Courtney Solomon only intended to produce the film originally. However, TSR head Lorraine Williams vetoed every one of his choices (one of which was Francis Ford Coppola) and forced Solomon to direct the film since he held the rights.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Another ending was shot where Empress Savina destroys her rod and proclaims the heroes champions of the throne. According to director Courtney Solomon this was such a bad idea he didn't even put it on the DVD.