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

We now have some solid information. Garth at DarkHorizions is rarely wrong. I don't think there's any doubt it's moving forward.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/nightwing-helmer-joins-dungeons-dragons/
A TINY bit of solid information.
Chris McKay ... is in negotiations to direct
Which means he's as likely not to direct as he is to direct it.
The Tracking Board indicates the film is ‘years down the line
Which given the 2021 release date we already knew.

But thanks for the link, everything else is this thread is speculation and dreams.
 

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Henry

Autoexreginated
Which given the 2021 release date we already knew.

It looks like that part of the quote is referring to the Nightwing movie, because the next line talks about there being many other DC movies to come before the Nightwing movie, giving him time to tackle the D&D movie.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
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?

No one thought Iron Man was going to make IRON MAN money, either - until it did. :) but I agree that if they want a D&D movie to
be a success, it needs to be a great story, first, with compelling characters, and a genre film second. Had there been no Robert Downey, Jr. I doubt we’d have the Marvel Cinematic Universe, frankly - the perfect actor for the right story at the right time.
 

guachi

Hero
My biggest fear is they intentionally attempt to make the first movie be part of a series and because of that the movie ends up not being very good.

If they want to make the movie feel attached to the game they can always have it be Princess Bride-like where it's a father/mother relaying some epic story to the child. D&D isn't always serious anyway and it might give some connection to the game.

Or maybe the movie starts off with people playing D&D around a table and then it morphs to the movie. There are enough people who have seen a D&D Youtube video that it wouldn't be strange. Heck, Jumanji made $300+ million in the US on people acting out a game as if it were real.
 

I don't know if most D&D games are like mine, but there tends to be a high level of silliness, movie spoofs and plagerism in mine. But in a movie I would want to see something far more serious. It seems rather like trying to square a circle.

If I did have to make a D&D movie, I might consider adapting the Darkwalker on Moonshae novel. It's not actually very good, but it conforms to a good many "Young Adult" genre tropes - good looking late-teen protagonists with sexual tension, etc. Quite an achievement, since it pre-dates the invention of YA! It also has a fairly stereotypical adventuring party with recognisable classes.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I would write the movie with Princess Bride style: occasionally step out of the story to see the "real people" react to something.
The real people are just a set of friends (maybe college-age, maybe a few are older) spending the afternoon together and doing something fun.
edit: the "real people" are attending their high school class reunion, picking up episodes from the campaign they played in school back in the day. The movie ends when they have to go to the actual reunion.

The group might refer to famous movies also made by the same studio, to avoid copyright / royalty problems.
Ex: One 007 music-writer also had written for the stage version of Moulon Rouge and threw a riff from there into the Bond movie soundtrack.

I can SO see a Terminator reference if the BBEG has a Warforged enforcer-lieutenant.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No one thought Iron Man was going to make IRON MAN money, either - until it did. :) but I agree that if they want a D&D movie to
be a success, it needs to be a great story, first, with compelling characters, and a genre film second. Had there been no Robert Downey, Jr. I doubt we’d have the Marvel Cinematic Universe, frankly - the perfect actor for the right story at the right time.
DnD is vastly more niche than Iron Man, and Iron Man made the money it did because of the cast and the director, and the lucky fact that they didn't have a finished script, so it had to be largely improvised.

A DnD movie has to, first and above all, focus on telling a good story. Any thought of setting has to serve that. The Dragonlance Chronicles are the only set of DnD stories I know of that were widely popular even outside of gamers, but WoTC will have the only real numbers on that, and it may well be that a studio, writer, director, or combination thereof would rather create a world for the story to take place in, that has room for any kind of dnd story they want to tell.

If we had any reason to think that anything we'd heard before was going to remain the same, I'd say that Eberron is the best setting fit for a movie with the names we've heard attached and the tone they've said they want to go with, if they didn't go with DL for that classic Dragonlance story.

My biggest fear is they intentionally attempt to make the first movie be part of a series and because of that the movie ends up not being very good.

If they want to make the movie feel attached to the game they can always have it be Princess Bride-like where it's a father/mother relaying some epic story to the child. D&D isn't always serious anyway and it might give some connection to the game.

Or maybe the movie starts off with people playing D&D around a table and then it morphs to the movie. There are enough people who have seen a D&D Youtube video that it wouldn't be strange. Heck, Jumanji made $300+ million in the US on people acting out a game as if it were real.

That would just come across as a Jumanji ripoff, IMO. Also, Jumanji worked because of Robin Williams and incredible luck with the kid actors, and because of the weird juxtaposition of the game elements with the real world.

I can't think of anything I want from a DnD movie more fervently than for it to not do anything like any of that.
 

Iron Man was pretty well known in the USA, but almost unknown internationally until the movie. It was successful for one simple reason: it was good.

It doesn't really matter how they make a D&D movie, so long as they make it GOOD.
 

AriochQ

Adventurer
I'd say that Eberron is the best setting fit for a movie with the names we've heard attached and the tone they've said they want to go with, if they didn't go with DL for that classic Dragonlance story.


.

That would be an awful choice. As if D&D wasn't niche enough, you now set the movie into a niche within D&D.
 

Eberron would probably fly well with the Asian market, but my feeling is that 80s retro is popular at the moment, and it might be useful to try and tap into that vain of nostalgia. Eberron wasn't around in the 80s.
 

AriochQ

Adventurer
I think the safest route is to go with The Icewind Dale trilogy. It is a decent story and has distinctive characters (even if we all hate Drizzt). It also has enough material for sequels. On the downside, the story is somewhat generic and you would probably need to convert Drow into a dark grey complexion to avoid all drama around perceived racism.

A Jumanji/Joel Rosenberg/D&D cartoon type story with players who end up in their characters is another option. Personally, I would love to see an adaptation of Dream Park by Niven and Barnes. Not a true D&D movie, but it could have a broader appeal.
 

ART!

Legend
If I did have to make a D&D movie, I might consider adapting the Darkwalker on Moonshae novel. It's not actually very good, but it conforms to a good many "Young Adult" genre tropes - good looking late-teen protagonists with sexual tension, etc. Quite an achievement, since it pre-dates the invention of YA! It also has a fairly stereotypical adventuring party with recognisable classes.

I'm not familiar with it, but that sounds like a way to go that would be different for big, blockbuster action or action-comedies.

It's been 15 years since the LOTR movies and...I'm not sure the Hobbit movies count ;) but do they want the D&D movies to have that kind of tone? I doubt it. I imagine a lot more comedy, a much more straightforward or focused narrative, a bunch of characters thrown together who don't get along but have to work together in the 3rd act, and more romantic entanglements.

A DnD movie has to, first and above all, focus on telling a good story. Any thought of setting has to serve that. The Dragonlance Chronicles are the only set of DnD stories I know of that were widely popular even outside of gamers, but WoTC will have the only real numbers on that, and it may well be that a studio, writer, director, or combination thereof would rather create a world for the story to take place in, that has room for any kind of dnd story they want to tell.

That would just come across as a Jumanji ripoff, IMO. Also, Jumanji worked because of Robin Williams and incredible luck with the kid actors, and because of the weird juxtaposition of the game elements with the real world.

I think the reference was to to the new Jumanji movie, which is book-ended by sequences with the "real-world" characters, but most of the movie is those characters played by other actors when the characters get sucked into the game world and have the game-world's characters' bodies and abilities.

In terms of setting, I imagine they'll go with one of their established settings, standard fantasy settings. There's some name recognition there, fans will get excited, they have existing product they can promote, and they can make new products set in that setting that they already know really well.

I can see the advantages of making an all-new setting to make all-new products for, but that might be riskier. Hard to say.

[Eberron] would be an awful choice. As if D&D wasn't niche enough, you now set the movie into a niche within D&D.

I agree. Eberron is a genre mash-up, and I think that would confuse the brand in terms of establishing a movie franchise.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That would be an awful choice. As if D&D wasn't niche enough, you now set the movie into a niche within D&D.

The setting literally only matters for what tone and themes it provides. If they aren’t going with the Dragonlance Chronicles, the setting serves literally only that purpose, and Eberron is the best setting for hitting that tone they were talking about before the production moved to paramount. If paramount isn’t interested in that same idea, then setting only matters if, again, they have a specific type of story they want to tell.

How niche the setting is doesn’t matter. They could never mention the name of the world, and never use the name of the setting in marketing, and it would make absolutely no difference.

Eberron would probably fly well with the Asian market, but my feeling is that 80s retro is popular at the moment, and it might be useful to try and tap into that vain of nostalgia. Eberron wasn't around in the 80s.

Eh, broad 80’s nostalgia is only going to help in terms of people connecting DnD to the 80’s via either their own memories or stuff like Stranger Things, OR using a world that strongly resembles the cartoon. Dragonlance might hit that nerve, but I don’t know how well it sold when it was first printed. I know tons of people who came to dnd by way of the DL novels, or who read them all but never played dnd, but that’s anecdotal. It does have the benefit of Joe Mangenello being super hyped for it, for what hats worth.

IMO the options that makes sense are DL Chronicles, Eberron with a focus on a fun adventure story with noir notes and overall GoTG tone, or ignoring/making up the setting.
 

The setting does matter - most people will come to a D&D movie expecting to see a Genericfantasyland(TM) asthetic. That could range from GoT style grit to something more like the Hobbit, but it doesn't include steampunk and Final Fantasy (outside Asia) which is the what comes with Eberron.

In addition, Eberron was only promoted as the main D&D setting for a relatively short period: it might have some nostalgic pull for some who came to the game in the early naughties, but that is narrower than most other settings.

Dragonlance, Chrystal Shard (FR) or Moonshae (FR) seem like the best options to me.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That would be an awful choice. As if D&D wasn't niche enough, you now set the movie into a niche within D&D.

Eberron would probably fly well with the Asian market, but my feeling is that 80s retro is popular at the moment, and it might be useful to try and tap into that vain of nostalgia. Eberron wasn't around in the 80s.

The setting does matter - most people will come to a D&D movie expecting to see a Genericfantasyland(TM) asthetic. That could range from GoT style grit to something more like the Hobbit, but it doesn't include steampunk and Final Fantasy (outside Asia) which is the what comes with Eberron.

In addition, Eberron was only promoted as the main D&D setting for a relatively short period: it might have some nostalgic pull for some who came to the game in the early naughties, but that is narrower than most other settings.

Dragonlance, Chrystal Shard (FR) or Moonshae (FR) seem like the best options to me.

You guys keep bringing up the idea that it matters at all how big a setting was as a setting or any of that. It doesn’t. If the movie is a movie for dnd players, it will fail. Full stop.

The general audience isn’t going to know what “forgotten realms” or any other setting is, they’re going to get hooked by some imagery, tone, and who is in it.

If they want GoTG style tone, there is only 1 setting that even naturally has room for it.

Also, Eberron isn’t steampunk or final fantasy. At all.

But the movie won’t make a lot of money if it’s just LoTR or GoT all over again in a different world. GoT worked so well because it hit the right balance of familiar and new. Dragonlance Chronicles could do that if done well, but I don’t think any of the FR books could. A new story set in a world that is recognizably fantasy, but visually and thematically distinct, has a much better chance.
 

ART!

Legend
I know a lot of people who aren't into fantasy per se or D&D or gaming, but who read a lot and read quickly, and so have read a lot of the more popular lines of D&D novels (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms) because those books are imaginative, there's lots of them, and they have ongoing stories and characters.

So, my money's on them going with one of their existing, traditional, popular, pseudo-medieval fantasy settings. That said, creating a setting from scratch has its advantages. Not that D&D rpg sales will be their priority, but it would make for a whole new line of setting products for 5E and/or what comes after 5E.
 

AriochQ

Adventurer
You guys keep bringing up the idea that it matters at all how big a setting was as a setting or any of that. It doesn’t. If the movie is a movie for dnd players, it will fail. Full stop.

The general audience isn’t going to know what “forgotten realms” or any other setting is, they’re going to get hooked by some imagery, tone, and who is in it.

If they want GoTG style tone, there is only 1 setting that even naturally has room for it.

Also, Eberron isn’t steampunk or final fantasy. At all.

But the movie won’t make a lot of money if it’s just LoTR or GoT all over again in a different world. GoT worked so well because it hit the right balance of familiar and new. Dragonlance Chronicles could do that if done well, but I don’t think any of the FR books could. A new story set in a world that is recognizably fantasy, but visually and thematically distinct, has a much better chance.

I didn't say that at all. In fact I agree that it is the 'feel' of the setting that matters. Eberron is a niche setting without broad appeal.

Also, your interpretation of Eberron does not seem to be the general consensus, it clearly has steampunk elements. From Wikipedia "The inspiration for Eberron came when Keith Baker was working on VR-1's cancelled pulp MMORPG Lost Continents. Baker aimed to fuse the energy of pulp adventure and film noir settings to traditional fantasy settings and steampunk"
 

You guys keep bringing up the idea that it matters at all how big a setting was as a setting or any of that. It doesn’t. If the movie is a movie for dnd players, it will fail. Full stop.

The general audience isn’t going to know what “forgotten realms” or any other setting is, they’re going to get hooked by some imagery, tone, and who is in it.

If they want GoTG style tone, there is only 1 setting that even naturally has room for it.

Also, Eberron isn’t steampunk or final fantasy. At all.

But the movie won’t make a lot of money if it’s just LoTR or GoT all over again in a different world. GoT worked so well because it hit the right balance of familiar and new. Dragonlance Chronicles could do that if done well, but I don’t think any of the FR books could. A new story set in a world that is recognizably fantasy, but visually and thematically distinct, has a much better chance.

True D&D players aren't going to be the bulk of the audience - The bulk of the audience will be Game of Thrones and LotR movie people. Which is pretty much = Forgotten Realms with less magic.

As for Eberron, from Wikipeadia
Baker aimed to fuse the energy of pulp adventure and film noir settings to traditional fantasy settings[5] and steampunk.
and
non-traditional fantasy technologies such as trains, skyships, and mechanical beings which are all powered by magic.
- sounds like Final Fantasy 7 to me.

I suspect by GotG they where referring to the group dynamic, not dayglow spaceships. I don't think Eberron is required to tell a humorous story about a group of roguish misfits learning to work together. Indeed, Dragonlance already is that straight from the books. Besides, the team working on the movie has almost completely changed since they where talking about GotG.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Meh. Y’all have a borked idea of what Eberron is.

The idea that it’s more niche than FR makes me laugh, as well. Eberron is a bridge between traditional fantasy and fantastical spec fiction of other types. It’s a perfect fit for the sort of things that are popular.
 

ART!

Legend
Yeah, I've played in games set in Eberron, and it is decidedly, clearly not traditional fantasy at all...except in the sense that it has all or a lot of the traditional fantasy elements, but then a bunch of retro/sci-fi/steampunk elements as well. It has robots as a player race, for crying out loud.

It is also true that it might be just the thing to make a D&D movie stand out...
 

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