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Warner Bros. Rolls for Initiative with “Dungeons & Dragons”

dungeons-and-dragons-bannerGrab your multicolored polyhedrons and come out from behind your DM screens, because Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to make a film based on Dungeons & Dragons, which, according to my 3rd edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, is a wondrous item. Apparently, Warner Bros. has been busy making moves during the surprise round while the rest of us were flat-footed; development is quite far along, using a script by Frank Darabont’s prodigal student David Leslie Johnson (Wrath of the Titans, Red Riding Hood).

Initially acquired last year as a standalone project, the script, entitled Chainmail, was actually based on another pen-and-paper RPG developed by Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax prior to launching D&D with Dave Ameson. While some of you may have a bad taste in your mouth after the 2000 Dungeons & Dragons feature film starring Jeremy Irons, we’re told that those responsible have been sacked and fed to the mind flayers. Well, that’s not entirely true. The Lego Movie producers Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon are attached to produce the picture, and Solomon actually directed the 2000 film, but hey, don’t act like you didn’t do something 13 years ago that you’d like another shot at. In any event, as one who has played more of the game than I’d care to admit and someone who saw the 2000 film in a completely empty theater, here’s hoping that this time is a critical hit for fans of the venerable game.

What would you like to see from a Dungeons & Dragons film? Let us know in the comments below. Can they just adapt Baldur’s Gate II already?

[HT: Deadline]

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30 comments

  • The whole “Dungeons & Dragons” brand is a lost cause, as evidenced by the author of this post designating himself “one who has played more of the game than I’d care to admit”. Many of us love it, and yet we’re all still compelled to try to save face in some small way when we admit it (I also saw the 2000 movie in an empty theater).

  • The SyFy produced sequel, “Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God” was actually pretty decent. (The 3rd, “The Book of Vile Darkness” was passable.) So, if they could do a Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, or other established D&D setting using what they did right with the sequel, that would be cool.

    Alternatively, they could do a live action version of the 80s cartoon, but Dungeon Master absolutely MUST be played by a CGI altered David Tennant. (Come to think of it, Benedict Cumberbatch would make a great Venger.)

  • I’d give the SyFy Channel Dungeons and Dragons sequels (from 2006 & 2009) more credit then the 2000 film – because it had some of thee worst CGI effects ever, next to Eragon (we’re talking fuck tard level CGI) … Do I want a decent Sword & Sorcery Fantasy Film? FUCK YEAH! (I’d like several of them!) … They don’t need to star anyone who’s the latest trend in Hollywood! (They can star complete unknowns!) But they need quality practical / cgi effects! (shoot on location as much as you can vs all cgi backgrounds) …. Do we need a Dungeon Master? I guess that’s an argument best left among D&D Diehards (I think a Narrator can serve as a Dungeon Master without actually seeing one) …

  • I’m with CartmanSGA. I’d want a campaign-based D&D movie, not just a generic one. We already have tons of great medieval films based heavily in the lore of D&D (Orcs, Orgres, and Wargs… oh my!)… let’s get one of the great campaigns of yesteryear into a film adaptation. It’s not like they’d be wanting for story… the campaign settings are so incredibly rich with histories, cities, climates, characters, monsters, etc. they would need only translate some of the old D&D modules from any of the campaigns into a screenplay. This shit almost writes itself!

  • Of what’s been discussed so far, I’ve only ever seen the 2000 film. It was horrible. Yes, it had explosions and fire-breathing dragons, but it felt like the creative “minds” behind it sought their inspiration from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I almost expected to look at the bottom of the screen and see the silhouettes of chairs with a man and two robots sitting in them.

    Hopefully, if WB is cooking something up, it’ll smell better than that.

  • CGI is important, but what makes Ironman 3 sing is the smart writing and dialog — and dialog that’s delivered with some serious skill. The actors can be unknowns, but the better they are, and the better the writing is, the happier I’ll be. The big challenge I see for a D&D film is the idea that D&D has a multiple protagonist in a way that’s pretty rare in movies. But if you model something on the way the seven samurai are pulled together as a group — then you might be able to make it work without having to cheapen the whole project by having them break down and have a single handsome protagonist — so it becomes a generic swords and sorcery film, not a D&D film.

  • D&D is about going to a location, fighting monsters, looting treasure, over and over. It has plenty of other exciting ways to make a decent story (characters, spectacle, politics), but if it doesn’t have that at its core the movie will not represent D&D at all. But if it does have that at its core it will be a very dull movie indeed. Finding the middle ground is, in my opinion, close to impossible, as it requires so much compromise it waters everything down.

    It will fail.

  • the big problem with D&D is that there is just way too much info to put out all at once for the audience to pick up. They’d need to find a way to draw people in slowly.

  • You really need to capture the essence of the humor. No group is complete without its Monty Python-esque moments. It is not enough to just make a dungeon crawl movie and call it DnD.

  • It says something that cult movies about tabletop roleplaying (The Gamers comes to mind) are more popular & beloved than the “official” movies about D&D. Sure, Wrath of Dragon God & Book of Darkness were better than the 2000 movie, but that bar was set pretty low.

    If you’d like to see a D&D campaign put to film properly, check out the TV show “Leverage”. The writer has openly admitted that the show is based on an all-rogue D&D party he was attached to years earlier. They kept the zany character quirks, the crazy plans, the “oh, she clearly just rolled a 20″ moments, and it’s just a fun show. If they could do something like that in a movie, I’d be happy.

    Of course, I’d love to see a live-action version of a favorite 90s series like Dragonlance or the Drizz’t books (or even Record of Lodoss War), but I think if there’s no story to draw folks in, it won’t matter.

  • Use the recent IDW comics as inspiration. Fell’s Five band of adventurers is the best representation of a D&D group I’ve ever read, and if you are a fan of D&D, you need to find the trades and read them.

  • Use my settings: A planet the size of the sun where the Gods have been banished for over a 1000 years. Science and medicine have made some decent progress but there is nothing mechanic yet, except for the dwarfs who are the Inquisition of technology. Almost never see for that matter, they travel the earth in gigantic drillers (underground, dhu).

    Born of hope a very evil drow emperor cheat the rules and manage to contact back his father, a quite evil and chaotic drow god who was a human before (and of course nobody know about that part, dhu. He was quite the handsome hero before his transformation). Being a part of the process of the drows reincarnation cycle itself the old god pass most of his time sleeping… except when his son die every few hundred years, at which point he wake up to torture and forcibly send him back to the drows (FIND ME A WAY BACK). So you have an evil drow titan, ruling as a chaotic bastard his peoples who are lawful evil to the core but way too scared to actualy do something about it. Most of the time of course. Once in a very while they manage to kill him even if there is usualy hell to pay. So the emperor rule for about 100 to 400 years before dying (violently or not, he’s cursed from birth) while the other drow can easily live up to 600 to 800 years.

    Drows are the keepers of knowledge of all the races of evles. A war with the dwarf almost annihilated the elven races and pushed the dwarfs further underground. Drows also live in part to the surface altought their city have a perpetual darkness above it. They are among the most powerful users of magic (curses being their speciality) and regard other races with disdain prefering by far their own council. Who care about enslaving mongrels? I’ll make another drow family bow to me instead.

    Etc etc etc. That’s a fraction of my epic setting. Humans are strugglings to understand the sky and beyond, druids are becoming an authority from their forests even to the eyes of the rulers of cities.

    But the gods are scheming hard. Good, bad or neutral, they all want to comeback. So you have an evil emperor scheming against his own peoples who have no choice but to deal with him. Unsuspecting humans all over the place who have but forgot most of they knew of the gods. A group of very powerful human mages from another plane manage to pierce the shroud and establish a foothold on the planet with the help of scientist of this plane… opening a way for the gods to comeback without knowing it since they used a divine spark to pinpoint and travel..

    You want more, msg me. The setting is so rich I could write a book I guess.

  • ho I forgot, there is always a delay of about 50 to 200 years before each returns of the drow emperor.

    The human empire next to their own rest of an old ziggurat of the gods. The emperess there sit on a throne that is in fact but the first step to access heaven. If there was still gods walking around that is. That’s where the mages from the other plane will land up. They quickly become councilors at the court, stuck as they are for now on the plane.

    On the south of the drow empire is the empire of the Golden Sun. A country of good aligned humans psions. Socialy they are by far one of the most advanced society in the world which is quite something by itself. They also have inside the gouvernment building the “memory of world”. A huge artificial sun who countain all memories of everything in the world. Don’t ask, it was a gift from “the” creator of the world to the funny driven peoples at the beginning of time. As such the golden sun peoples are among the oldest civilisation rivalising even the elves in term of age.

    • Dude, save your “my setting is so great” extended comments for your own threads. The rest of us are talking about the movie, while you seem to be lost in your own world. A simple one sentence description of your setting would be enough for a forum like this. Not trying to be rude, but please stay on-topic.

  • Spidon, those IDW comics would be a GREAT story to plunder for the new movie. Great character dynamics, epic plots, and yet they still maintained the iconic feel of D&D (which Wizards seems to be nuts over these days).

  • In all honesty, half the fun of a dnd campaign is to out of game interaction; the fighter who keeps rolling ones because the dice are out to kill them, arguments over whether a character can really carry 2 longswords, a morning star, full plate armour and a hundred pounds of gold, driving the gm nuts by slaughtering the villagers rather than interrogating them, etc. Truly capturing the dnd experience would be alot less lord of the rings and a lot more order of the stick.

  • Let’s just go with Warhammer & Warhammer 40K and leave the old D&D behind…unless they make films based on specific modules…and have it so a group of kids (live action) find or develop a way to go into their modules and live out the games…as a Nerd, I would go for that.

    Hollywood screws up films franchises because they don’t know what fans want to see…they still think “giant mechanical spiders” are a good thing.

  • a d&d film would be rather welcome in my personal opinion. I think it would be difficult to simply have it be from the in game perspective. Ever heard of “The Gamers: 2 Dorkness Rising”? A great little independent film that captures the player and character interactions rather well keeping true to the silliness of the situations and still keeping an interesting story flowing. Perhaps the film could take place somewhere in Faerune?? Plenty of thought out stuff there… anyways i know ill see it either way. Also.. THEY MADE SEQUELS TO THE ORIGINAL D&D FILM?!?!?!? Well i know what ill be up to for the next few hours.