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Henry Cavill may not be donning a red cape, but he does have a cool new gig.
The actor — who on Wednesday officially hung up his Man of Steel costume after Warner Bros. announced it is going in a new Superman direction under new DC Studio heads James Gunn and Peter Safran — is attached to star in and executive produce a series adaptation of Warhammer 40,000, the popular science fiction fantasy miniature war game that is set up at Amazon.
Amazon has secured the rights to the tabletop game, produced by Games Workshop, after months of negotiations and fending off rival companies that also sought the rights. This is envisioned as a potential film and TV play.
No writers or showrunners are attached. Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Natalie Viscuso teamed with Cavill to secure the rights and deliver them to Amazon. Vertigo will executive produce with Cavill and GAW’s Andy Smillie and Max Bottrill, along with Amazon Studios.
“It’s great news and we’re absolutely thrilled; we’re working with a fantastic triumvirate in Henry, Vertigo, and Amazon. Henry’s well-known love of Warhammer 40,000 — and his passion as a world-builder and storyteller — will serve us all well in the coming years. Finally, Warhammer will make it to the screen as the fans have hoped, and as they deserve. Exciting times!” said Smillie, creative director of GAW.
Warhammer is akin to Dungeons & Dragons — dice are involved in the play — but also features intricate miniatures that players can place and move around a model battlefield or world. Games Workshop, which in the 1980s made miniatures for D&D, launched the game in 1987. It has grown to become the most popular miniature war game in the world and spawned many imitators.
The game’s setting is 40,000 years into the future, where things are dark indeed. Human civilization has stopped progressing and is in an unending war with aliens and magical beings, with gods and demons figuring into a theological class system.
The humans make up the Imperium of Man, who are militaristic. A race of skeleton-like androids are known as the Necron; there is an elvish race known as Aeldari as well as Orks (with a k); Tyranids are nasty aliens; and the T’au is a blue-skinned alien race that may offer some hope.
Cavill is known to be a Warhammer fan and paints figures. Because the project is in such early stages, this will not be the next gig for Cavill, who recently announced he was exiting his lead role in Netflix’s The Witcher.
But it is an ambitious move for Amazon and could deliver a show that is epic in scale as it combines the big genre elements of sci-fi and fantasy as well as a host of human and nonhuman characters.
“I have loved Warhammer since I was a boy, making this moment truly special for me. The opportunity to shepherd this cinematic universe from its inception is quite the honour and the responsibility,” said Cavill. “I couldn’t be more grateful for all the hard work put in by Vertigo, Amazon Studios and Games Workshop to make this happen. One step closer to making a nigh on lifelong dream come true.”
Dec. 16, 8 a.m. Updated to add quotes and to note that Amazon has officially secured the rights.
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