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General D&D Movie Moves Forward With Deal With Former Marvel Exec Jeremy Latcham

Dausuul

Legend
If the only drow in the movie is Drizzt, and he's played by a dark-skinned actor, they'd be okay. They don't have to delve into his back story too much.

Not a fan of Drizzt myself, but if you need a popular FR character to build a movie around, he's your best option.
 

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Traycor

Explorer
if it's called something like, "Drizzt Do'Urden and the Crystal Shard" they would probably never go see it.
Most likely "Dungeons & Dragons" will be in the title, either as the main title or subtitle, such as "Dungeons and Dragons: The Crystal Shard" or "The Crystal Shard: Dungeons & Dragons". D&D is the brand name they are selling, not FR or any specific character name.

If the studio still wants multiple D&D franchises, they would pick a naming scheme. The MCU had Thor, Hulk, Iron-Man, and Captain America to start with. All of those are easy to say. "Drizzt" wouldn't be in a movie title because having a title you can't pronounce is a death sentence. If the story is about him, they would call it "Dark Ranger" or some such, and build that as a franchise. Think of "A Star Wars Story" that Lucasfilm was trying out. "The Dark Ranger: Dungeons and Dragons". Other teams or groups could have their own franchise with a similar naming scheme, and eventually if all goes well they would do a mega crossover event like the Avengers.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
I'd be staggered if a D&D movie introduced Drizzt, or any drow for that matter. An entire species where 99.99% are cacklingly evil psychopaths, and they're the most prominent dark-skinned civilisation in the setting, and all their pale-skinned counterparts are ethereal and elegant and majority-nice? And where the exception to the rule who is actually a nice person can only be true to his ideals by leaving his people behind and going to hang out in the Nordic-inspired north with white-skinned people (and dwarves)? Not going to fly in hollywood these days, no matter how innocently-intended. There'd definitely be Unfortunate Implications, as they say,

If they were going to mine old FR novels for a D&D movie, they should look at Azure Bonds, imho. Lots of classic D&D material and tropes there, interesting characters, and a distinctive, memorable, bananas plot.
 

Traycor

Explorer
An entire species where 99.99% are cacklingly evil psychopaths, and they're the most prominent dark-skinned civilisation in the setting, and all their pale-skinned counterparts are ethereal and elegant and majority-nice?
Expect Elves to be black, asian, caucasian, and everything else. Same for dwarves and any other "races" in FR.
 


Ratskinner

Adventurer
D&D is a game system. A movie is about characters and plot. Which characters and plot will drive the movie and make it interesting?
<snippage>
There is (I assume) plenty of characterization and actual storyline to follow there versus "random adventuring party doing random stuff."
I agree with your assessment of the problem. From what I see around D&D tables, D&D would be best represented by some kind of work-comedy/parody...which not surprisingly is what many of the best D&D webcomics do, IMO. Murderhoboing and point mining does not a plot make. See almost any movie based on a game franchise. Once you leave the murderhobo/fantasy-work-com aspect out of it...well, you've got a generic macguffin-chasing fantasy movie.
 

Traycor

Explorer
It'd certainly work for a generic D&D story, but when a huge part of the Drizzt books is that he can be recognised on sight as a drow and gets judged accordingly, that ain't gonna fly.
An elf that looks like a human that is ethnically black would look nothing like a drow (gray/purple/jet black, red eyes, white hair). No one is going to confuse a dark (brown) skinned elf for being a drow.
 


If the only drow in the movie is Drizzt, and he's played by a dark-skinned actor, they'd be okay. They don't have to delve into his back story too much.

Not a fan of Drizzt myself, but if you need a popular FR character to build a movie around, he's your best option.
It gets the film company out of controversial territory, but it puts the writers into a difficult spot - why save the people of the FR when they treat obviously nice guy Drizzt so badly?

And frankly, Drizzt is not a sufficiently well known character outside of the geek bubble to open a movie. None of the established FR characters are. There was a time, when D&D was down, when Drizzt had better name recognition than D&D (in Geekland). But now D&D is up and Salvatore is down (the latest Drizzt novel is ranked at 36,900 on Amazon UK).

But that's not a problem, people did not go to see Iron Man because they knew about and liked the character (outside the USA the character was a complete unknown, with the name referring to a completely different character in the UK). They went to see an inherently interesting character well played by a talented actor.

If you want to use drow characters, then Jarlaxle and Viconia are both better options. Jarlaxle is not "good" but he is intelligent, charming an charismatic, and prone to using the heal face revolving door. Viconia - film audiences won't see the "neutral evil" on her character sheet, and she is very much on the side of the heroes. But she is arrogant and sexist enough that the audience will understand why she is not popular!
 

No. But heist movies are a genre. And looting a dungeon is pretty much a heist.
There are elements of the heist movie in a typical D&D story, such as gathering together a crew with specialist skills. However, in a standard heist movie the actual heist goes like clockwork until one thing causes it all to fall apart. In D&D things are usually constantly falling apart and being patched. Again, like GotG. 12% of a plan is pretty good for an average D&D party.
 

Minsc and Boo are like nails on a chalkboard for me. Maybe it's because I never got into the main Baldur's Gate series (Dark Alliance is another story, though). I think we could see him appear as cameo (and I think existing characters will mostly appear as such), but the idea of a whole movie staring Minsc would...not be my thing.
I think it's kinda like the more you see of him, the less chalkboard-y he is. BG1's characters really modelled the sort of PCs you might get in a slightly dysfunctional real TT RPG group pretty well. Maybe a little too well. And Minsc was clearly the joke-y guy's over-the-top character. Which can wear really thin, really fast. BG2 made him, well, still one-note but a bit funnier and more engaging (it did the same for all the characters to some degree).

But then when he's appeared in other things, it's basically just been to utter his catchphrase (which was such a thing they even reference it in Mass Effect 2/3), and just generally grin directly at the camera (metaphorically), as such characters do. So he gets very old, very fast, particularly with the perpetual "I'm in on the joke" smirk he's been drawn with more recently (even though in BG1/2 he has a "I'm too dim to get the joke but everyone is laughing so I smile!" smile instead).
 

It gets the film company out of controversial territory, but it puts the writers into a difficult spot - why save the people of the FR when they treat obviously nice guy Drizzt so badly?

And frankly, Drizzt is not a sufficiently well known character outside of the geek bubble to open a movie. None of the established FR characters are. There was a time, when D&D was down, when Drizzt had better name recognition than D&D (in Geekland). But now D&D is up and Salvatore is down (the latest Drizzt novel is ranked at 36,900 on Amazon UK).
Exactly - back in say, 2000 or maybe a little later, Drizzt was huge enough that making a film about him might have actually worked and been "worth it", but now? Minor Marvel and DC characters have broader public recognition. You'd probably get more people inherently excited about a Blue Beetle and you'd definitely get way more people excited about a Squirrel Girl movie (admittedly she is higher-profile than a lot of Marvel characters these days). Now he's a bit of a relic, as is Salvatore.

WotC should probably see if they can convince Brandon Sanderson to write a D&D-set series. I'm not super-impressed with his work (it feel like he pretty much peaked with the first Stormlight Archive book and it wasn't a very high peak), but he's insanely popular in a way that makes Salvatore's highest popularity look minor. I suspect he is too successful at this point, though, and would rather develop his own IPs than use a licensed one (much as Bioware decided in the early 2000s with Dragon Age).
 

Traycor

Explorer
And frankly, Drizzt is not a sufficiently well known character outside of the geek bubble to open a movie.
I find this notion strange. By this reasoning, the D&D movie shouldn't have characters... It's a D&D movie, so that IP name is part of the fanbase draw. The studio will also be looking at the most well-known characters within that IP to further draw fans, which using Drizzt would. He's not the whole draw, he's just one more checkbox.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I find this notion strange. By this reasoning, the D&D movie shouldn't have characters... It's a D&D movie, so that IP name is part of the fanbase draw. The studio will also be looking at the most well-known characters within that IP to further draw fans, which using Drizzt would. He's not the whole draw, he's just one more checkbox.
Millions of people have played or know someone who plays who have never heard of Drizzt. Outside of old school hard core fans he's virtually unknown. The people who do know who Drizzt is are likely going to go see the movie anyway so there's little or nothing to gain with a huge risk of backlash.

The concept of some sort of evil underground faerie race* with coal black skin goes back centuries. That doesn't make it popular, justifiable or uncontroversial.

*There is little description of how people actually conceived of them, other than that they lived underground and had pitch black skin.
 

I find this notion strange. By this reasoning, the D&D movie shouldn't have characters... It's a D&D movie, so that IP name is part of the fanbase draw. The studio will also be looking at the most well-known characters within that IP to further draw fans, which using Drizzt would. He's not the whole draw, he's just one more checkbox.
It will have original characters, or it will have characters that are intrinsically interesting, not because they have recognisable names. Because frankly, outside of the name "D&D" itself, there are no recognisable names.

If you find that strange, you need to step outside the geek bubble a bit more often. Or even just outside the geriatric geek bubble, Because Drizzt was a popular character - 25 years ago.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If there were ever a D&D TV series I could see bringing in more complex characters and concepts. But this is a movie, it needs simple ideas and concepts that are going to immediately resonate.
 

Mistwell

Legend
It'd certainly work for a generic D&D story, but when a huge part of the Drizzt books is that he can be recognised on sight as a drow and gets judged accordingly, that ain't gonna fly.
This was already answered, like by Traycor who said:

Evil drow don't have to be included. That being said, most paintings depict the drow with purple & gray skin, which is probably what we would get. The makeup department would create a look that is distinctly non-human, which makes sense considering that no ethnic group looks like drow anyway. There would probably be some alternations (such as minor prosthetics we see for Star Trek aliens) to make it clear they aren't human and make them unique. Problem solved!
It's going to be OK. This does not have to be an issue.

And, again, we already had Thor: Dark World. It worked fine. This is old ground already.
 


Yeah, I think that's what gets on my nerves about him.

BG1's characters really modelled the sort of PCs you might get in a slightly dysfunctional real TT RPG group pretty well. Maybe a little too well. And Minsc was clearly the joke-y guy's over-the-top character. Which can wear really thin, really fast.
The question remains, if we take aside popularity (or lack there of) of the various characters, are any of them compelling enough to adapt as main characters in a movie?

And we've been talking of protagonists, but what about the villain? Mad Halaster certainly springs to mind. Or perhaps Tiamat herself? Demogorgon? Personally, I think I'd want a villain that's not just CGI or someone buried in prosthetics and mocap.
 

The question remains, if we take aside popularity (or lack there of) of the various characters, are any of them compelling enough to adapt as main characters in a movie?
No.

The best of them: Xanathar, Jarlaxle, Minsc - are at most supporting characters.
And we've been talking of protagonists, but what about the villain?
Not really, Sarevok perhaps. But then it would have to be Baldur's Gate the movie. You couldn't drop him into a different story.

Mad Halaster certainly springs to mind.
Mad wizards are trite, cliche and boring. The only compelling villains are sane, cunning villains.
Or perhaps Tiamat herself?
To big a bad for a first film. Need to keep her back for potential sequels. Also, 100% CGI.
Demogorgon?
Has some name recognition, thanks to Stranger Things, but a primal force of chaos and destruction doesn't make a very interesting villain. Possibly summoned by the main villain.

The cult of Tharizdun has some potential, if that counts.
 
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