As you might recall, there was Dungeons & Dragons movie released back in 2000, starring Thora Birch, Jeremy Irons, and Marlon Wayans, but it was widely derided by audiences and critics alike. It was a followed by a number of low budget direct-to-video titles, like 2005’s Wrath of the Dragon God, that were poorly received, as well.
But as Dungeons & Dragons experienced a cultural renaissance in recent years, thanks in part to the game’s popular Fifth Edition as well as its inclusion in Stranger Things, it was only a matter of when, not if, Hollywood would ever get around to making a new — and hopefully better — Dungeons & Dragons movie.
Which brings us to Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which was officially unveiled at this week’s San Diego Comic-Con. The movie, which was written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, follows a group of thieves as they seek to atone for their actions and prevent a powerful artifact from unleashing a horrible evil upon the Forgotten Realms.
Rest assured that countless nerds have been breaking down the trailer and finding all of the game references and easter eggs. Numerous beasts from the Monster Manual show up, including displacer beasts, gelatinous cubes, and mimics. One of the characters is a tiefling druid, and at one point in the trailer, wild shapes into an owlbear. (Not surprisingly, nerds have already pointed out how that’s in violation of current D&D rules.) There are black and red dragons, a stone golem or two, and it looks like one of the movie’s big bads is a Red Wizard from Thay.
I think Dicebreaker’s Chase Carter is on to something when he says the trailer gives off a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe: “[A] crew of unwilling underdogs face off against a foe that far outclasses them and spend the runtime sniping at each other and making sarcastic remarks about whatever is happening.” More:
This trailer wanted to capture its two core audiences — D&D players who will come to see how accurate the film can adhere to the hodge podge of high fantasy tropes that is the tabletop RPG’s backbone, and blockbuster movie fans who simply love to watch Hollywood smirkboys travel towards CGI cityscapes while 80s rock anthems play in the background. Perhaps the script, written by Michael Gilio and co-directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, isn’t being presented in the best light here, but it feels like an obvious nudge and wink to [each] very specific crowd.
Based on the trailer, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves definitely looks and feels very silly, almost like the flip side to Amazon’s Lord of the Rings and Netflix’s Witcher. Personally, I think I want a D&D movie to lean more into lighthearted camp, and there are worse films to emulate than Guardians of the Galaxy. (Maybe there will even be a Chris Pine dance-off.) And if playing fast and loose with D&D rules as written means that the film is a bit zanier and more chaotic — like every D&D campaign ever — then that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will arrive in theaters on March 2023.