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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

Comments

Maybe a touch of Princess Bride?
The Princess Bride is a bit of a tiger trap. It deconstructs a lot of the fantasy tropes that D&D uses, and the chances are a greater proportion of the audience (and certainly critics) will have seen Princess Bride than have played D&D.
 

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Blackadder is one of the sitcom classics. If any D&D entertainment product were to be that well crafted and written I'd be delighted.
Blackadder is an excellent example of what was being talked about upthread, where delivery can elevate the script. The jokes are not bad, to be sure, but on paper they're pretty blunt instruments compared to some other classic comedies famed for their writing. Get the greatest British comedians of their generation in the same room reading them, however, and you've got solid gold.

But yes, if the D&D movie had writing and cast comparable to Blackadder, that would be a very good thing.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The Princess Bride is a bit of a tiger trap. It deconstructs a lot of the fantasy tropes that D&D uses, and the chances are a greater proportion of the audience (and certainly critics) will have seen Princess Bride than have played D&D.
I should have been clear, I wasn't suggesting the movie reference the Princess Bride in any way. Only that its a good example of a fantasy movie with snappy, funny dialogue that still manages to colour inside the lines, if you know what I mean. It deconstructs those fantasy tropes without sliding too far down the slippery slope of textual self awareness.
 

I should have been clear, I wasn't suggesting the movie reference the Princess Bride in any way. Only that its a good example of a fantasy movie with snappy, funny dialogue that still manages to colour inside the lines, if you know what I mean. It deconstructs those fantasy tropes without sliding too far down the slippery slope of textual self awareness.
I don't think you could get more textually self aware than the Princess Bride. The whole thing is a meta-commentary of fairy tales.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I don't think you could get more textually self aware than the Princess Bride. The whole thing is a meta-commentary of fairy tales.
It's not textually self aware in the sense that the characters themselves overtly make fun of the tropes being deconstructed, or have some awareness they they are characters in a story. It's not Deadpool, I guess is what I'm getting at. Fourth wall breaking for a D&D movie would probably suck.
 

It's not textually self aware in the sense that the characters themselves overtly make fun of the tropes being deconstructed, or have some awareness they they are characters in a story. It's not Deadpool, I guess is what I'm getting at. Fourth wall breaking for a D&D movie would probably suck.
Actually, yes it is - Grandpa is a character.
 



Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Deadpool is also narrating the story, so no it isn't, it's much the same.
No, it's actually entirely different. Deadpool has no story within a story. He's both the narrator and main character, and is fully aware of both facts and also the presence of an audience. There's none of that in PB, especially the awareness of the audience part, but also the awareness by the characters of their state as fictional characters. I'm not sure what you'e trying to prove here, the differences are pretty stark.
 


No, it's actually entirely different. Deadpool has no story within a story.
That we do not see the frame does not imply the frame does not exist.
He's both the narrator and main character, and is fully aware of both facts and also the presence of an audience.
Grandpa is also aware of the presence of an audience. The only difference is we see the audience represented in Princess Bride, but it is not shown on screen in Deadpool.

This is more apparent in Iron Man 3. Tony Stark appears to be breaking the forth wall and addressing the audience directly, but in the mid credits scene we see that he is talking to an in-universe character.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
That we do not see the frame does not imply the frame does not exist.
I'm not even sure what this is supposed to mean. It sounds like something off a motivational poster from a English Lit grad lounge. Perhaps you could expand on this bit of cryptic exposition? I have a fully functional set of critical analysis tools, and I've spent more time than I probably should have haunting English Department grad lounges, so feel free to use big words if you want. (No sarcasm there, just an invitation)
Grandpa is also aware of the presence of an audience. The only difference is we see the audience represented in Princess Bride, but it is not shown on screen in Deadpool.
Seriously? You don't see the difference between the presence of a fictional listener within the story in PB, versus an awareness of the actual reader/audience in Deadpool? Suffice to say they aren't the same thing at all. There's no interaction between the layers of PB.
This is more apparent in Iron Man 3. Tony Stark appears to be breaking the forth wall and addressing the audience directly, but in the mid credits scene we see that he is talking to an in-universe character.
That bit was a very well written bit of audience misdirection. The difference from our discussion of PB is that while the writer can and should be aware of the audience, but the characters in the fiction generally are not (but can be).
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
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.
Elminster has a long history of visiting Earth. Him making modern pop culture references would basically be like the genie in Disney's Aladdin, completely in character, and baffling to the other main characters, but they roll with it because he's Elminster, and of course he has centuries of weird lore accumulated from across the multiverse.
 

I'm not even sure what this is supposed to mean. It sounds like something off a motivational poster from a English Lit grad lounge. Perhaps you could expand on this bit of cryptic exposition? I have a fully functional set of critical analysis tools, and I've spent more time than I probably should have haunting English Department grad lounges, so feel free to use big words if you want. (No sarcasm there, just an invitation)

Seriously? You don't see the difference between the presence of a fictional listener within the story in PB, versus an awareness of the actual reader/audience in Deadpool? Suffice to say they aren't the same thing at all. There's no interaction between the layers of PB.
That bit was a very well written bit of audience misdirection. The difference from our discussion of PB is that while the writer can and should be aware of the audience, but the characters in the fiction generally are not (but can be).
The point is, just because we don't see Deadpool's fictional audience on screen doesn't mean it does not exist. If you don't stay for the credits for Iron Man 3, you will not know that Tony Stark has a fictional audience.

So, it really makes no difference if there is an audience surrogate depicted on screen or not, the narrator is still making meta comments on the action.

But that isn't likely to be the problem for a D&D movie (assuming it doesn't have a meta dungeon master making rude comments about the party's actions), it's if it uses the tropes called out by Princess Bride in a genre-blind fashion.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The point is, just because we don't see Deadpool's fictional audience on screen doesn't mean it does not exist. If you don't stay for the credits for Iron Man 3, you will not know that Tony Stark has a fictional audience.

So, it really makes no difference if there is an audience surrogate depicted on screen or not, the narrator is still making meta comments on the action.

But that isn't likely to be the problem for a D&D movie (assuming it doesn't have a meta dungeon master making rude comments about the party's actions), it's if it uses the tropes called out by Princess Bride in a genre-blind fashion.
Deadpool isn't addressing a fictional audience, he's addressing the actual audience. Fred Savage isn't a surrogate audience either, or at least not in any way that pierces the layers of fiction that make up the text of the PB. In the case of Iron Man 3 it doesn't matter that you have to stay for the credits, that doesn't change the presence of a fictional audience. That someone might miss the credits and not understand that just makes them mistaken, it doesn't change the fictional nature of the audience. The fact is Tony Stark isn't breaking the fourth wall but Deadpool does. The MCU does do some limited 4th wall breaking, but in the form of easter eggs that reference things from the comics, not anything to do with character awareness. That limited kind of 4th wall breaking is almost a given for a D&D movie, but to extend that to the characters in the movie being aware that they're fictional characters is something else entirely.

The PB uses a whole layer of fictional abstraction to occlude the idea that the boy and/or the Grandpa might be, in some way, fictional stand-ins for the actual audience. The actual audience isn't addresses directly though. At best you can argue with confidence that the audience is expected to identify with the boy, and that his experience of being read the book is in some fashion supposed to be a commentary on the nature of storytelling.

I also made the point several posts ago that I was talking about the comedy from the PB, and specifically the dialogue. I didn't suggested that the D&D movie call out the same tropes that you're talking about.
 

Deadpool isn't addressing a fictional audience, he's addressing the actual audience.
How do you know? There is no way to tell who Deadpool is talking to.

But what certainly isn't happening is Deadpool sitting next to you in the movie theatre telling you what is happening. Because Deadpool isn't real, and therefore cannot address anyone directly.
In the case of Iron Man 3 it doesn't matter that you have to stay for the credits, that doesn't change the presence of a fictional audience.
Because there is no fictional audience. Banner is not really there listening to Tony Stark talk. The clue is in the word "fictional". The addition of the credits sequence is no different to the old "opening of a storybook" at the beginning of a movie to justify the narrator. It's a frame. Sometimes you can see the frame, and sometimes you can't, but the movie is just the same.
 
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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
How do you know? There is no way to tell who Deadpool is talking to.

But what certainly isn't happening is Deadpool sitting next to you in the movie theatre telling you what is happening. Because Deadpool isn't real, and therefore cannot address anyone directly.
Well, he talks about the studio that made the movie not being able to afford another X-Man, so that's a pretty clear indicator that he's not addressing a fictional in-world character, or even a fictional in-world reader. Also, of course Deadpool is real, he's a real character in a movie. You can get granular about exactly who's doing the addressing if you like, but it it's not really germane to the subject at hand. The character of Deadpool addresses the theater audience directly.
Because there is no fictional audience. Banner is not really there listening to Tony Stark talk. The clue is in the word "fictional". The addition of the credits sequence is no different to the old "opening of a storybook" at the beginning of a movie to justify the narrator. It's a frame. Sometimes you can see the frame, and sometimes you can't, but the movie is just the same.
Again, no offense, but so what. The character is either aware of the actual audience, and aware of the fiction he inhabits or he isn't. Tony Stark isn't. Deapool is. And there we are.

I feel like we're pretty obviously not going to agree here. I'm fine with that. Thanks for the back and forth.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
No, it isn't, not in the way I described.
Is the way you described it the only way that matters? If not, maybe being open to discussing its meta-awareness more broadly would be more constructive than arguing over the one specific type of expression of that awareness?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Is the way you described it the only way that matters? If not, maybe being open to discussing its meta-awareness more broadly would be more constructive than arguing over the one specific type of expression of that awareness?
The only way that matters in general? Goodness no. The specific nature of the fourth wall breaking is precisely the difference in question though, so yeah, it is kind of important. I already granted the meta awareness of The Princess Bride, and was attempting to describe where that meta awareness differed from Deadpool.
 

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