Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., and Blizzard Entertainment have been working on getting its World of Warcraft-inspired movie, Warcraft, off the ground for years. The picture was announced all the way back in 2009 with Mr. Evil Dead himself Sam Raimi directing. But despite the Spider-man director’s self-stated love of WoW, he bowed out of the project officially in the summer of 2012, replaced by the talented Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) at the end of January. Given Raimi’s enthusiasm for the project, his sudden departure raised more than a few eyebrows as people wondered why he decided to depart the project. According to Raimi, it wasn’t his decision.
“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,’” Raimi told Vulture in a new interview, “So I read a screenplay that was written by the guys at Blizzard, and it didn’t quite work for me. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert [Rodat], 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.”
Blizzard is notorious for its perfectionism though, and the company has spent the better part of two decades maintaining fierce control of its intellectual property. Its games don’t come out until the studio is fully satisfied with them, with years between the announcement of a title and its release. Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm is coming out this March, but the game was first announced all the way back in 2007.
“Only once [the script] was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power,” said Raimi, “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.”
“Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago.”
Our request for a comment from Blizzard hasn’t been returned as of this writing.