Part of the appeal of a game like Dungeons & Dragons is that essentially you are the storyteller. You may roll 20-sided dice and have to compute some math, but ultimately you’re making choices for a character in a shared narrative with friends. If someone takes that away to tell another story, is that really Dungeons & Dragons or is it just a standard fantasy movie? How much of the property can live in a movie?
At the very least producer Roy Lee has some interesting ideas with how to bring the game to the big screen. He spoke to Steve recently about the film during an exclusive interview at DICE 2016, and the approach is sure to raise some eyebrows:
“This new Dungeons & Dragons will be a Guardians of the Galaxy-tone movie in a Tolkien-like universe. Because when you think of all the Hobbit movies and The Lord of the Rings, they have an earnestness to them, and to see something fun, a Raiders romp inside that world, I feel is something the audience has not seen before.”
On the one hand, that sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Then again, on paper, Your Highness sounded like it could be a blast and we all know how that one turned out (although I still can’t fully wrap my head around how that turned out so bad with so much talent involved).
As we previously reported, David Leslie Johnson (Orphan) wrote the script, and Lee tells us that he believes Warner Bros. is hot on the property:
“I think it will really be moving forward quickly, and I don’t anticipate it not getting greenlit this year, mostly because Warner Bros. has DC now, and LEGO, and the Harry Potter universe that’s being cultivated as their franchises. I believe they see Dungeons & Dragons as something that could be cultivated as a multi-universe movie where there will be spinoffs from the first movie being in Forgotten Realms and subsequent movies being in different worlds.”
As for how much this will pull from the source material, Lee says they’re going deep, and, “everyone who’s involved with it now, especially the writer of the first draft is a fan from the very beginning starting with Chainmail, which turned into Dungeons & Dragons, so you’ll see things that are very faithful to the source material as well as new elements are being incorporated with help from Wizards of the Coast, who are giving a lot of input on the script.”
Lee also revealed that the movie will take place entirely in the realm rather than having people transported from our world into the realm. He also said that the Yawning Portal will feature prominently and “it’s going to be one of people’s favorite set pieces.”
Finally, he confirmed what common sense would lead us to believe, which is that this is an ensemble picture, a smart move since D&D is a group game about building a story with your friends.
While this could all be entirely promising, and I believe that Warner Bros. is hot on the property, I’m keeping my eyes locked on Warcraft. If that movie tanks, WB could get cold feet and believe that there’s no audience for a fantasy film even if it does take a Guardians of the Galaxy tone.