Last Updated on December 16, 2022
Today, The Hollywood Reporter dropped the news that I, and millions of other Warhammer 40,000 fans, have been waiting for. A company with the cash and capability to do our most beloved sci-fantasy universe proud is on the verge of acquiring the rights to do so. The Rings of Power got the Amazon treatment first. And it looks like we’re next in line.
Warhammer 40,000 is a far future sci-fantasy setting where the Imperium of man spans countless worlds and is assailed on all sides by traitors and aliens. It is an endless meat grinder of war where soldiers in their billions alongside Space Marine supersoldiers create unlimited stories of desperate battles on millions of planets, and are shipped there by kilometres-long spacecraft that tear open gates to hell to access different parts of the galaxy. The setting offers everything from military sci-fi, to more fantasy style stories of psykers and the warp, to hardboiled noir as agents and killers stalk hive cities whose tallest buildings scrape the ozone layer. It is the perfect setup for a big movie or TV franchise.
To be absolutely clear, at this point, this is not a done deal. The Hollywood Reporter reiterates that a couple of times. But the article claims that a deal is close, and we can just enjoy that for the moment.
The next piece of amazing news is that one of our likely heroes of the Imperium will be none other than Henry Cavill. Cavill is a long-established superfan of Warhammer 40,000, with pictures of him painting models, and interviews all over the shop. He’s likely to be a lead character (that block-jawed melon of his just screams Ultramarines or Imperial Fists or Rogal Dorn), and (and I want to put emphasis on this “and” because this is important) one of the producers.
Cavill as a producer, for me is vital. We’ve seen him leave one of his most beloved characters, Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher, behind because the writers and producers took too many liberties with the source material. The Warhammer 40,000 fanbase is one of intense passion for the source material. It’s also one that is utterly brutal to creators when they miss the mark. Should liberties be taken, the fanbase will be utterly merciless.
Games Workshop, who own the intellectual property (IP) for the Warhammer 40,000 universe have been making moves towards something like this for a good while–spreading their wings from their tabletop game and book product lines. There are stacks and stacks of video games (including Darktide which just released this month) and Warhammer TV (featuring the utterly amazing Astartes animation by Syama Pedersen). To me, this big budget commitment has always been the next step. If you’re in the fan community, you’ll have seen plenty of commentary over the decades about technology and budget not being able to do justice to the world. With Cavill and Amazon attached, we might just get something wonderful.
I know that articles like these are released all the time, and there is still a good chance that this is all news to Cavill, that the whole thing face plants right at the finish line because Amazon sees something shinier, or that Games Workshop (who are zealously protective of their almost 50 years of IP) pull out, but, if this is all a dream, please don’t wake me up from it just yet.