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Amazon Warhammer deal signed, but work won’t start ’til 2025

GW has confirmed its contract for Amazon Warhammer TV shows starring Henry Cavill - but only after 12 months "to agree creative guidelines".

warhammer 40k amazon contract signed including Henry Cavill - GW artwork showing 40k characters in a cinema, overlaid with the Amazon logo and a Sherlock Holmes movie trailer screenshot showing Henry Cavill

One year after it first announced a licensing “agreement in principle” for Amazon Warhammer 40k TV series and movies to be made, Games Workshop has finally signed a full contract with the retail and streaming giant – but we shouldn’t expect the goods to hit our screens any time soon.

Announced by Games Workshop as an investor update and on its Warhammer Community website early Monday morning, the ink is dry and the deal is done – Amazon will be making 40k TV and movies, just as planned in its December 2022 reveals.

And GW’s share price had a temporary 4% bounce this morning to celebrate, before settling again (below screenshot via Google finance at around 6.30am ET / 3.30amPT).

warhammer 40k amazon contract signed including Henry Cavill - Google Finance screenshot showing the GAW share price chart for December 18, 2023

Per its investor update post, Games Workshop has sold Amazon “exclusive rights… in relation to films and television series set within the Warhammer 40,000 universe, together with an option for Amazon to license equivalent rights in the Warhammer Fantasy universe”.

As confirmed by WarCom, Henry Cavill will act as executive producer on the project – presumably giving him an E.P. credit on every movie or TV series made from the deal.

While there’s no details public about the possibilities for those future collaborations on the Warhammer Fantasy universes, it’s certainly a tantalising prospect for fans of Age of Sigmar and Warhammer The Old World.

With its customary euphemistic coyness, WarCom’s Monday morning article reminds us that “TV and Film production is a mammoth undertaking” and projects can take three years or more to complete, from the point of initial contract signing.

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One detail behind that – which ought to please sticklers for Warhammer 40k lore, but anger those itching for a release date – is that the contract guarantees an entire year to nail down creative boundaries between GW and Amazon, before any productions are allowed to start work.

Per the investor post: “Games Workshop and Amazon will work together for a period of 12 months to agree creative guidelines for the films and television series to be developed by Amazon.

“The agreement will only proceed once the creative guidelines are mutually agreed between Games Workshop and Amazon.”

That long prologue should give GW a chance to ensure Amazon can’t take too many liberties with Warhammer 40k’s beloved grim, dark sci-fi universe, as well as allowing the creative forces behind these projects time to prepare.

On the other hand, it means the (potentially vast) revenues to come from these 40k TV series and movies won’t be realised for at least a year, even though GW reports income from its IP licensing ventures a year ahead; as the firm confirms in its Monday morning investor update, there’s “no change to its forecast for the 53 week period ending 2 June 2024”.

So we won’t be able to even try to puzzle out exactly how much Amazon has paid for these rights for a little while – but we can expect the ‘licensing’ line in GW financial reports to start climbing in the latter part of 2024 at the latest.

The firm paid UK staff a $3000 bonus in 2023 thanks to bumper profits despite weaker licensing revenues this year – GW employees must be cautiously excited to see what impact Cavill and his band of merry TV writers eventually has on the business.

In other Warhammer news, we finally have a Kill Team Salvation release date for the new Aeldari Striking Scorpions (and Space Marine Scouts); and the Space Marine 2 release date has finally been set for late next year.

Closer to home, we reckon we can’t be more than days away from learning the Warhammer The Old World release date at this point; low-quality leaked images are swirling around, and these days GW doesn’t wait long to rectify things when that happens.