D&D Movie/TV First Footage of D&D Honor Among Thieves: Dungeons, Dragons, Teamwork, With Superhero Vibe

EN World member OB1 saw some of the first footage of next year's Dungeons & Dragon movie, Honor Among Thieves, confirming "dungeons, Dragons, and party teamwork with a bit of a superhero movie vibe". The roughly 30-seconds of footage was shown as part of Paramount's promotional reel played at CinemaCon.

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Here is a quick hit of what I saw. Note that the 30 seconds or so was split up over 7 or 8 smaller shots interspersed in a larger product reel for other Paramount product. I was focusing hard to recognize when they were showing Dad Hat (All credit to my co-worker for realizing that the title shortens to Dad Hat) footage, but it made it very tricky to really get the details for the scenes. I will say that the overall look was absolutely amazing for being this far out. Easily on par with what you would expect from a Marvel theatrical release. Costumes all looked good, sets all looked good.
  • Chris Pine on horseback riding next to Michele Rodriguez talking about 'needing a team for this'
  • A blue? dragon flying overhead away from camera while characters flee underneath on horseback
  • A big city, I'm guessing Waterdeep, from an overhead, aerial view
  • Sophia Lillis (I think) pulling back on a slingshot wristband to fire something (there were two moments of this)
  • Big action sequence in an outdoor arena like setting with pillars growing out of the ground that some heroes jump across while others fire off bows/magic,etc
  • Rege-Jean Page on horseback heading towards some ruins, reminded me of something straight out of an old module but I can't put my finger on which one. Sort of half, simple stone wall buildings on a hilltop spread out over 100 meters or so
  • A character in a long shot (I think Chris Pine but not sure as it was very quick) dancing? under an archway - reminded me more of being under Otto's Irresistible Dance than something he was doing on purpose. On the flip side, it could be a bard character spellcasting as I think he had an instrument in his hands (sorry bard haters)
  • A spell that felt like a wizard casting shield against an attack. I think it was Rege-Jean but can't be certain.
  • Don't remember seeing Hugh Grant in the footage, and no plot details
  • Definitely had a fun, action packed vibe to it. Definitely not grim-dark
As for the superhero vibe I got, yeah, it felt somewhat like a fantasy version of Guardians of the Galaxy. I could imagine the marketing campaign for this leaning into this is Marvel meets Game of Thrones as a way to make the concept accessible to a larger audience not fully familiar with D&D style medieval fantasy.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
They also filmed at Carrickfergus Castle and Wells Cathedral.

I've never been to Carrickfergus, but it looks the closest to a typical D&D castle. From how it was decked out I think Alnwick was playing "Neverwinter City Walls" in some crowd scenes. They had a bunch of extras on set. I suspect Wells was used for "Palace: Interior".
I was at Carrickfergus a couple of weeks ago and yes, it's pretty much your standard castle :)
 

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Mark Hope

Adventurer
I was at Carrickfergus a couple of weeks ago and yes, it's pretty much your standard castle :)
Yep - Carrick is a moderate sized standard castle in great condition. Bamburgh is much larger and a little more modern but is a wonderful location, both its grounds and where it is situated on the coast. Alnwick is somewhat between the two in size but has more extensive grounds. It featured in Harry Potter quite a bit - the quidditch match takes place on a field there, with the castle in the background, and one of the main courtyards is from there too, iirc.

I am looking forward to a movie with a lighter vein. The first D&D film was pretty much exactly like the games I used to play when I first started out in the hobby so I don't mind some daftness in a film. Should be cool.
 

The thing with Alnwick is it has been continuously inhabited, and hence updated. Some parts are more Victorian than Medieval. It has great grounds though, and I think that is what the D&D movie was making use of.
 


Kind of amazing to think about the influence D&D had on first video games and then movies. It’s a stealth massive influencer in so much of popular culture today!
Definitely. Theorizing an alternate reality where D&D never happened would lead to a pretty wildly different media culture, not even just in the West, because Japan is so influential in the East, and D&D had a huge impact on anime, manga, video games, light novels and so on there. Even if RPGs still happened they'd likely have started with a sci-fi or superheroic base, especially if they started a few years later. And even if fantasy RPGs had proven popular, levels would probably never have been popularized as a concept, and magical healing would likely not have become routine, nor the notion of "hit points", all of which have been deeply influential in video games (very much including non-fantasy ones).
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Sounds utterly craptastic. Piss on accessibility for the masses, I want something of substance with a solid dose of quasi-historical verisimilitude. Make it Bronze Age, Iron Age, Dark Age, or Medieval Period as you please, but keep the Marvel-esque garbage out of D&D.
Fair enough, if that is what D&D is for you. But for me, it is not D&D without anachronisms, genre-mashups, and a good dollop of camp. I've run, played in, and enjoyed D&D games that strove for gritty realism, historical verisimilitude, suspense and horror, and other attempts at being true to some genre. But the vast majority of D&D games I've experienced across time, regions, venues, and groups have been well on the lighter side of mishmash. Any D&D movie that didn't capture that wouldn't feel like D&D to me.
 





OB1

Jedi Master
So the more I think about the shots I saw and the level of finish on them, I'm starting to believe we could see a 30 second teaser trailer this summer, perhaps before Dr. Strange or Thor. Doesn't make sense that they would put that level of polish on shots this far out from release just to show at CinemaCon for 3000 people. Long lead teaser trailers don't happen as often as they used to, but with launching a new film franchise it might make sense for this movie, especially because Paramount doesn't have a lot of other upcoming titles that would make sense to show trailers for before those films. Here's hoping everyone get's to see the footage soon!
 

They will get started as soon as someone writes one that isn't garbage.
Seriously yeah.

If you take a D&D novel and just a sample of random fantasy novels published around the same time, the D&D novel is pretty much always going to come off looking worse. It's actually quite impressive how consistently mediocre-to-terrible D&D merchandised novels have been. The law of averages would normally mean that there would be some pretty good ones in there, but I can't really think of any, and I have to admit, I read a lot of them.

There are some with plots you could steal, but it's like, why bother? It might have made sense back when those novels were, inexplicably, NYT bestsellers back in the '80s and '90s, but much as I may love the ridiculous Azure Bonds, I don't think there'd really be any benefit to using that story (and indeed, it's so weird and convoluted that it wouldn't make much sense).

I think the closest you could get would maybe be Drizzt for the name recognition, but he's a terrible personality-free-zone of a character, his companions are some of the most boring and generic D&D characters to have ever existed (pretty much all of them being stereotypical examples of their kind), and really all he has going for him is a magic panther which would probably cost an awful lot in CGI.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Seriously yeah.

If you take a D&D novel and just a sample of random fantasy novels published around the same time, the D&D novel is pretty much always going to come off looking worse. It's actually quite impressive how consistently mediocre-to-terrible D&D merchandised novels have been. The law of averages would normally mean that there would be some pretty good ones in there, but I can't really think of any, and I have to admit, I read a lot of them.

There are some with plots you could steal, but it's like, why bother? It might have made sense back when those novels were, inexplicably, NYT bestsellers back in the '80s and '90s, but much as I may love the ridiculous Azure Bonds, I don't think there'd really be any benefit to using that story (and indeed, it's so weird and convoluted that it wouldn't make much sense).

I think the closest you could get would maybe be Drizzt for the name recognition, but he's a terrible personality-free-zone of a character, his companions are some of the most boring and generic D&D characters to have ever existed (pretty much all of them being stereotypical examples of their kind), and really all he has going for him is a magic panther which would probably cost an awful lot in CGI.
It's almost as if they were a financial pump and dump loan scheme thst eventually blew up in the publishers face...

Salvatore writes a solid action scene, and sticking to D&D action tropes is I thinknwhere the appeal is for these. The literary equivalent of Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Segal movies. The recent comics are actually pretty decent, but they have an actual professional making them, not game designers pumping out material to cynically prop up TSR finances.
 
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Tsuga C

Adventurer
I was going to make the same post... I saw The Northman a few days ago and it is exactly that: set in the Dark Ages, grim, gory (and quite well-made). I enjoyed it, but that is certainly not what I expect from a D&D movie.
Hmmm, I may have to look into this. Thank you for the heads-up.
 

Tsuga C

Adventurer
And you expected a Dungeons and Dragons movie to give you this why?

Perhaps because I'm an adult and my tastes have evolved a bit since my middle-school days of playing AD&D--less credulous, more critical. Even "back in the day" I found anachronisms jarring and distasteful, albeit less so than I do now.

What would earn my money? Peter Jackson's LotR trilogy wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it enough to purchase the extended DVDs. I haven't purchased the Game of Thrones DVDs, but I did enjoy the books and own all of them. Swords and sorcery fantasy movies will always appeal to me, but only if they are of similar quality. I'm no longer a middle-schooler and my standards reflect this.
 

They will get started as soon as someone writes one that isn't garbage.
Eh? In complete fairness, the kid version of me ate up the Dragonlance and Dark Sun novels, and thought they were awesome - I was, I think, very clearly the target audience for them in the 90s. Were they as good as Tolkien, Leiber, Le Guin or Howard? No, but I read all of them and enjoyed them. Having spent the majority of my 20s studying the humanities, I just can't read them anymore - but I very much doubt "people in their late 30s with humanities graduate degrees" have ever been the target audience of D&D novels.
 

Oofta

Legend
Perhaps because I'm an adult and my tastes have evolved a bit since my middle-school days of playing AD&D--less credulous, more critical. Even "back in the day" I found anachronisms jarring and distasteful, albeit less so than I do now.

What would earn my money? Peter Jackson's LotR trilogy wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it enough to purchase the extended DVDs. I haven't purchased the Game of Thrones DVDs, but I did enjoy the books and own all of them. Swords and sorcery fantasy movies will always appeal to me, but only if they are of similar quality. I'm no longer a middle-schooler and my standards reflect this.

My middle school days are eons behind me, I'm still looking forward to a light hearted D&D movie and feel like it's a better fit for representing the game. Maybe there's just a benefit to being immature. :p
 

Perhaps because I'm an adult and my tastes have evolved a bit since my middle-school days of playing AD&D--less credulous, more critical. Even "back in the day" I found anachronisms jarring and distasteful, albeit less so than I do now.

What would earn my money? Peter Jackson's LotR trilogy wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it enough to purchase the extended DVDs. I haven't purchased the Game of Thrones DVDs, but I did enjoy the books and own all of them. Swords and sorcery fantasy movies will always appeal to me, but only if they are of similar quality. I'm no longer a middle-schooler and my standards reflect this.
So, your tastes have evolved, but not your ability to judge what would make sense for a company? I'm not seeing much "critical thinking" in the position you're presenting here.

Also, forgive me but, LotR and Swords and Sorcery? You just listed things a middle-schooler loved 35-40+ years ago.

So wait, have your tastes evolved, or is it merely that you're kind of older, and your tastes are still pretty similar to when you were a middle-schooler? It seems to me that that's what actually happened here. You're seemingly engaging in some "get off my lawn" re: how D&D should be represented, and it doesn't even make sense, because D&D was always hideously anachronistic, whether its the Barrier Peaks, the social attitudes (Dragonlance might as well have been set in California in the 1970s, in terms of how the characters think about stuff - the Forgotten Realms even more so, except it's the most swinging-est part of the swinging '60s!), the wild array of equipment and armour available, or whatever.
 

Eh? In complete fairness, the kid version of me ate up the Dragonlance and Dark Sun novels, and thought they were awesome - I was, I think, very clearly the target audience for them in the 90s. Were they as good as Tolkien, Leiber, Le Guin or Howard? No, but I read all of them and enjoyed them. Having spent the majority of my 20s studying the humanities, I just can't read them anymore - but I very much doubt "people in their late 30s with humanities graduate degrees" have ever been the target audience of D&D novels.

Yeah, same. I devoured every Forgotten Realms novel that TSR published between the ages of 13 and 19 or so, then gradually expanded my horizons. I tried to re-read some of them again 10 years later, and just couldn't. There's exceptions (Lynn Abbey's Dark Sun stuff for example), but mostly they're targeted at teenagers, and as an adult who's read far beyond the TSR walled garden, they just don't stand up. I gave them all (dozens of them) away to a charity shop years ago, hopefully some other kid can pick up my copy of Crystal Shard or whatever and be as blown away as i was.

But this does NOT stop them being good for what they're intended to do. Drizzt and Raistlin and the rest probably got more teenagers into D&D than any other marketing factor other than word of mouth. And D&D teenagers are where lifelong D&D customers come from.

As for making a movie of any of these books - well, there's a few that could work. Azure Bonds for example would needs some tweaking, but it could be done. But I think it's tempting to over-estimate the depth and sophistication that's required here. You can do a lot with direction, effects, and acting performances to turn a fairly by-the-numbers story into an engaging crowd-pleasing film. Like every other genre filmmaker in the past 15 years, WotC are clearly using the MCU as their model here, and the novelisation of any given MCU film ain't gonna win any Nobel literature prizes either. But this hasn't stopped them earning money by the container-ship-load.
 
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Oofta

Legend
I don't know where this idea that you can only have a good movie if it's based on a good novel comes from. There's not a lot if correlation between the two.

Some mediocre movies have been based on great novels and vice versa. Many of the best movies (and movie franchises) have no source novel. I don't seem much, if any, correlation. How many movies have been trashed because people thought it didn't fit their image of what it should look like?

Besides, a lot of creative types grew up playing or currently play D&D. If any film has a good chance of being made by people who know what makes D&D tick, this is it.

Which is no guarantee of course, but I'm hopeful.
 

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