Notorious Warhammer fan Henry Cavill is bringing the Warhammer Cinematic Universe to life with a Warhammer movie at Amazon. The news came after the announcement that he would, after all, not return as Superman in James Gunn and Peter Safran’s blossoming DC Universe. However, Cavill didn’t spend too much time licking his wounds and bounced back with this new announcement, which made Warhammer fans sigh with relief at having such a massive Warhammer fan behind the Warhammer-verse.
But what exactly is Warhammer? Well, to keep things simple, it’s a tabletop miniature game. As Cavill so eloquently explained on Graham Norton, Warhammer is about putting miniature models in little armies and fighting against someone else’s armies. There are two properties with the name Warhammer — Warhammer, focusing on high fantasy, and Warhammer 40,000, focusing on science fiction. It’s this last one that Cavill will help bring into live-action. The plot centers on humanity living in the gloomy 42nd millennium in a perpetual state of war against hostile alien races and supernatural powers.
Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most famous examples of the so-called “grimdark” genre, which portrays an overly pessimistic and fatalistic future where living conditions are violent, and the prospect of victory is nearly impossible. At first glance, Warhammer 40,000 has all the makings for an epic big-screen franchise. Its worldbuilding is complex and its characters engaging, and fans have high expectations for its cinematic future. Cavill and the team he assembles will have their work cut out for them adapting this ambitious property for the screen, but fans already know what they want to see from the WCU.
1. Grimdark brought to life
Grimdark is totally, unequivocally, hilariously dark. Everyone is either plain evil or amoral or corrupt; there are no clean-cut heroes, just people who aren’t as bad as others. Conditions are perilous, the future is bleak and uncertain, and victory is a distant dream. Indeed, the world of Warhammer 40,000 is so violent that a victory means nothing, considering everyone leaves in a state of perpetual war.
While this might not necessarily sound like the best premise for a cinematic universe, it’s 40k‘s bread and butter. And Henry Cavill is nothing if not a loyalist — his supposed discomfort with The Witcher‘s deviation from the source material is rumored to be why he quit the role of Geralt of Rivia. Fans can be sure Cavill will go out of his way to be loyal to the game, and that means portraying its notoriously bleak world in all its grimdark glory.
2. All the beauty and the lore
Warhammer 40,000 is (in)famous for its expansive and convoluted lore. At its core, the series is about the nature of conflict, and most stories showcase the cruelty of war. The lore in 40k involves multiple factions, races, entities, and recurring themes, contributing to a rich and fascinating background that keeps players enthralled beyond the battling mechanics.
Thus, the live-action project should respect this richness of content. It might be too daunting to adapt countless hours of playing time and novels into a two-and-a-half-hour movie, but the film should still strive to provide all the necessary background information to create a compelling narrative. It would’ve perhaps been better to adapt 40k into a series and benefit from the extended runtime. However, Amazon is an empire, and just because there’s a movie in the works doesn’t mean a show can’t happen too.
3. Inquisitor Eisenhorn
Dan Abnett might be the most prolific novelist working in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. He has written numerous books and played a crucial role in building the series’ extensive lore, establishing the basis for the storylines, and introducing many of the most popular storylines.
Among Abnett’s most well-known works are the Inquisitor Series, which follows Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn as he joins forces with Inquisitors Ravenor and Bequin to fight a Chaos plot threatening the Imperium of Man. Eisenhorn is a fascinating and layered character. A traitor to some and a heretic to others, Eisenhorn is the kind of complex character that would excel on the big screen. There are numerous characters that Cavill could play in the WCU, but Eisnehorn is atop many fans’ lists.
4. Expansion beyond 40,000
The world of Warhammer includes numerous factions and races that could potentially star on their own projects. Furthermore, it also juggles numerous storylines, some going back centuries before the main action. And what about the spin-offs to the core 40k brand, including Necromunda, and the previously mentioned fantasy Warhammer, which shares many gameplay similarities with 40k despite taking place in a different setting with different characters and plots?
Amazon surely wants to make the most of its investment and will exploit Warhammer for everything it can deliver. Games Workshop, the company behind Warhammer, is also keenly aware of the possibilities, pointing out in its initial announcement that the partnership “encompasses rights to the universe across series, film, and more.” If the film works out, expect many Warhammer projects from Amazon. The streamer has long been searching for a franchise to call their own; they might’ve finally found it.
5. Nerdy Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill is a nerd. He builds PCs. He plays World of Warcraft. He reads fantasy novels. He is a bonafide geek; he just happens to have biceps the size of watermelons. Cavill lives for the nerdy stuff and makes no attempt at hiding it. Take a peek at his Instagram page, and you’ll see how passionate he is about his hobbies.
Warhammer provides the perfect chance for Cavill to be his geeky, glorious self. Whereas he never got the chance to geek out as Superman, and his passion for The Witcher ended in a bittersweet goodbye, he is now a creative force behind Warhammer, meaning he can let his geek flag fly proudly. Let him go all in on the lore during the press tour. Have him set up a Twitch channel where we see him painting his figures. Let the man be a nerd for crying out loud! He’s earned it.
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