Following from our previous exploration into the universe of Warhammer animations, we take a look here at four more animations that have been teased so far.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
First up, we have the series that’s taking the term “Grim Dark” back down into the grit of the Underhive. The interrogator is a detective drama series set in a Film Noir visual style, following the grim figure of a blighted Inquisitorial operative in the aftermath of his master’s demise and the beginning of a dark future.
To break this down, the interrogator used to be part of a shadowy organization known as The Inquisition, which works covertly to neutralize threats to The Imperium (main human faction). As the name might imply, The Inquisition is based on the historic Spanish Inquisition, but in space with flame throwers. Interrogators are kinda like apprentices to actual full-time Inquisitors, gaining information from people using dubious and often painful methods for their masters before disposing of them. Due to this, the lines between right and wrong are extremely blurred.
The series is set in a Film Noir style, a genre which is characterized by cynical attitudes, stark contrasts between lighting effects and intricate plots, fitting nicely to the idea of Interrogator. What better place to have a cynical attitude than a dystopian city set in the Grim Dark of the 41st Millennium?
Another reference in the Interrogator’s character design is his pistol. A modified stubber (like a machine gun) is our main character’s weapon of choice. Said weaponry is heavily featured in another of Games Workshop’s tabletop games called Necromunda, set deep in the anarchy-stricken undercity where gangs, cults and enforcers battle for supremacy.
So, what could this mean? Maybe the Interrogator will be trying to avenge his former master’s death, leading neatly into the detective part of the series? Or maybe he could be using his skills from his past Inquisitorial days in a detective capacity for the right price? We can’t wait to find out!
Angels Of Death
Now, we have come to one of the earliest, and thus highly anticipated, animations of all. Angels of Death is a photorealistic series in the same vein as The Exodite and Altar of Wrath but with a blend of the Film Noir we’ve discussed above in Interrogator, setting the stage for a truly epic animation.
Angels of Death takes us to the front lines of a battle against the monstrous forces of a Tyranid Hivemind. Defending against the sinister threat, forces of the Space Marine chapter The Blood Angels are facing down the tendrils of the great devourer as it carves its way ever more into Imperium space.
So, this is a lot. To give some context on what this means, let’s begin with Tyranids. They are basically a combination of a Spider, a Xenomorph from Alien and a Velociraptor, armed with blasters. Their goal? To eat the universe. Ambitious but not unachievable, as they have done so before in other universes. These creatures come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each constructed from bio-flesh and willed by the hive mind with a purpose, such as infiltrating with smaller creatures while larger ones are more anti-tank. This makes them incredibly difficult to stop.
But, I hear you ask, who could stop such a swarm? Well, luckily, coming to defend against this monstrous onslaught are the Blood Angels. They are basically renaissance space marines with vampiric tendencies and the rage of a burning sun. These warriors are bloodthirsty (literally!) in close quarters combat. Several trailers have also revealed that some of the Chapter’s elite might make an appearance in the forms of a hulking Dreadnought (a large, box-like robot walker with an interred warrior inside, armed to the metal teeth) and the iconic Terminators (space marines in heavy armour).
These two factions have a history as well. In several books, we see these two foes duel it out in battles that can only be described as apocalyptic (especially when the Tyranids win, as they get to devourer an entire planet whole!).
The title, like so many, is another reference to Warhammer lore. The Emperor (their original creator) called all space marines this title. From there, the term “Angels of Death” has developed into a range of media such as book series and additional rules for Space Marines.
Angels of Death has also been made in collaboration with directors Richard Boylan and Boman Modine. This is extremely promising, as Boman Modine was both the director and producer for the Emmy winning show DARK/WEB for Amazon Prime. In addition, he is also the co-founder and CEO of Lost Legion Studios (which we have briefly covered in Part 1).
As for Richard Boylan, he is best known for his fan animations for Warhammer, such as Guardsmen and Helsreach, which have become very popular. This is interesting, as it shows that Games Workshop seems to be willing to reach out to the fans to create some incredible work.
Also working on the animation are Alexis Boozer Sterling, best known for her work for the TV series Leap Year and Emma Approved, as well as composer Jonathan Hartman, who’s also used produced music for Hammer and Bolter.
Last is the character’s voice actors, of which some will definitely seem familiar to some Warhammer fans for their work on Black Library’s audiobooks. The full list revealed so far is Jonathan Keeble, John Banks, Richard Reed, Colleen Prendergast, Andrew Wincott, Steve Conlin, Toby Longworth, Gareth Armstrong, Matthew Hunt and Emma Gregory.
Some of the characters in the series will be Captain Orpheo, a veteran Blood Angel space marine who commands the strike cruiser Sword of Baal. It seems that he goes missing while fighting against the Tyranids and while we won’t use the word rescue, it does seem that he will need help.
The other characters include Chaplain Rafael, whose job is to be a spiritual leader to his men while also trying to stop them from falling to the Black Rage – a flaw that causes them to lose their minds to anger.
Sergeant Ancaeus is up next, a seasoned leader who places the lives of his men above personal honour and was once considered for the Sanguinary Cult. The Sanguinary Cult is a religious faith that venerates the Blood Angel’s Primarch (no, not a clothing store for marines) who was called Sanguinius. Ancaeus is one of the marines tasked with aiding the missing Captain.
Sergeant Kazarion is the only other sergeant listed to be in the series so far. He also has only recently returned to the Blood Angels after spending time with the elite alien hunting task force called Death Watch, which is both ironic and lucky in a way for dealing with Tyranids.
The last marine (though not the last character) confirmed is the Techmarine Handrail. A Techmarine is basically a religious mechanic who keeps all the war machines working. Unlike his fellows, Hadrael seems to stay behind on the Sword of Baal to repair a dropship, allowing him to retrieve the rescue team. It is also rumoured that Hadrael will awaken a Dreadnought in the series. A heavily armoured walker armed to the steel teeth to bring a fiery demise to its enemies.
The last character of the series is Livia, the shipmaster of the Sword of Baal and so far the only human to be named. She would later command an entire Blood Angels’ fleet against the swarming forces of The Tyranids in battle.
So, that was a lot. It certainly seems that the Blood Angels will be having their hands full in this clash of bio-morphic titans but who will stand victorious? We can’t wait to see you.
Next up on our list is Iron Within, another photorealistic series that takes the dark brutality of the 41st millennium back to the trenches. Engaged on all sides, the numerous regiments of the Astra Militarum will not only be facing the bitter veterans of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion, but also the sadistic horrors of the Drukhari. With the terrifying aliens descending, can the Iron Warriors and Astra Militarum put aside their hatred for one another long enough to survive the torturous conflict that awaits them?
To break this down, Iron Within started as a fan-made series made by a team of freelance 3D artists called Codex. Ironically, this series also went by the title of Codex Season One until Games Workshop picked it up.
Rebranded and repackaged, the series became Iron Within, which for those of you who are fans of references, is very similar to another Warhammer book title featuring the Iron Warriors called The Iron Within. That wasn’t the only change either, as when Games Workshop announced they were supporting the project, they stated they would be collaborating with Codex Film, which might be the same team as before but renamed, however, there isn’t anything saying that for definite at this time.
Going back to the factions featured in the series, let’s look at the Astra Militarum. Also known by Warhammer fans as simply The Guard, the Astra Militarum are human soldiers armed with laser guns that can melt through concrete if charged. They are the main driving force for the Imperium’s armies, not because of supernatural skill or centuries of training, but because there are millions of them supported by waves upon waves of tanks.
The two characters that have been named so far in the series are both from the Astra Militarum. The first character we have seen previewed is Thera, a soldier of the force sent by the Imperium to secure the planet that all these factions are fighting on. Her armour shows it as well, gouged in and bent in most places with the occasional jagged scratch. Her armour is also grey, save for the golden aquila on the chest plate. A nice nod visually that the equally as grey coloured Iron Warriors could forge a fragile truce with them.
Borax is the last character. From the smart cap to the intricate bionic eye, it suggests that he might be some kind of officer in the regiment. The eye also suggests that Borax has seen battle before and suffered a wound while in service to the Golden Throne.
While no actual names or titles have been dropped for the Iron Warriors, we have been shown a beautifully rendered digital model of a son of Perturabo in all its grisly glory. The armour this space marine is rocking into battle is a Mark II, which could be a nice nod that this warrior could possibly be a veteran among his peers, as Mark II is also known under the title of Crusader armour due to it being profitably used and constructed during the days of the Emperor’s Great Crusade. The armour is also adorned with various spikes, chains and skulls, capturing that classic chaos style while also visually showing signs of rust.
In addition to this, what space marine design would be complete without the signature weapon of a Bolter? Well, not this one, as the Iron Warrior model is followed by a picture of a bolter bearing the same chipped black and yellow hazard stripes as his armour. Not only that, but it also has the iron warrior’s symbol emblazoned to its side, grimly showing its allegiance to the traitor legion.
The background of these dour warriors is also semi-linked with the Astra Militarum. Back before the time of the galaxy-spanning civil war known as The Horus Heresy, the Iron Warriors were the siege specialists of the Imperium. A role that would see them being tasked with various harsh missions that yielded little respect. This embittered the legion, leading them to betray the Imperium during The Heresy. Now in 40K, they are, mostly separated into warbands that raid the Imperium for resources, which could be why they are on this world? Seems we’ll have to wait and see.
As for the last faction, The Drukhari, not much is known or shown. No pictures of them in Iron Within have been revealed. In the lore, they are basically space dark elves, complete with dark, spiky attire and a tendency to torture people. While they are not as tough as a space marine or as numerous as the guardsmen, that should not rule them out as a dangerous threat. Drukhari (also known as Dark Eldar) commonly use extreme poisons, have inhuman speed and don’t always stay dead.
So there we have it, how will the Astra Militarum survive, let alone prevail, against such odds? How long will the truce last between them and the bitter veterans of the Iron Warriors? And what could those Dark Eldar be scheming? We’ll have to wait and see when the series is launched.
Alongside Angels of Death, this sequel to the incredibly successful Astartes animation is another highly anticipated series coming to Warhammer+.
The first Astartes is a semi-photo realistic fan-made animation revolving around a small task force of Space Marines from the Retributor Chapter as they hunt down an enemy ship carrying a strange alien artifact. While this five-episode series isn’t long (it is around about 12 minutes, 45 seconds) it is beautifully brutal with the fight scenes with these super-sized soldiers dispatching their enemies with silent efficiency.
Another key feature that set Astartes apart was attention to detail. Instead of mindless shooting and slashing, we often see, in this series, there are several instances of strategic thinking such as suppressing fire to allow other members of the task force to get into close-quarters combat to flanking around enemies to surprise them.
The silence in this series is also one of the things that makes Astartes stand out. While normally we would expect there to be some interesting dialogue or maybe a battle cry, in this animation the Space Marines are mostly silent. This definitely creates a very tense atmosphere that’s only broken by bolter fire and action, showing that these guys mean business.
The title of Astartes is, of course, another reference to the Warhammer 40K universe. Space Marines in the Warhammer 40k universe are also known under the term of The Adeptus Astartes, which is basically a fancy title that works better within the grimdark setting.
Astartes was created by Syama Pedersen, a professional animator and 3D artist from Auckland, New Zealand. Pedersen first started giving snippets of his series back in March 2018, which is now quite a while ago. Since then, his video episodes have gain millions of views and become a great way for people to get interested in Warhammer without being overloaded with lore while not being too complex with backstories. Due to how dynamic this animation was, many people were incredibly impressed that it was only one person creating it.
Unfortunately, the five episodes of Astartes are no longer on YouTube, which is a bit of a shame due to how easy the platform is. The reason of this is because it was moved to official Warhammer Community website as Pedersen was hired by Games Workshop to continue the series with Astartes II.
While there isn’t much known about this sequel in terms of the plot, we can definitely say we are excited about it. Willing it to follow the same Space Marines from the first series? Or maybe we’ll see some familiar characters now that Games Workshop is supporting it? We can’t wait to find out!
Join us next time as we take a peek at the next set of series for Warhammer, featuring the only Age of Sigmar animation Black Talon, the indomitable High Lords, the mysterious Pariah Nexus and the redeeming Broken Lance. In addition, we’ll be looking into the Eisenhorn series.