D&D Movie/TV What's The Latest On The D&D Movie?

Last we heard about the D&D movie was that it was coming on July 23rd, 2021. That was back in December. Various outlets are now reporting that Chris McKay, who is currently working on the Nightwing movie, will be directing. Also, separately on 14th February, Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman posted a photo of themselves on a "secret mission" with actor Joe Manganellio, who at one point tweeted a photo of a Dragonlance script (Manganellio tweeted the same photo saying "With two of the architects of my childhood, the authors of the Dragonlance novels Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman").


weis_hickman_manganielo.jpg



We've heard so many little rumours over the past few years. Repeating from a previous article I wrote: in the past we heard that the movie would be produced by the Lego Movie's Roy Lee, that it would 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 Manganellio, 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!

I think it's safe to say we know nothing at all. But we can have fun connecting the dots to see if we can make a picture!
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Von Ether

Legend
I think it's safe to say we know nothing at all. But we can have fun connecting the dots to see if we can make a picture!

You, sir, win the internets today.

My unsolicited 2 cents: They need to position D&D as medium that has several franchises in it. As Marvel has done with it's separate heroes. Though at this point, saying the different movie franchises are unrelated maybe good way to avoid metaplot burn out. Start with a Waterdeep focused heist film in the Forgotten Realms, do a romance/rom-com in Dragonlance and then an action-adventure film in Eberron.

Then surprise the Holloween crowd with a one-night reveal and release of a Ravenloft horror flick.
 

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timbannock

Adventurer
I gotta agree with the thought that Dragonlance is better as a TV show (even if it's an "event" series that specifically is only mapped out for 3-5 seasons), while some of the other stuff works better as a movie. I still think Drizzt is best for a movie because he strikes me as more of an "action hero" sort that can't really carry an entire TV show well, but...I'm just rambling now ;-)
 

sstacks

Shane "Shane Plays" Stacks
I feel like there are two different D&D related movie projects that often get assumed as one project in development. There's the major studio production WotC is working with Hollywood on, and then there's a project Joe Manganellio is working hard to make happen.
 

Vanveen

Explorer
This looks like a giant steaming turd, especially if those hacks Weis and Hickman are within a country mile of it. Come ON.

Have they considered selling the property to Marvel/Disney? That might be a thing.
 


darjr

I crit!
I feel like there are two different D&D related movie projects that often get assumed as one project in development. There's the major studio production WotC is working with Hollywood on, and then there's a project Joe Manganellio is working hard to make happen.

The “other” movie is dead. Joes is what is left.
 

Concretedog

First Post
Check out the IDW D&D comics to see a great example of the “Guardians” feel. They’re great comics with a great team of characters. The adventuring party is the way they need to go. And the studios will probably create new characters they can own outright, so don’t hold your breath for a Drizz’t movie (as the first one, anyway.)
 

timbannock

Adventurer
Check out the IDW D&D comics to see a great example of the “Guardians” feel. They’re great comics with a great team of characters. The adventuring party is the way they need to go. And the studios will probably create new characters they can own outright, so don’t hold your breath for a Drizz’t movie (as the first one, anyway.)

Except for a couple anticlimactic scenes, the IDW comics have been stellar. Jim Zub really gets how to make it feel like a game of D&D: ridiculous anachronisms, one of the leads being a joke character modeled after the tick while most of the other characters are played by people who take the game *mostly* seriously, big events that a DM cooks up but the players just kind of run roughshod on...yet there's no element that breaks the wall suggesting there are players. I dunno how he does it so consistently, but it's just a really fun read.

(FYI, interspersing that series with the Rat Queens comics is like reading the best campaign world I'd ever want to run/play in.)
 

Oofta

Legend
Except for a couple anticlimactic scenes, the IDW comics have been stellar. Jim Zub really gets how to make it feel like a game of D&D: ridiculous anachronisms, one of the leads being a joke character modeled after the tick while most of the other characters are played by people who take the game *mostly* seriously, big events that a DM cooks up but the players just kind of run roughshod on...yet there's no element that breaks the wall suggesting there are players. I dunno how he does it so consistently, but it's just a really fun read.

(FYI, interspersing that series with the Rat Queens comics is like reading the best campaign world I'd ever want to run/play in.)

I assume you're talking about Minsc and his miniature giant space hamster Boo? He's not based on The Tick, he's based on the character in the old Baldur's Gate video games. The lead developer of the game came up with Minsc based on one of his player's character in a home campaign.

But be careful about calling Minsc a joke character - Boo may go for your eyes!
 

I'm psyched to see Chris McKay lining up to direct. I though Batman Lego was awesome and I'm usually one to get all grumpy and curmudgeonly about the Ritalin-rapid-fire, hip-reference-dripping, movie-star-voiced crap that passes for most animation these days. Now if we could just get Will Arnett (the perfect Paladin), Michael Cera (awkward Rogue) and Ralph Fiennes (absent minded but channeling Voldemort just enough at key moments Wizard) to join in...
 

DarkplaneDM

Villager
I just wish we could discuss the movie as an adaptation of an actual story, rather than adapting a ruleset, which makes no sense to me. I’d be fine with a Dragonlance movie, a Ravenloft movie, hell even a Forgotten Realms movie. But when it’s D&D: The Movie! I have a hard time feeling invested because that means almost nothing. I hardly think D&D is even a genre, let alone a story that can be adapted.
 

Oofta

Legend
I just wish we could discuss the movie as an adaptation of an actual story, rather than adapting a ruleset, which makes no sense to me. I’d be fine with a Dragonlance movie, a Ravenloft movie, hell even a Forgotten Realms movie. But when it’s D&D: The Movie! I have a hard time feeling invested because that means almost nothing. I hardly think D&D is even a genre, let alone a story that can be adapted.

I think there are some aspects of the way the world works that sets it apart from other fantasy settings. A D&D movie for example would have a very different feel than anything set in the Harry Potter universe even if Harry Potter were set in a pseudo-medieval world. Throw in some iconic D&D monsters more than just Tolkien-esque goblins/orcs/dragons and it could be a lot of fun. I don't think they need to get too caught up in details, but don't throw stupid stuff like "magic dust" and I'd call it good.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
And then they sell a million movie tickets, maybe, to the people who care enough/know enough about Eberron to go see a movie set there at $12-15 per ticket, grossing maybe a tenth of what the movie will probably cost to make. The more game-focused and niche the film gets, the more of a failure it will be.

Nothing about the movie that actually gets made will be niche. They will go with whatever has the broadest appeal to the casual, gaming-playing, movie-going public. If they are smart, they will not even include the words Dungeons and Dragons anywhere in the title, so that it can appeal to casual fans of fantasy who do not game at all and maybe only recognize the words from their use in some TV show like Big Bang Theory. This is why I do not think the story should even be set in the Realms. If the scriptwriters invent a whole new world for the film, I am fine with that.

Lol every setting is incredibly niche. The point is to not try selling it on the basis of being set in X world.

No one thinks that a Drizzt movie is going to make Iron Man money because it’s got Drizzt in it, right?
 

timbannock

Adventurer
I assume you're talking about Minsc and his miniature giant space hamster Boo? He's not based on The Tick, he's based on the character in the old Baldur's Gate video games. The lead developer of the game came up with Minsc based on one of his player's character in a home campaign.

But be careful about calling Minsc a joke character - Boo may go for your eyes!

I know Minsc's origins, but that doesnt' mean he's not clearly using Tick-like quotes stemming back from the early 90's. He acts like The Tick, talks like The Tick...

He's a duck, is what I'm saying. ;-P
 

I just wish we could discuss the movie as an adaptation of an actual story, rather than adapting a ruleset, which makes no sense to me. I’d be fine with a Dragonlance movie, a Ravenloft movie, hell even a Forgotten Realms movie. But when it’s D&D: The Movie! I have a hard time feeling invested because that means almost nothing. I hardly think D&D is even a genre, let alone a story that can be adapted.

Most people have heard of D&D. A vast subset of those people have heard of Dragonlance. Even fewer, Ravenloft or Forgotten Realms. So if you're a producer trying to get money for a movie, what do you think is going to sell to the studios? Or to the viewing public? It's D&D that has some cultural resonance with the kids these days, or at least that's what your Facebook feed tells you, not some obscure setting. Will one or more of those settings, or elements thereof, make an appearance in the movie? Sure they will, for fan service and to grow the brand.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Most people have heard of D&D. A vast subset of those people have heard of Dragonlance. Even fewer, Ravenloft or Forgotten Realms. So if you're a producer trying to get money for a movie, what do you think is going to sell to the studios? Or to the viewing public? It's D&D that has some cultural resonance with the kids these days, or at least that's what your Facebook feed tells you, not some obscure setting. Will one or more of those settings, or elements thereof, make an appearance in the movie? Sure they will, for fan service and to grow the brand.

It’s a myth that you can only make movies out of well known brands. Had anybody heard of Star Wars before... well, Star Wars? Iron Man and Black Panther were not well known until they got the movie treatment. The book The Godfather was pretty obscure, but the movie is often held as one of the best ever made.

A months’ publicity campaign of a movie studio can dwarf 40 years of branding work by a tabletop gaming company. Just gotta market it well.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Most people have heard of D&D. A vast subset of those people have heard of Dragonlance. Even fewer, Ravenloft or Forgotten Realms. So if you're a producer trying to get money for a movie, what do you think is going to sell to the studios? Or to the viewing public? It's D&D that has some cultural resonance with the kids these days, or at least that's what your Facebook feed tells you, not some obscure setting. Will one or more of those settings, or elements thereof, make an appearance in the movie? Sure they will, for fan service and to grow the brand.

Notoriety isn't always a boon. Sure, people have heard of D&D. If you're trying to get money for a D&D movie, that notoriety may work against you as much or more than it works for you. Especially since the property already has movies associated with it that are just . . . well . . . yeah.
 

It’s a myth that you can only make movies out of well known brands. Had anybody heard of Star Wars before... well, Star Wars? Iron Man and Black Panther were not well known until they got the movie treatment. The book The Godfather was pretty obscure, but the movie is often held as one of the best ever made.

A months’ publicity campaign of a movie studio can dwarf 40 years of branding work by a tabletop gaming company. Just gotta market it well.

I agree. However at this point the D&D brand is the basis of the movie - that's what you see when there's an announcement about ... the D&D movie. Much like the stories and characters of the Marvel Universe have been known by fans for decades but are just now being unwrapped by the general viewing public, the same might happen for D&D and whatever specific setting, storyline and/or characters might be in the film.
 

Concretedog

First Post
The new 5e adventures have lots of material that could make a great movie. A dragon cult trying to bring about the apocalypse and release an ancient evil. People who’ve never seen a D20 can still have their minds blown by a rampaging five headed dragon.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
What's The Latest On The D&D Movie?

I agree. However at this point the D&D brand is the basis of the movie - that's what you see when there's an announcement about ... the D&D movie. Much like the stories and characters of the Marvel Universe have been known by fans for decades but are just now being unwrapped by the general viewing public, the same might happen for D&D and whatever specific setting, storyline and/or characters might be in the film.

They’re not announcements though. They’re reports from industry sources about ongoing my negotiations. There isn’t a movie yet. Nobody’s started marketing anything yet. When they do, we’ll see what the brand is.

Probably it’ll be a reboot of and marketing campaign around the D&D brand. But it doesn’t have to be. That brand isn’t - sans marketing - likely to be any more successful than Dragonlance, or Jangleberries.

Hollywood will make the brand (or fail to). It an as easily make a brand of Jangleberries as it can D&D.
 

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