Amazon to Bring Warhammer 40,000 to the Screen, With Henry Cavill

There’s big news this week for tiny warriors.

Games Workshop, the company behind Warhammer 40,000, the wildly popular tabletop game with miniature figurines, announced on Monday that it had reached a deal with Amazon Studios to bring the game to life on television and film screens.

The actor Henry Cavill, known for his roles in the “Superman” franchise and as the title character on Netflix’s fantasy series “The Witcher,” is set to appear on the show and be its executive producer.

The two companies had signed an agreement last year to create television programs and movies based on the Warhammer franchise, and will now move forward bringing the game’s universe to life.

“All we can tell you right now is that an elite band of screenwriters, each with their own particular passion for Warhammer, is being assembled,” Games Workshop said in a statement on their website.

Warhammer 40,000 was released in 1987, and in the decades since has enchanted players as they take command of small but mighty warriors for “supremacy in the grim darkness of the far future,” according to the game’s core rule book.

Two or more players place their hand-painted plastic models onto terrain set in the 41st millennium — the rule book recommends a dining table or a floor — and send them into battle among aliens and supernatural creatures.

The game has developed a significant fan base and detailed lore throughout the years, becoming Games Workshop’s most popular product. Hundreds of novels have expanded on the Warhammer universe and mythology. It also has video game spinoffs.

Much of the passion for the game, though, comes before the battle begins. Games Workshop doesn’t sell ready-to-play models for Warhammer 40,000. Instead, players purchase parts to construct, and paint in details themselves for a personal touch.

Cavill is himself a fan of the game.

In 2021, the actor, who has been known to construct his own personal computers, discussed his Warhammer hobby on “The Graham Norton Show.”

“You have to paint them,” Cavill said. “There’s the painting-modeling side of the hobby, and then there’s the gaming side of the hobby.”

The game found a new legion of fans during the pandemic, including other actors and musicians ready to battle Cavill in the fictional dystopia.

Studios have been taking notice of the trend, and capitalizing on growing interest with shows like the HBO Max series “The Last of Us,” which raked in bigger audiences than some of the network’s flagship shows.

Amazon Studios has bet on fantasy franchises already, with “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” a prequel to the J.R.R. Tolkien novels. In 2021, the studio released “The Wheel of Time,” based on the book series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.

No details were given about anticipated release dates or the types of projects planned for the Warhammer franchise. Games Workshop said that it could be some time before the tiny warriors stand tall on a movie screen.

“TV and Film production is a mammoth undertaking,” the company said. “It’s not unusual for projects to take two to three years from this point before something arrives onscreen. Still, things are now properly rolling.”

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