World of Warcraft may have drawn in more than 12 million subscribers at its peak, but it’s a safe bet to say that the majority of those players weren’t all experts of Azeroth lore. One of the great things about WoW is that you can enjoy the game whether you’re invested in the overarching story of Azeroth or not. The Warcraft franchise spans close to a dozen games worth of story including expansions plus a stack of comics, novels, and other tie-ins.

Even the most dedicated WoW players may not remember every character and detail from the original two Warcraft games, which Duncan Jones and his team are using as the inspiration for the first Warcraft film. Whether you’re an old pro or a newly interested in Warcraft after this afternoon’s casting announcements at Blizzcon 2014, here’s a crash course in Azeroth history…



[Spoiler Alert: We’ll avoid mentioning how some of these characters meet their maker, but the descriptions could reveal some plot details about Warcraft]

The Alliance

Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel)

Anduin Warcraft

Lothar is the human protagonist in both Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Warcraft II. The human knight grew up alongside Prince Llane and other royalty in Azeroth before joining the Stormwind military to protect the kingdom. He rose through the ranks quickly and earned a spot in the King’s Honor Guard before long.

The human soldier proved to be both a wise advisor and a brave warrior during the First War and the Second War. Lothar’s driving motivation is to reclaim his homeland from the invading Orcs and he uses his charismatic nature and wits on the battlefield to lead his followers into battle with him. He often rode into battle wielding the Great Royal Sword of Stormwind (though in WoW it is suggested his weapon of choice was Ashkandi), so hopefully we’ll see that blade come to life in Warcraft.

When Fimmel was first mentioned to be a leading man in Warcraft, Andiun seemed like the safe bet. The Vikings star has the right build and attitude for the role and he seems like a great choice to lead the armies of Stormwind. Andiun is a charismatic leader whose main strength is leading men into battle, so Fimmel will have to really bring the charm to sell the character.

Next: King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper)…

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