What We Expect From Amazon’s Henry Cavill-produced Warhammer 40,000 Show

Henry Cavill can very well be considered the ideal of a nerd. His impressive physique and charisma made him an A-list movie star, and his hobbies, instead of lowering his popularity on account of being “uncool” somehow made him into an even more alluring figure for millions of fans worldwide.

Far from a casual gamer, the man at one point juggled his busy acting schedule with a pretty serious World of Warcraft addiction. And so it’s no surprise that his interests had him gravitate towards highly coveted parts for any nerd out there – an international spy, a monster-hunting Witcher, and even the crown jewel of nerddom – Superman himself.

Mr. Cavill’s fondness for Warhammer – Games Workshop’s miniatures-based wargame – is no secret either. He spent a decent chunk of the COVID lockdown customizing and painting his Warhammer armies. The Internet naturally ran with it, creating many an image depicting Mr. Cavill as the God-Emperor of Mankind – a chief figure in the Warhammer 40,000 branch of the bigger Warhammer universe.

It was all a big harmless in-joke celebrating, by all accounts, a nice guy bringing some niche hobbies to the forefront of public consciousness. Until back in 2022 Games Workshop together with Amazon announced their partnership and, at this time still untitled, Warhammer 40k television series. The announcement also named Henry Cavill as the star and executive producer on the show.

In this article we’ll outline our expectations for this show, should it ever get made. And these are the questions we asked ourselves when deciding which staples of the setting might be making the final cut:

  • What will be cool to see in a Warhammer 40k show?
  • What will work well as an introduction to the 40k universe for an audience not necessarily familiar with the source material?
  • What will be realistic for a television show without an unlimited budget?

Hope Is the First Step on the Road to Disappointment

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that Hollywood is a volatile industry filled with uncertainty. Projects get announced and then fall through for whatever reason all the time. A mere announcement, and some subsequent chatter confirming that the show is still on track, don’t necessarily mean that the show will actually get made.

However, whatever chances Henry Cavill’s Warhammer project had of seeing the light of day went through the roof the moment Amazon’s Fallout show became an overnight hit. That show is solid proof that a game adaptation that at least looks true to the source material is precisely what people want.

If there’s one thing executives are known for, it’s chasing trends and wanting to capitalize on recent successes. And what better way to do it than greenlight a project that shares quite a few superficial similarities with Fallout (power armor, for one) and has a big name already attached to it.

In the end, we consider the likelihood of this show getting made to be fairly high despite some rumors to the contrary floating out there.

Quick Introduction to Warhammer 40,000

With its roots deep in tabletop gaming, but also featured in numerous books and video games, Warhammer 40k takes us to the far future of the 41st millennium and beyond where about a dozen of diverse alien races and human factions are locked in a perpetual all-out war on a galactic scale.

This particular universe is characterized by its uncompromising nature, dark and gritty tone, bulky gothic architecture, and the absolutely massive scale of just about everything, be it city population, the sheer size of individual combatants, or the casualty numbers of any given engagement.

If this particular show will be your first foray into the world of 40k, you can expect to see explosive visceral battles, both on foot and in space, weapons that can destroy entire planets, huge lumbering aliens, crafty treacherous aliens, assorted demons and their cultists, and human defenders of Terra driven by a sense of duty and religious zeal, and governed by a highly inefficient yet brutal bureaucracy.

cavill warhammer show speculation batlle

Things We Expect to See in the Show

The Emperor

The creator and once ruler of the Imperium of Man, the Emperor is a being of tremendous power. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but one account states that he was created to safeguard humanity from the dangers of the Warp that acts both as the realm of Chaos and the means of faster-than-light travel for the setting. And while the Internet is quick to liken Mr. Cavill to the Emperor, we’re not so sure this is the part he’ll be playing.

By the time the main action starts, the Emperor, due to a very costly parenting misstep the forces of Chaos were quick to capitalize on, is reduced to a symbol and a beacon of interstellar navigation kept barely alive by a constant stream of grisly sacrifices.

And while TV shows these days seem to be in love with flashbacks and origin stories, even in the olden days of the setting, the Emperor didn’t see a lot of direct action. He’s more of a creature of legend and a religious figure than an actual character. So, even if he’ll be present in the show in some form, we don’t expect him to play a major role in it.

cavill warhammer show speculation emperor

Space Marines

The Emperor’s chosen. The poster children for the whole setting, Space Marines – or Adeptus Astartes – are genetically engineered super soldiers towering over the regular humans due to their genetic improvements and bulky power armor. Their weapons include oversized swords, demon-smashing hammers, and rifles that aren’t really rifles but more like rapid-fire missile launchers. The chief quality of Space Marines for the purposes of the greater Warhammer IP is that they are cool. As such, we’re all but guaranteed to see some marine presence in the show.

The thing about the Astartes is that most of them tend to wear helmets at all times, which isn’t exactly a thing most actors get too thrilled about. Their sheer superhuman size would also mean an increased CGI budget. As a result, we expect to see them used sparingly as occasional awe-inspiring vessels of destruction and the fodder for many a viral clip.

Another option of course is a marine-centric story where their size is the baseline and the few regular human characters are made to look smaller around them instead. In that context, perhaps the show can follow a novice space marine who’s just learning the ropes – making it easier for the audience to understand the setting – and gets embroiled in some treacherous plot that gradually unravels throughout of the season.

cavill warhammer show speculation space marine

Imperial Guard

Whether the show’s creators go with the first or the second option, a Space Marine is only special when compared against a regular human. This means we’re all but guaranteed to see a decent number of imperial guardsmen.

With how many enemies humanity is facing in this setting, it can’t just rely on a limited number of super-soldiers. This is where the Imperial Guard comes in. Numbering in billions upon billions, they are considered to be one of the strongest fighting forces in the known universe based on sheer numbers alone. Supported by powerful artillery and kept on the straight and narrow by their trigger-happy commissars, the guardsmen wear open helmets, which is a plus for a television show, and are ripe for stories of individual heroism and overcoming impossible odds in the face of otherworldly, overwhelming, inhuman dangers.

cavill warhammer show speculation imperial guard

Rogue Traders

The general standing orders most humans have for dealing with aliens in the 40k universe can be boiled down to “kill on sight.” This is a smart practice considering the dangers these aliens pose, but it doesn’t make for great television. You can’t have a show that’s just battles, after all.

Rogue Traders then is a special branch of the Imperium authorized to color outside the lines and use such unholy acts as diplomacy whenever encountering a xenos (the setting’s fancy word for aliens). A Rogue Trader-focused plot can add a spirit of swashbuckling adventure to the show, introduce some fun new elements, and again help ease people into its world by providing quick primers for its major factions.

cavill warhammer show speculation rogue trader

Forces of Chaos

Represented by the demons from the Warp, their all-powerful gods, numerous cultists, and several chapters of Space Marines that switched sides some 10,000 years ago, Chaos is considered to be the Great Enemy of the Imperium. It’s also a very good antagonist for any story. Its demons are both vicious and tantalizing. Its goods are generous with their boons and can be considered a mirror for various aspects of human nature. And the treacherous and oftentimes unhinged nature of Chaos cultists and Chaos marines provides for great and easy-to-understand entertainment.

cavill warhammer show speculation chaos marine

Space Orks

Spelled with a k, the Space Orks are one of the most fun and funny factions in the setting. Loosely based on English football hooligans, the orks love a good fight above anything else in the world. They speak with an amusing accent, their technology works mostly just because the orks themselves believe it should (and that vehicles painted red must go faster, which they do when piloted by orks), and at their core, they’re basically sentient mushrooms. Yet they combine all those rather humorous features with a bestial nature full of rage, the strength that can rival that of a Space Marine, and numbers that have been known to overwhelm entire worlds in a green tide. Not having them in the show would be a great oversight.

cavill warhammer show speculation orks


The Eldar, or as they’re known these days Craftworld Aeldari, and their sadistic darker cousins the Drukhari are essentially space elves. As you’re probably aware, elves are perennially popular with just about any audience. And with the Eldar looking not that dissimilar to humans, at least on the outside, it’s very easy to justify adding them to the show.

Their seemingly amiable nature, especially when compared to some of the other creatures out there, can make the Eldar look like a potential ally for humanity. This can lead to some great twists when they inevitably betray the heroes, revealing their true nature. After all, for an Eldar, a human is nothing more than a monkey with delusions of grandeur.

cavill warhammer show speculation eldar


They say in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war. But that’s not entirely accurate. Well, true, there’s war alright, but who said that war can’t be funny? A one-note show that’s dark and grim all the time is sure to bore its audience in no time. As such, some humor and moments of levity are all but guaranteed here.

And you don’t even have to go far to find examples of such things in the existing Warhammer lore. Take the abovementioned orks for one. But even in the usually prim and proper Imperium, there’s room for some lighter stories and heroes. Like say, Ciaphas Cain, a protagonist of a popular series of Warhammer novels. Despite holding the high rank of Lord Commissar in the Imperial Guard, he’s the kind of character that would surely see eye to eye with Terry Pratchett’s cowardly wizard Rincewind. Most of Cain’s triumphs are an unforeseen result of him desperately trying to stay alive and avoid fighting as much as possible. We fully expect to see some characters similar to him in the show.

cavill warhammer show speculation ciaphas cain

Familiar Faces

While we’re on the topic of various licensed Warhammer properties, over the years there have been plenty of those. Gregor Eisenhorn, Ciaphas Cain, Gabriel Angelos, Captain Titus – these are but a few of the beloved characters introduced in novels and video games not directly produced by Games Workshop. Due to how IPs work, we doubt that any of them will play a major part in the events of the show, but it’s more than likely that at least some of them will get passing mentions or briefly appear here and there.

 Seeing how some of the third-party creations, like the Blood Ravens chapter of Space Marines introduced in the Dawn of War series of RTS games, became popular enough to be included in the general canon and trickle back down to the tabletop games, we believe there’s a pretty good chance the creators of the show will attempt or at least hope to do the same.

Introduce some new offshoot of a faction, a cast of easily recognizable characters, maybe a notable new piece of technology. And then if the show gets popular, you can expect to see their miniature versions in the hobby store near you. After all, that’s Games Workshop’s bread and butter.

cavill warhammer speculation blood ravens

What do you think we’ll see in the show? Do you think we missed some big obvious predictions? Feel free to let us know below.

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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