movie.

        Instead we got mutants that looked like Imps and walked like guys in suits.

  • I think its absolutely reasonable on what blizzard chose to do. They want to make the movie the best it can be. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t have to buy in to it. As for them getting impatient, I also think that it is totally fair for them to do so. If the first script took forever and they didn’t like, why wait all that time again for something they weren’t really set on in the first place. I completely agree with Blizzard on this.

  • I think this is a good thing. While I admit it could lead to the project taking forever because of Blizzards bureaucracy, at least we know that it’s not going to be a movie studio just making any crap that they want and attaching the WoW name to it. Blizzard want to see quality that is as close to the source material as possible, so I’ll have hope for this movie yet.

  • I don’t know why people seem to think it’s bad that the creators maintain creative control, I don’t care if it’s a good movie if it fails to remain even the slightest bit true to the source material, imagine if they made a WoW movie set in a sci-fi world without any high fantasy elements (I know that sounds extreme but hear me out), it could be the best damn movie ever made but I’d rather it not be related to WoW, and that the WoW movie retain it’s original themeing.

    I’m sure he would have made a great movie, but he’s upset that they didn’t let him run away with their IP and do whatever he wanted despite their best efforts, I see no reason why they shouldn’t maintain the ability to veto anything they don’t like.

    but with that said there was obviously some miss-comunication somewhere along the lines, if I had to guess i’d say either that blizzard weren’t clear about their stance on the script and ability to veto or Mr. Director didn’t understand what they were telling him (it sounds to me like they wanted him to work on the story he had but that it wasn’t right yet and he jumped the gun)

  • Er, with respect to Raimi (I loved the Evil Dead franchise, good Sir) I find it utterly unsurprising that Blizzard requires veto with respect to their multi-million (billion?) dollar franchise and the complicated melodrama they have weaved over a long time. The lore is important to them, and not having veto power would allow others to potentially ruin something they have worked hard at for 20 odd years.

    It’d be like expecting Disney to allow you to kill off whoever you wanted in Toy Story 4.

  • ““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”

    See there’s where I applaud Blizzard. While at the beginning, the Warcraft lore was pretty bog-standard fantasy fair, it’s kind of grown and developed a life of it’s own. They have ideas and concepts that weave a pretty tight story. So along comes Raimi and says, I want to create a WHOLE NEW STORY OF MY OWN. Errr … no. That whole idea smacks of fan fiction that can in no way be canonical to the overall story.

    So props to Blizzard in maintaining control of their IP and not letting just anyone come in an take it in a different direction. For all we know, Raimi may have ended up contradicting something that Blizz already has plans for.

    EDIT: Also, for me Raimi would have been just as big a mistake doing a WoW movie as having Tarantino do it. Now … if they could Joss Whedon, that would rock!

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