The new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS movie to have a Guardians of the Galaxy tone

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And it’s going to be rated-R like Edge Deadpool and every now and again one of the main characters will break the fourth wall to clarify a rule. Hah! Got you! I’m kidding. I hope, because this sounds suspiciously like what Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn ranted about just the other day.

Movies based on the legendary role-playing pen-and-paper franchise haven’t exactly set the world on fire in the past. The first, 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons, was rubbish and the only things I remember about it are Jeremy Irons hamming it up to eleven as an evil wizard and a brain bleach-inducing performance by Marlon Wayans as a comedy-relief elf called Snails. Right. 2005’s semi-sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God was even worse, and 2012’s Dungeons & Dragons: Dawn of Justice The Book of Vile Darkness was… well that wasn’t that bad really – it was a rather fun fantasy B-movie.

However the movie franchise is now being rebooted, and at the recent D.I.C.E. Summit 2016 Dungeons & Dragons producer Roy Lee (The Ring, Bates Motel) spoke to Collider about his vision for the (potential) upcoming movie:

This new Dungeons & Dragons will be a Guardians of the Galaxy-tone movie in a Tolkien-like universe. Because when you think of all the Hobbit movies and The Lord of the Rings, they have an earnestness to them, and to see something fun, a Raiders romp inside that world, I feel is something the audience has not seen before.

If you ignore that we’ve all seen Guardians of the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones before. Okay that was a bit unfair of me – I do understand what he’s trying to say. He means we’re going to have a disparate group of adventurers brought together to save the world, lighter in overall tone, and set in a fantasy world. Which, unless you ended up with players who took the game very seriously, is basically what every D&D campaign was like when you played with friends. Now that I think about it, the last Dungeons & Dragons movie had a hint of that Guardians-style that Lee’s referencing.

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He’s also extremely optimistic that Warner Bros. will move quickly on the movie now (they’ve been developing the concept since 2013) as they see it as another potential franchise:

I think it will really be moving forward quickly, and I don’t anticipate it not getting green lit this year, mostly because Warner Bros. has DC now, and LEGO, and the Harry Potter universe that’s being cultivated as their franchises. I believe they see Dungeons & Dragons as something that could be cultivated as a multi-universe movie where there will be spin-offs from the first movie being in Forgotten Realms and subsequent movies being in different worlds.

And it could very easily as D&D has massive brand recognition, a large established fan base, and encompasses numerous worlds and settings that provide a large range for future projects. All provided this goes ahead, and doesn’t emulate its predecessors box office results.

The beauty of story telling in the D&D universe is that it can be anything you want it to be. The toys are all there – decades worth of lore, different worlds, characters and monsters – it’s how you play with them that defines your story – it can be heroic, horrific, tragic, dark, funny or any mix of themes you choose. There’s the epic fantasy we’re all familiar with, gothic horror, and sometimes it even touches on science fiction.

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A script has already been completed by David Leslie Johnson (Orphan) and Lee spoke about how the project won’t deviate too far from the source material we all know and love:

Everyone who’s involved with it now, especially the writer of the first draft is a fan from the very beginning starting with Chainmail, which turned into Dungeons & Dragons, so you’ll see things that are very faithful to the source material as well as new elements are being incorporated with help from Wizards of the Coast [D&D license owners], who are giving a lot of input on the script.

For the many that’ve played D&D over the years names like Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, Ravenloft and Planescape (among others) hold many treasured memories. So if you’re to learn anything from the success of Marvel comic book movies, it’s that you have an adult audience who grew up with D&D who’ll be thrilled to see the worlds of their imagination and dreams brought to life provided you do it justice; in the words of Yates (and because we’re a movie site Sean Bean in Equilibrium), “tread softly because you tread on my dreams”.

What do you think? Are you up for raiding the dragon’s hoard, or could it turn out more like a level one rogue hitting Nick a rust monster with his iron dagger?

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Last Updated: February 24, 2016

  • How dare you! Rolls D20 Trevor falls on own pun. Dead! Nah. I’m not sold on this idea. Sounds like cashing in, as you said.

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