Kael’thas has a new voice actor in patch 9.1
The folks at Wowhead have a video comparing the original voice lines to the new ones, and it’s subtle but definitely noticeable that in patch 9.1, Kael’thas Sunstrider is now being played by a new voice actor. The video was by Simaia on Twitter, who has been doing various other datamining and exploring posts, and it’s worth a listen. At present, we also know that all of Kael’thas’ lines in World of Warcraft — including his original The Burning Crusade performance — have been replaced but at present it does not appear that his voice from Heroes of the Storm has changed.
That much we know for sure. However, there’s a lot we don’t know.
We do not currently know the actor who has replaced Quinton Flynn, who has voiced Kael’thas since Warcraft 3. We also do not know why Quinton Flynn has been replaced. There’s speculation based on the recent allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at Flynn, but there’s been no statement from either Flynn himself or Blizzard about what’s going on with Kael’thas’ voice, and why it was changed. I won’t pretend I wouldn’t consider it justified if Blizzard did decide to recast Kael’thas over accusations of him grooming young fans, but I have no idea and no evidence of that — there’s literally nothing available so far as to why these changes were made.
Whatever the reasoning, considering that Burning Crusade Classic will be released soon, it’s probably a good time for the voice files to be re-recorded, since Kael’thas is such a major figure in that expansion. His prominent role in Tempest Keep and Magister’s Terrace mean that if you’ve decided to recast Kael, you might as well do it when the expansion he first made his World of Warcraft debut is coming back to be played again. And once you’ve re-recorded those lines, you might as well do his few appearances since then, including the Shadowlands and Heritage Armor ones.
But regardless of the reasoning, we can definitely say that the new actor has a slightly different take on Kael’thas. It still sounds like Kael to me, but I can hear the change. I don’t really prefer one over the other, but I’m sure the new guy will grow on me over time. Hopefully Blizzard will at least tell us who it soon enough.
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