D&D Movie/TV New D&D Movie: July 23rd 2021

It's official - the new Dungeons & Dragons movie is coming, and it's coming in four years - July 23rd, 2021, as announced by Paramount.

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We already know that the movie will be produced by the Lego Movie's Roy Lee, that it will be directed by Rob Letterman (Goosebumps, Monsters vs. Aliens, Shark Tale). Originally scripted by David Leslie Johnson (Wrath of the Titans), it's now being written by Joe Manganelio, might be Dragonlance and then again might feature the Yawning Portal, and will adopt a Guardians of the Galaxy tone. Oh, and that we should take everything I just said with a pinch of salt as the movie appears have jumped from WB to Paramount at some point in the process!
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

I figure it will be an ensemble movie that at most will only loosely be based on any given book/adventure (and won't be four hours long), so the "lead" is probably only looking at ten percent more screen time than any other party member.
 

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Sorry, but most of us are very tired of racism, sexism, homophobia etc etc. And as such, those attitudes are not welcome here. It's not politically correct, it's being a decent person.
Not what I was commenting on. But as Morrus has made clear, it's not a topic to be discussed here.
 


Kaodi

Adventurer
I do not know that it has to be a completely new story but it might help if it came in the category of "lesser known" . If you were to look at the entire print run of Dungeon Magazine surely to God there must be at least one adventure in there that would make a solid bare bones inspiration for a D&D movie.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
That’s a decent idea. The only flaw is that there may be some copyright issues. Depending on the story and how TSR or WotC drafted their submission policies, you might have to track down somebody for royalties.

But that’s a relatively minor hassle.
 

ArchfiendBobbie

First Post
That’s a decent idea. The only flaw is that there may be some copyright issues. Depending on the story and how TSR or WotC drafted their submission policies, you might have to track down somebody for royalties.

But that’s a relatively minor hassle.

If all else fails, they could just run a contest where people submit entries and the best one becomes a movie. Note the submissions do not entitle one to royalties, but instead they get a prominent position in the movie's credits.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I don’t know that I’d enter that contest.

I’ve entered contests wher I submitted character designs, but for something intended to become the core storyline of a motion picture? Nah. I’d need some kind of $$$$ as part of the prize. And any royalties to be paid out of the gross receipts, not net.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
There’s a common belief that if a job doesn’t require specialist tools (like carpentry), anybody can do it. Therefore anybody can write a novel, anybody can write a a script, anybody can design an RPG, etc. That’s why those jobs are not valued.

Returning to this for just a moment...

I was just wanting a documentary about the history of Sci-fi, and Arthur C. Clark said it took him and Stanley Kubrick 2 years to adapt Clark’s “The Sentinel” into the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Clearly, either they were utter hacks who wasted a lot of time, or screenwriting takes time, even for experienced writers.
 

pemerton

Legend
So name a starting adventure you'd like them to turn into a d&d movie?
I think the first X-Men movie did a good job of evoking/echoing core X-Men ideas, but in a coherent package more tightly written than even the best of Claremont's run.

A D&D movie might want to do the same: take core ideas and tropes - the party meeting in a safe place, like a keep or a tavern, but having to go to a dangerous place to stop the forces of chaos, etc - but render them as a tighter, more coherent package.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I’d start with a less ambitious screenplay than “stopping the forces of chaos”. That kind of epic stuff hasn’t worked for the previous iterations in the franchise.

Let’s say...the focal characters take jobs on a merchant’s caravan or ship. Mid-trip, the journey-masters divert to investigate something. The “PCs” are chosen to do the initial investigation. They find horror: dead, mutilated, half-eaten bodies among ruins of an outpost.

They return to their base of operations only to find:

1) likewise
2) they’re abandoned
3) ______________

If #1 is chosen, that’s essentially Alien.

If #2 is, it could be Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, or one of those myriad storylines based on Theseus & the Minotaur- a sacrifice. See also Drafonslayer.

One of my favorite #3 plots was that they find, among other things, the desiccated body of a diplomat. He died, not from predation- which becomes a minor plot point- but from an accidental fall in a ravine. Among his belongings is a signed but undelivered peace treaty...

Regardless, movie ends in way that sets up obvious sequel.
 
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Doing existing adventures is too risky for a first movie, honestly. You want to sell an audience who do not care about D&D and think its a joke. You have a certain movie to blame for that: The other D&D movie. Also Warcraft. Also King Arthur. Maybe take elements from stories, like Marvel did, but don't just follow them

We want to win the audience over to the concept so its at least enjoyable. Simplest way to do that? Scrub all excessive lore following, none of this following adventure paths, none of this blatant sequel-bait, you want pure "Here is an entertaining movie"

So just go full on heist movie.

You introduce the characters who each have their various powers per their class. First bit is getting the team together, and the rest is the 'heist', which is to say, going through the dungeon. Everyone gets their moment to shine through disarming/evading dangerous traps, fighting things, and eventually at the end there's a dragon they overcome to get the treasure and get out. Maybe there's a romance somewhere in there. Maybe a betrayal. But the main thing its that it immediately tells you about D&D and gives you everything from the title: A dungeon, and a dragon.

You don't need 'setting' beyond 'D&Dish fantasy' and maybe a name drop if you're feeling generous. A rich fantasy world doesn't mean jack if you can't get the audience involved in it
 

Going by the continued success of the new Jumanji movie, in both the US and internationally, I think we can say that taking a group of mundane teens/young adults and throwing them into an imaginary/alternate existence can be a successful plot device for a movie. Though I do feel the cast for Jumanji played well together in that situation and it has a good mix of humor and action. So with the right cast, and just enough humor, a similar concept could work for the D&D movie. This concept would make it harder to have sequels, though, so they may not go this route.
 

pemerton

Legend
I’d start with a less ambitious screenplay than “stopping the forces of chaos”.

<snip>

If #1 is chosen, that’s essentially Alien.

If #2 is, it could be Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, or one of those myriad storylines based on Theseus & the Minotaur- a sacrifice. See also Drafonslayer.
Alien is about surviving the forces of chaos (Aliens is about defeating them). Body-snatcher type movies invovle defeating (at least for a time) said forces.

I think [MENTION=6801776]Mecheon[/MENTION]'s suggestion for a heist is interesting, but I think it's more likely that they'll go for heroic triumph over some form of villainous forces.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Alien is about surviving the forces of chaos (Aliens is about defeating them). Body-snatcher type movies invovle defeating (at least for a time) said forces.

I think [MENTION=6801776]Mecheon[/MENTION]'s suggestion for a heist is interesting, but I think it's more likely that they'll go for heroic triumph over some form of villainous forces.
Alien is a classic Man vs Nature type conflict - namely, a nasty predatory creature- in Sci-fi garb. See also The Ghost and The Darkness.

When I see “forces of chaos” in this kind of context, I’m thinking Moorcockian/Lovecraftian stuff.

The Body Snatcher movies are about defeating an infiltrating enemy who seeks to impose absolute law- as Moorcock put it, order so complete as to cause stagnation and stasis.
 
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ad_hoc

(he/they)
I'm sure at this point someone has mentioned this but we have a very successful template that would work great as a D&D movie:

Guardians of the Galaxy

A group of heroes search for a MacGuffin to stop super evil villain. The characters make the movie and the key to the movie will be tone. It can't be super serious.
 


pemerton

Legend
When I see “forces of chaos” in this kind of context, I’m thinking Moorcockian/Lovecraftian stuff.
I'm meaning stuff that upsets the "proper" order of things - in D&D that can be anything from orcs to evil tyrants to demons to gelatinous cubes.

Alien is about sexual assault. That is what makes it such an effective horror story (that and just being very well made).
Well there's that too, but I think that falls broadly within the idea of upsetting the "proper" order of things.

(A story about sexual assault could be about suffering and pscyhological destruction/resilience - the "internal" consequences - but I think it's fair to say that Alien isn't really about sexual assault in that fashion.)
 

I wonder how they'll give a D&D movie its own identity. I think it's safe to assume the majority of the target audience has no knowledge of the various D&D settings, so any references to characters and places from various D&D books would be pointless. Which raises the question, how are you going to make a D&D movie stand out among all the other fantasy movies that have come before it?
 

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