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D&D Movie/TV D&D Movie should follow the Deadpool model

Blue Orange

Explorer
To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold millions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of magic and religion, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of character growth and experience, for in the grim dark future there is only... "ah, man, this is the wrong franchise, we don't have the rights. Forget it..."
 

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Dausuul

Legend
You can have funny stuff, even quite a lot of it, in a serious movie. It makes the serious parts hit harder.

As far as tone and theme, what I want to see is fantasy-world Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is pretty much D&D already, except with Nazis instead of orcs.

Deadpool? Nope, not interested. I was lukewarm on actual Deadpool; imitation Deadpool is a nonstarter for me.
 


Mort

Legend
Supporter
So, in other words, you want to watch The Gamers.

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising was actually a pretty good movie. BUT it was a good, low budget, indie movie. Not sure if that could be translated into the big blockbuster Paramount is looking for here!

As for tone of this movie: This is from the guys who wrote Spiderman Homecoming and directed Game Night. Per some interviews they're going for "We want it to be fun. It's not an out and out comedy, but it is an action-fantasy movie with a lot of comedic elements and characters we hope people will really get into and enjoy watching their adventures..."

Which, if done well, could be pretty good.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
One of the reasons that Deadpool works for those that like it is because the other source take the material seriously. You have to establish that relatively serious baseline first.

Without that it becomes an in-joke that only gamers will understand and I don't see it working.
 

hopeless

Explorer
So let's post some hypothetical ideas.
1) They go for a Gamer: Dorkness Rising story line.
Starts off with a trio of kids heading to a store that's running various rpg games, have them encounter the other two who will serve as the dm and players of the game and they eventually talk deciding to meet up the next saturday using the week to design their character and their dm keeps in contact answering questions about their campaign.

Lets say male dm running a variation of conan meets steampunk using the standard array of gods from the phb to make things simple.
The backdrop is the kingdom is recovering from a war caused by an evil warlock and the king has two heirs and things seem rosy until he suffers a stroke and is kept hidden as those assuming his responsibilities are quietly seizing power so its becoming ruled by the Wizard's Guild who have control of the cities but lack influence over the smaller settlements.
Anyway the players send him their characters and he queries parts so he can get the game ready and a new player is added at the last moment who initially seems to be deliberately upsetting the game but he gradually gets invested as the game helps them bond.
MEANWHILE their characters in the game world have met at the inn they're a little uneasy at how they get talking as some aren't supposed to be friendly but the evening is upset when guards charge in trying to arrest two of them forcing the others to intervene and although initially arrested they're freed when the village sheriff advises them to flee into the forest as the local Magistrate a member of the Wizard's Guild wants them killed but doesn't know why.
Heading into the Forest the village is set on fire by an arriving dragon and they understand something is dreadfully wrong.

Probably nothing like that but you have to start somewhere!

2) Straight action adventure movie maybe they're shipwrecked and waking up on the shore they manage to reach the nearest town only to discover some unknown force is preying on the settlements and heroes are needed to help discover whats actually going on!

Well it is a start!

What to suggest a possible plot for this?
 


Blue Orange

Explorer
Seriously, they've got a real tradeoff between special effects and audience focus here. Indeed, D&D's focus on flashy magic and bizarre monsters makes it even harder to film well than a low-magic fantasy like Lord of the Rings or Conan the Barbarian. If they want to make the dragons and fireballs look good, they need to make it back by selling the movie to more people, most of whom are probably not familiar with D&D. The game is a lot less niche than it was 20 years ago but tongue-in-cheek jokes about parties that meet in taverns and fire-breathing gazebos are going to fly over the heads of a general audience or even a fantasy/action movie audience.
 


Mort

Legend
Supporter
If anything, the movie needs to take cues from Critical Role...

As in actually be good?

Seriously though, from what I've seen Critical Role follows an extremely "standard" D&D campaign model (a bunch of characters go from zero to hero and defeat gradually greater threats all the way up to eventually saving the world). Mercer just does a great job at world building and with interacting with that world. Plus the players are both very game AND good at expressing themselves. Such a "standard" story in movie form could work, but would have to be extremely condensed and also risks being a bit too much like any other fantasy/scifi movie.

Or are you saying it should be a Tal Dore movie - in which case, the show is already getting an Amazon series talk about an embarrassment of riches!
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Great pitch @Dragonblade ! This could totally work (except the violence would have to stay PG-13) and I think fits nicely with the comments from the writer that this will be a "subversive" take. Love the idea of what you see on screen is a visual representation of how the players imagine it while playing, while the dialogue is a mix of the players and the PCs at the table.
 


Dragonblade

Adventurer
Great pitch @Dragonblade ! This could totally work (except the violence would have to stay PG-13) and I think fits nicely with the comments from the writer that this will be a "subversive" take. Love the idea of what you see on screen is a visual representation of how the players imagine it while playing, while the dialogue is a mix of the players and the PCs at the table.

Yep! You totally get it! :D

Frankly, this sort of approach is the only way I think a movie like this can be a breakout hit. Also check out the trailer for "Free Guy", also with Ryan Reynolds, but taking the perspective of a self-aware NPC in a MMO. Similar concept to what I think can work with D&D, just from a different perspective.

With all due respect to my fellow EN Worlders who want "serious" fantasy movie, that will not work. There is a reason that virtually all fantasy movies just become B-movie cheese, even with a big budget. I mean look at Warcraft! That was a 'serious' D&D movie if ever there was one. It had the biggest MMO in the world behind it with millions of players and it was basically 'meh' and pretty much disappeared shortly after release. Frankly, this is the best a serious D&D film can achieve. Wouldn't be terrible, but would be a huge missed opportunity.

D&D is not and will never be Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, GoT, or even Harry Potter. It will not happen. Those are seminal fictional works that already had a massive audience built in. The books themselves already did all the heavy lifting when it came to world building and gravitas.

A D&D movie won't be able to pull that off, even based on an existing WotC property. The best they could do would be to take on Dragonlance or Drizzt, which are probably the most well known D&D literary franchises and build a film around them. Even then, there is no reason to believe it wouldn't just turn out to be another Warcraft. There is nothing about Drizzt in particular that screams D&D in a way that would make it stand out from any other B fantasy movie, aside from maybe budget.

And frankly, a generic fantasy movie is not a "D&D" movie, even if it embraces D&D tropes like classes and races. Again, Warcraft already covered that ground. I think the best way to make something truly memorable is to capture the essence of D&D tropes in the way I described in my first post. Embrace that the film is the cinematic realization of the theater of the mind of an actual game group gaming this out somewhere off-screen.

Never show the off-screen game group or the real world. Don't make it an 'isekai' movie (i.e. people transport to the D&D world like the old cartoon). Everything should take place in the fantasy world and the fantasy world should be real to all the 'NPC's'. But the characters in the film should be self-aware, cracking wise in just the same way that every PC in every D&D game group I have ever played in has been. :)

And the film should lean into this and crank it up to 11. Don't apologize for it, and embrace all the game table tropes. The movie should be like the ideal live action filmed version of the best single session game night ever, told from the perspective of the PCs in-world, but completely embracing that they are player characters and the self-awareness that they are player characters.

With the right writing and direction, and I'm talking full Ryan Reynolds/James Gunn here, I guarantee this would be a huge box office smash, and would achieve more lasting recognition than 'D&D: Warcraft Clone The Movie 2'.
 

As in actually be good?

Seriously though, from what I've seen Critical Role follows an extremely "standard" D&D campaign model (a bunch of characters go from zero to hero and defeat gradually greater threats all the way up to eventually saving the world). Mercer just does a great job at world building and with interacting with that world. Plus the players are both very game AND good at expressing themselves. Such a "standard" story in movie form could work, but would have to be extremely condensed and also risks being a bit too much like any other fantasy/scifi movie.

Or are you saying it should be a Tal Dore movie - in which case, the show is already getting an Amazon series talk about an embarrassment of riches!
Yes, the only thing remarkable about Critical Role is the skill of the players/cast. And that what matters. I don't think being "meta" will help in any way - that's been done before too. Star Wars tells the oldest story in the book, but it tells it well.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Yep! You totally get it! :D

Frankly, this sort of approach is the only way I think a movie like this can be a breakout hit. Also check out the trailer for "Free Guy", also with Ryan Reynolds, but taking the perspective of a self-aware NPC in a MMO. Similar concept to what I think can work with D&D, just from a different perspective.

With all due respect to my fellow EN Worlders who want "serious" fantasy movie, that will not work. There is a reason that virtually all fantasy movies just become B-movie cheese, even with a big budget. I mean look at Warcraft! That was a 'serious' D&D movie if ever there was one. It had the biggest MMO in the world behind it with millions of players and it was basically 'meh' and pretty much disappeared shortly after release. Frankly, this is the best a serious D&D film can achieve. Wouldn't be terrible, but would be a huge missed opportunity.

D&D is not and will never be Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, GoT, or even Harry Potter. It will not happen. Those are seminal fictional works that already had a massive audience built in. The books themselves already did all the heavy lifting when it came to world building and gravitas.

A D&D movie won't be able to pull that off, even based on an existing WotC property. The best they could do would be to take on Dragonlance or Drizzt, which are probably the most well known D&D literary franchises and build a film around them. Even then, there is no reason to believe it wouldn't just turn out to be another Warcraft. There is nothing about Drizzt in particular that screams D&D in a way that would make it stand out from any other B fantasy movie, aside from maybe budget.

And frankly, a generic fantasy movie is not a "D&D" movie, even if it embraces D&D tropes like classes and races. Again, Warcraft already covered that ground. I think the best way to make something truly memorable is to capture the essence of D&D tropes in the way I described in my first post. Embrace that the film is the cinematic realization of the theater of the mind of an actual game group gaming this out somewhere off-screen.

Never show the off-screen game group or the real world. Don't make it an 'isekai' movie (i.e. people transport to the D&D world like the old cartoon). Everything should take place in the fantasy world and the fantasy world should be real to all the 'NPC's'. But the characters in the film should be self-aware, cracking wise in just the same way that every PC in every D&D game group I have ever played in has been. :)

And the film should lean into this and crank it up to 11. Don't apologize for it, and embrace all the game table tropes. The movie should be like the ideal live action filmed version of the best single session game night ever, told from the perspective of the PCs in-world, but completely embracing that they are player characters and the self-awareness that they are player characters.

With the right writing and direction, and I'm talking full Ryan Reynolds/James Gunn here, I guarantee this would be a huge box office smash, and would achieve more lasting recognition than 'D&D: Warcraft Clone The Movie 2'.

Counter arguement is LotR trilogy and perhaps Witcher on netflix and GoT as well.

No one here can really say how the movie will go based on what type of tone they pick.

Serious can bomb hard, funny can bomb hard.

The two big fantasy things do fall on the serious side though (lotr, GoT).

Just rewatched Assassin's Creed movie this week and I liked it (it's not great I admit).
 


So should it be "inspired" by an existing scenario?

the Sunless Citadel
keep on the Borderlands
the starter set?
No. What makes a good adventure makes a bad movie, and visa versa. A good module should have minimal plot - too much plot and the players are railroaded. But a movie has to be about more than go here, kill monster, take treasure.

You can put in Easter eggs that D&D players might recognise, such as the hanging disks room from White Plume Mountain. But that's it. Just don't force them at the expense of plot.
 
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