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General Spider-Man: Homecoming Writers Talk D&D Movie

Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley talked to Hollywood Reporter about the D&D movie, it's comedic themes, and how the directors are working directly with WotC.

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They directed Game Night, and wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming. They mentioned that they had been supposed to fly here to the UK to scout locations in March, but the pandemic interrupted that.

They also mentioned comedic elements and characters in the movie, which currently has a projected release date of May 27th, 2022. No actors are yet cast.

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.


Daley plays a weekly D&D game, so he is familiar with the genre. But the pair are working directly with WotC.

We haven't been accosted by players yet, but we are working with the Wizards of the Coast, the brand holders of D&D. They are the experts. We have people there that we work with and it's pretty helpful, because as much as we know about D&D, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the 45 years of lore that's out there, so these guys are such a resource. If we need a particular spell that a [high]-level wizard could do, they could give us a list. It's a lot of fun.
 
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Russ Morrissey

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Part of the problem with trying translate the MCU humor to D&D is that it is an entirely different world. Game of Thrones humor worked because it fit the characters and world; "D&D jokes" will almost certainly be horrible.
Really, no. In both cases you treat the world seriously, despite it's fantastic elements. The humour arises from creating a group of central characters with extreme disparate characteristics and watching them bounce off each other.

What you didn't do is create a bunch of earnest do-gooders as your central characters - a fault in many of the D&D novels.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Marvel-esque humor seems perfect for the Forgotten Realms...
Well, it depends upon how its done, but as a general rule, I disagree. MCU humor is very much the product of early 21st century cultural tropes, which exist in the MCU because it is an alternate 21st century Earth. Inserting those into the Forgotten Realms--or any D&D world--would potentially be damaging to the development of a "Realmsian atmosphere."

Tyrion's jokes are funny because they reflect his character and make sense in the context of Westeros, but still translate to us. I'm not so sure that would be the case with MCU humor in a fantasy world.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Really, no. In both cases you treat the world seriously, despite it's fantastic elements. The humour arises from creating a group of central characters with extreme disparate characteristics and watching them bounce off each other.

What you didn't do is create a bunch of earnest do-gooders as your central characters - a fault in many of the D&D novels.
I don't disagree, but as long as it is "Realms-appropriate" and not wink-wink, nudge-nudge moments to D&D players, or overly reliant upon 21st century American cultural memes. The group of characters part is universal, and can be applied in different contexts. But it should arise within that context in a natural way and be faithful to it.
 

I don't disagree, but as long as it is "Realms-appropriate" and not wink-wink, nudge-nudge moments to D&D players, or overly reliant upon 21st century American cultural memes. The group of characters part is universal, and can be applied in different contexts. But it should arise within that context in a natural way and be faithful to it.
Which is what the writers say they are doing. The humor comes from putting a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac together and expecting them to save the world.

Although is should be noted the Baldur's Gate CRPG is jammed full of pop culture references, and is still highly regarded.
 

dwayne

Adventurer
is everyone forgetting the witcher it had a very good D&D tone about it and the characters were great, that was a good, the whole ending first and time line crap was for the birds but understood why it was as it was. Just don't do that to the d&d movie but follow some of the other elements it presented. The bard in it was just classic and Henry Cavill played a great character who to be honest would make for a barbarians or a grim fighter type persona. The bard guy was knocking it out the part with the humor though and just brought back some real time game sessions in D&D for me. Also you need a few people to die in horrible stupid situations do to doing stupid things, because it would not be D&D without the idiot of the group dying and the others having to find a way to bring him back or maybe wondering if they should.
 


Yes, I was thinking that a Dandelion type character would be fun, especially when you revealed to the non-D&D savvy audience that he could cast spells, and was not bloody useless.

There is actually a lot more humour in the original Witcher novels, some of which was lost in the English translation, and more was lost in the transition to TV.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
Well, it depends upon how its done, but as a general rule, I disagree. MCU humor is very much the product of early 21st century cultural tropes, which exist in the MCU because it is an alternate 21st century Earth. Inserting those into the Forgotten Realms--or any D&D world--would potentially be damaging to the development of a "Realmsian atmosphere."

Tyrion's jokes are funny because they reflect his character and make sense in the context of Westeros, but still translate to us. I'm not so sure that would be the case with MCU humor in a fantasy world.
I like John Francis Daley's thoughts on the subject from the linked article . . .
John Francis Daley said:
D&D is such a unique look at the fantasy genre where it is contemporary in terms of the people playing it and the way they speak to each other. So we never wanted to spoof the genre of fantasy or take the piss out of it. But we did want to find another way into it that we hadn't necessarily seen before. Just the format of Dungeons & Dragons is so interesting and fun and all about critical thinking and thinking on your feet and figuring out ways to make things work after they fall flat. There's a lot of the spirit of that that we're trying to inject into the movie itself.
A D&D fantasy world is pseudo-medieval, not unlike Westeros from "Game of Thrones". But it isn't a historical world or even an alternate-historical world . . . and the people who engage with that world as players and movie-goers are 21st-century folks.
 

I think they do need to keep the humour on the low side. Or at last skip characters that are purely comedic reliefs...
The trick is to not have a "designated comic relief". Everyone knows that Jar-Jar Binks and Tasslehoff Burrfoot are awful, but that's because they are surrounded by boring straight characters. The humour needs to be shared out so that all the characters get some, but not too much. It's a case of A+B= joke, not A squared = (unfunny) joke.
 

Mercurius

Legend
I like John Francis Daley's thoughts on the subject from the linked article . . .


A D&D fantasy world is pseudo-medieval, not unlike Westeros from "Game of Thrones". But it isn't a historical world or even an alternate-historical world . . . and the people who engage with that world as players and movie-goers are 21st-century folks.
Yes, although I don't see Daley saying "make jokes for D&D players and that refer to American cultural tropes." He's talking about injecting the unique elements of D&D into a film treatment. I'm hoping this means simulating the character element, not the player element, and then adjusted to make it sound like it is Faerunians talking, not 21st century American nerds.

It doesn't have to be either/or, obviously, so it comes down to delivery. One of my favorite jokes from the MCU was the Galaga moment, but if a group are playing dice in a tavern in the D&D movie and someone says "Hope I roll a natural 20," I think I'll vomit in my mouth a little bit.
 


Mercurius

Legend
Why should Faerunians not speak like 21st century Americans?

It's "foresooth we should henceforth proceed to ye olde castle" that would sound laughable and stupid.
Agreed, but that's not what I'm saying. At all. There are two ends of the spectrum: stilted faux Olde English (What you are rightly mocking), and 21st century American casual speech, compete with cultural references and tropes. Either one would be a mistake, imo.

Language is not only words, but ideas, phrases, slang, manners of speech. A person speaks like where they're from. One of the reasons the LotR movies and Game of Thrones work reasonably well is that the people sounded like they were from Middle-earth and Westeros, respectively. That's all I'm saying: Faerunians should seem like they're from Faerun, and all that entails. In other words, I'm talking about internal consistency and verisimilitude. Basic world-building stuff.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Well, it depends upon how its done, but as a general rule, I disagree. MCU humor is very much the product of early 21st century cultural tropes, which exist in the MCU because it is an alternate 21st century Earth. Inserting those into the Forgotten Realms--or any D&D world--would potentially be damaging to the development of a "Realmsian atmosphere."

Tyrion's jokes are funny because they reflect his character and make sense in the context of Westeros, but still translate to us. I'm not so sure that would be the case with MCU humor in a fantasy world.
Anachronism seems fitting for the Forgotten Realms, too...
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
Yes, although I don't see Daley saying "make jokes for D&D players and that refer to American cultural tropes." He's talking about injecting the unique elements of D&D into a film treatment. I'm hoping this means simulating the character element, not the player element, and then adjusted to make it sound like it is Faerunians talking, not 21st century American nerds.

It doesn't have to be either/or, obviously, so it comes down to delivery. One of my favorite jokes from the MCU was the Galaga moment, but if a group are playing dice in a tavern in the D&D movie and someone says "Hope I roll a natural 20," I think I'll vomit in my mouth a little bit.
Yeah, meta-humor generally will not work . . . but I'm not worried. We don't know yet, of course, but I don't think Daley and Goldstein will go that route. I have faith they are banging out a top-notch script . . . and they are both directing the movie as well . . . I'm pretty optimistic we're finally going to get a good film.
 

Ulfgeir

Adventurer
The trick is to not have a "designated comic relief". Everyone knows that Jar-Jar Binks and Tasslehoff Burrfoot are awful, but that's because they are surrounded by boring straight characters. The humour needs to be shared out so that all the characters get some, but not too much. It's a case of A+B= joke, not A squared = (unfunny) joke.
Personally I thought Tasslehoff was an interesting character. But yes Jar-Jar is a perfect examples of nope. Same goes for the thief in the first D&D-film. He singlehandedly ruined the movie. Likewise I really disliked the over the top attempt of humor from Thor in Thor Ragnarok.
 

Agreed, but that's not what I'm saying. At all. There are two ends of the spectrum: stilted faux Olde English (What you are rightly mocking), and 21st century American casual speech, compete with cultural references and tropes. Either one would be a mistake, imo.

Language is not only words, but ideas, phrases, slang, manners of speech. A person speaks like where they're from. One of the reasons the LotR movies and Game of Thrones work reasonably well is that the people sounded like they were from Middle-earth and Westeros, respectively. That's all I'm saying: Faerunians should seem like they're from Faerun, and all that entails. In other words, I'm talking about internal consistency and verisimilitude. Basic world-building stuff.
Err, in Westeros they speak modern English English, which to those of use who happen to be English, sounds completely like everyday language.

And Tolkien was a linguistic expert, who switched between different modes of English depending on who was talking (and in Aragorn's case, who they where talking to). For those of you who are not linguistic experts, don't try this at home.
 

Why should Faerunians not speak like 21st century Americans?

It's "foresooth we should henceforth proceed to ye olde castle" that would sound laughable and stupid.
Have you tried to watch the new Dolittle movie with Robert Downey Jr? It is set in the late 1800's, yet all the animals use language and slang and such from present day. I did not even get half way through the movie before that made me turn the bluray off.
 

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