When it comes to fantasy films, audiences have been presented with the best and worst of many mystical, magical worlds. The Harry Potter series? Great! The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies? Stellar! The attempts at bringing Dungeons & Dragons to the big screen? Not so much. (We’ve seen three features since 2000, and I leave it to you to decide which one is the worst.) But with Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter train almost at the end of its track, it seems like the studio is looking to build another big fantasy film franchise. Enter D&D.
Teaming up with Hasbro, Warner Bros. announced the plans for a Dungeons & Dragons franchise, highlighting the project’s priority by revealing that David Leslie Johnson’s script is already in their possession. Johnson’s previous work includes the horror films Orphan, Red Riding Hood, episodes of The Walking Dead, and rewrites on The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, which is in pre-production. His major fantasy action film credit? Wrath of the Titans. Yeah, so keep your expectations in check for this one.
Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis, Courtney Solomon and Allan Zeman of Sweetpea Entertainment, and Roy Lee are attached as producers. This announcement comes as the legal issues between Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment, Inc. over Dungeons & Dragons come to a conclusion, allowing more films to be made. Solomon has long been involved in the franchise as a producer; he talked about his hopes for a new film that’s closer to his ideal version a couple of years ago. Here’s what he says now that the deal has been done:
“We are thrilled that this beloved property can finally make its way to the big screen after 20 years, and that it can be realized by Warner Bros., which has been responsible for the biggest fantasy franchises over the past two decades.”
In a final interesting note, the press release also confirms that television productions are a possibility, so if the films prove successful at the box office, you can fully expect a broad cinematic universe that extends to the TV screen. Keep your eyes on Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures big-screen adaptation of the fantasy game Warcraft next summer to see how it performs; it may prove to be a litmus test for the future of video game and fantasy adaptations alike.