Warhammer Fantasy might be back thanks to the new Warhammer: The Old World game, but one classic character’s name change remains intact. Later this month, Games Workshop will release Warhammer: The Old World, a new game that revisits the Warhammer Fantasy setting during an era before it was destroyed by the forces of chaos. The new game either mentions or features many classic Warhammer Fantasy characters, but fans were quick to point out that one character’s much-debated name change remains intact. Malekith, the ruler of the dark elves, has been renamed Malerion in the new Core Rulebook, matching the character’s renaming in the new Warhammer: Age of Sigmar game and setting. 

First introduced in 1992, Malekith (now Malerion) was the son of the great elven hero Aenarion. When he was passed over for his father’s throne, Malekith undermined the new elven king Bel Shanaar and orchestrated his assassination. However, when he attempted to claim the throne by entering the sacred fires of Asuryan, Malekith was burned horrifically and fled, taking his followers with him. Malekith would eventually return to fight what would become known as the high elves and his followers became known as the dark elves. 

If Malekith’s name and association with the dark elves sound familiar, it’s because Malekith is also the name of a Thor villain, who leads the dark elves of Svartalfheim. While dark elves are a common part of fantasy, Games Workshop almost certainly named their Malekith as a homage to Marvel’s Malekith. In 2015, Games Workshop opted to change Malekith’s name to Malerion when they transitioned from Warhammer Fantasy to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. With the destruction of The World That Was, Malerion was reborn into the elven god of shadow and darkness, so it seemed to make sense to give him a name change (even if other characters who survived the destruction of The World That Was didn’t receive a name change.) However, Malekith continued to make appearances in the Warhammer: Total War video game series under his original name. This made Games Workshop’s decision to permanently change the character’s name to Malerion a bit surprising. 

Games Workshop has not commented on the name change, but some fans have long speculated that the name change was to avoid any copyright or trademark issue. Games Workshop has similarly made tweaks to the naming conventions of other popular factions to give them unique names, although this is often to reflect the changing lore of its games.

Warhammer: The Old World will officially be released next month. 

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