Amazon aims to give ‘Warhammer 40,000’ new powers with Henry Cavill

By Pushkala Aripaka and Yadarisa Shabong

(Reuters) -Amazon.com is seeking to bring popular fantasy miniature game “Warhammer 40,000” to screens with former “Superman” actor Henry Cavill, after agreeing in principle to produce film and television content with its British developer.

While commercial terms of the deal were not disclosed by London-listed Games Workshop, the move demonstrates Amazon’s push to make the most of a streaming boom and take on rivals including HBO Max and Netflix.

“For 30 years I have dreamt of seeing a Warhammer universe in live action,” Cavill said in a post on social media platform Instagram.

“Now, after 22 years of experience in this industry, I finally feel that I have the skill set and experience to guide a Warhammer Cinematic Universe into life,” he said, adding that the first steps would be to find a filmmaker, creator and writer.

Cavill’s involvement was fuelling investor and audience interest, with media reports saying the avid Warhammer fan could star in the new project and be involved as executive producer, potentially expanding the fanbase of the miniature game.

The 39-year-old British actor did not give details about the extent of his involvement.

On Thursday, the actor had confirmed he would not return as “Superman” in the DC universe and had in October announced his exit as “Geralt of Rivia” on Netflix’s “The Witcher”, which also spans a book-to-game universe.

A self-proclaimed “geek”, Cavill has in several interviews shared his love for video games and Warhammer itself, and has made no secret of how he relentlessly pursued makers of “The Witcher” to cast him on the show.

He surprised fans at the beginning of the pandemic and posted a picture on social media platform Instagram of his “almost life-long” hobby, painting a miniature from Games Workshop.

DIFFERENT STRATOSPHERE

Games Workshop’s shares soared 15% on Friday.

“Amazon’s deep pockets and its huge reach, more than 50% of British households have an Amazon Prime account, puts (the Games Workshop deal) in a different stratosphere,” AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould said in a note.

The game company, founded more than 30 years ago, makes tabletop fantasy and futuristic battle games including “Warhammer 40,000”, which is set in the 41st millennium.

Amazon, whose shares were down 0.5% in U.S. premarket trading, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The development follows Amazon’s pricey prequel series to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” novels – “The Rings of Power”, which set a record debut in September for a Prime Video series after being watched by more than 25 million viewers.

Games Workshop said Amazon’s content unit would develop its intellectual property into film and television productions, beginning with the “Warhammer 40,000” universe.

The British firm said that it would also grant merchandising rights to Amazon, and that the U.S. company would start developing the project, including holding preliminary discussions with writers.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Mark Potter and Louise Heavens)

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