Warhammer Fantasy will soon return as Warhammer: The Old World, but one classic character’s name remains unchanged. This month, Games Workshop will release Warhammer: The Old World, a return to the Warhammer Fantasy universe before its destruction.
It is interesting to note that one classic Warhammer Fantasy character has not changed his name in the new game. Malekith, the dark elf’s ruler, has been renamed Malerion in the new Core Rulebook, which matches his name change in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.
In 1992, Malekith (now Malerion) was introduced as the son of the great elven hero Aenarion. When he was passed over for his father’s throne, Malekith assassinated the new elven king Bel Shanaar. After entering the sacred fires of Asuryan, Malekith was burned horribly and fled, taking his followers with him. Malekith would later return to fight the high elves, and his followers became the dark elves.
There is a reason why Malekith’s name sounds familiar to you. He’s also the name of a villain from Marvel who leads the dark elves of Svartalfheim. While dark elves are common in fantasy, Games Workshop‘s Malekith is almost certainly a reference to Marvel’s villain.
As part of the transition from Warhammer Fantasy to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Games Workshop changed Malekith’s name to Malerion. With the destruction of The World That Was, Malerion became the elven god of shadows and darkness.
In Warhammer: Total War, Malekith continued to appear under his original name. This made Games Workshop’s decision to permanently change the character’s name to Malerion somewhat surprising.
The name change has not been explained by Games Workshop, but some fans speculate that it was done to avoid copyright issues. Games Workshop has also changed the naming conventions of other popular factions to give them unique names.
Avoiding legal battles over common names by making simple adjustments is financial wisdom.