D&D Movie/TV Update on D&D TV Show -- Underdark, Small, 6-10 Episodes

Writer Derek Kolstad (John Wick) has shared an insight into the upcoming D&D TV show with Collider, which he says will be 6-10 serialized episodes with an Underdark element.


His approach is a "tinier sliver" of the world, compared to epic stories like Lord of the Rings. He compares it to Star Wars and Jaws. He mentioned that he's like to go "deeper and deeper into the Underdark".

"In the first Star Wars, you heard about Jabba the Hutt and you don't see him until the third one because you earn at that point, and whatever the budget was for the third one compared to the first one, who cares, right? And I think in Dungeons and Dragons, who has this massive, dedicated community of acolytes, I don't want to suddenly throw everything on screen and say, 'Here's the buffet.' You'd much rather keep the story intimate. When you think of our favorite movies, I'd rather do the First Blood version. It's a guy in the woods being hunted. And it's very small, but you allude to the other things through conversation."

As yet the show is untitled. Kolstad talked a bit about legal meetings and available characters for use. It sounds like he wants to set it towards the end of any 'metaplot' that D&D might have -- "... don't want to go in the middle of the mythos. I want to come near the end where everything is canonical, it's biblical, it's happened. Or, it's about to happen. That way you can revisit certain sequences and storylines that everyone loved in the past through flashback, but where we go is new"

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I am not a fan of the underdark, if that's the setting. It's been so done to death...
What if they did it with a Descent/Lost approach, where at first, mysterious things are happening near the village and attackers that have never coordinated before are attacking the village (we all know where this is going) and, eventually, you see a glimpse of a drow, but it's only at the end of the season do they get tracked back to a cave in the woods. The adventurers clear the brush, head down into the cave and it ... just ... keeps ... going. Final scene, they look out of a cave into a much larger one, with a whole ocean underground, with black sailed ships crewed by inhuman monsters.

You can build with goblins and orcs first and show people wizardry and clerics before having an illithid suck someone's brains out.

Alternately, maybe you just have a slow-motion invasion of the surface and the Underdark is just seen as the distant headquarters of the villains and they wait several seasons to reveal how to get to Bad Guy HQ.


I can see an underdark campaign actually being interesting take - very different from most fantasy, iconic to D&D and potentially relatively simple sets. Even if they don't do that, I'm glad they want to keep thing relatively small/focused at least at first.

Other shows I've been enjoying (i.e. The Mandalorian) are actually quite small in scope and are telling very personal stories better than movies can. But also sounds like it's going to be a while before we actually see a real show. :(


I agree with the approach of keeping it very narrow and not trying to dump all the iconic D&D things into the show. That would dilute everything and not allow a nice focus. However, I am not a fan of the underdark, if that's the setting. It's been so done to death...
The Underdark has been done to death in RPGs, and RPG related novels...but in film/TV? Not so much.

It's coming out at the same time, roughly, as a new movie. It doesn't have to carry the whole load alone.
They aren't stopping at one project for each format, either.

Paramount and eOne are also mounting a feature set to star Chris Pine that is due to lens later this year. And Kolstad isn’t the only scribe working on a D&D series, as eOne is now working with multiple writers to develop various projects set in the fantasy universe.


Let's not forget this game is called 'Dungeons & Dragons'. So to have at least some part of it set in a "dungeon" makes a lot of sense-- both from getting people to understand the concept of the show... but also because it's probably a lot cheaper to produce. On a stage in a series of cave and tunnels sets rather than having to go out on location (or partial location and then having to create all the buildings in CG.)

And as far as the 'Underdark' is concerned... it makes more than enough sense to get across the idea that these Dungeons in 'Dungeons & Dragons' are not just a series of caves, but an actual huge world of dungeon complexes that interconnect underground to create this entire landscape, and which are filled with multitudes of monsters and creatures. If you really what to emphasize the dungeon idea for this show to distinguish it from the Lord of the Rings show... the Underdark is the ultimate dungeon.

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