Look Into the Upcoming Film & History of D&D
The popular fantasy game for fans old and young is getting a brand new theatrical film upcoming in March 2023. Honor Among Thieves will feature several major actors from Chris Pine to Michelle Rodriguez playing adventurers in a classic D&D setup. This movie would be the fourth cinematic installment and the beginning of a remake series after the original Dungeons & Dragons films from 2000 to 2012.
Honor Among Thieves will be the second theatrical release since the first movie, instead of being a Sci-fi channel release like the previous sequel films. The film features many aspects of the tabletop series it’s based on, from the creatures encountered to the style and personalities of the characters. Dungeons & Dragons has become one of the most popular tabletop games in the world for the last 30 years and has been the starting point for illustrative artists and storytellers.
What We Know Will be Featured
From the trailers shown for the film, there are six main characters based on the races and classes players can choose in the tabletop game. The bard, named Edgin, is portrayed by Chris Pine, Holga the Barbarian is played by Michelle Rodriguez, and Hugh Grant is the rogue Forge Fitzwilliam. Joining their adventure is the paladin portrayed by Regé-Jean Page, known for his popular role in Bridgerton. The final two characters are the young druid tiefling Doric and Simon the elf sorcerer.
The story is built around the known lore of the D&D world and will follow this party of characters as they hope to steal a certain magical item being used by a dangerous wizard who wants to be an overlord. They will encounter many beasts from the bestiary, from a black dragon to owl bears.
The Gaming Origins
Dungeons & Dragons was released in 1974 and is one of the first major role playing games that takes many popular tropes from fantasy stories and transforms them into enriching, immersive experiences for players and game masters. The game master generally organizes the gender, race, class, and moral alignment of each original character. They place them together as a party in a scenario, mostly in a dungeon for a simulated adventure.
The concepts introduced in the tabletop games have been the starting point for many fantasy stories and many of its sub-genres. The success of Dungeons & Dragons has also made its way into video games, with one of the older RPGs being the Final Fantasy series by Square. There is also Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, and Bioware’s Dragon Age, all of them have role playing and character creation inspired by the success of Dungeons & Dragons.
There are also several series of video games directly based in the setting in the tabletop world from Baldur’s Gate to Neverwinter Nights. These two series of games are some of the bigger franchises that take elements, creatures, and characters from D&D and adapt them for consoles throughout the different editions made.
Novels Based & Inspired by Dungeons & Dragons
The creative freedom and possibilities in the world setting of Dungeons & Dragons has created many stories in and around it. Whether it’s based in the world or inspired by it, there have been several book series throughout the years. A popular series is Dragonlance, a shared universe that started in 1984 and was treated as a continuation of different stories set in the fictional world Krynn, around the regions of Ansalon. This world has a rich depth of history, lore, and geography that builds the stories for many of the characters in the story.
Other stories based in the settings of Dungeons & Dragons include Mystara, Dark Sun, and Ravenloft. Each of them grew in popularity enough to have their own centric stylized manual for their worlds, the creatable characters, and creatures encountered. Through the creation of these novels multiple artists and writers came together to create their own stories, such as Nigel Findley, Lynn Abbey, and James Wyatt. Dungeons & Dragons has become a gateway to many would-be writers of high fantasy, swords, sorcery, and heroic fiction.
There are even writers outside Dungeons & Dragons that take inspiration from the rules and basic setting for their own unique take on the fantasy genre. In Japan, there are many fantasy light novels and manga adapted into anime that are similar by having adventures, parties, and character archetypes made popular by D&D. One of the more obvious examples is Goblin Slayer, written by Kumo Kagyu, that takes many references from D&D including spell rules and the concept of dice rolls.
The Many Films Based in the Dungeons & Dragons Universe
Dungeons & Dragons became popular due to its ability to give players and DMs their own scenarios and cinematic moments made popular by works such as Conan the Barbarian and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Funny enough, it also becomes a template for making original films inspired by the creative freedom made available by Dungeons & Dragons. Many films in fantasy were originally concepts from a scenario in the game, for example Witch Hunter featuring Vin Diesel.
D&D’s movie series started in 2000 and had two sequels made for Sci-fi. The original film takes place in the kingdom of Izmir. A young empress is trying to make peace while an evil wizard – famously portrayed by Jeremy Irons – conspires to take over the kingdom. A young thieving hero plays the role of protagonist to go on an adventure and find a dangerous weapon that can help the wizard control terrifying dragons. When the movie released it didn’t get a decent reception due to the odd plotlines, unorthodox characters, and very dated CGI effects. It also didn’t follow a conventional D&D experience.
In the sequel, Wrath of the Dragon God, a party of adventurers, each one representing different races and classes from the games, pursue the villainous Damodar before he could unleash a fearsome dragon against the kingdom of Izmir. As a direct-to-DVD film, the effects, costumes, and sets are very miniscule in quality. Despite that, both this film and the next installment, The Book of Vile Darkness, are praised for sticking close to the basic setup of D&D by featuring a party of unique, closely knit character archetypes.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a remake to the cinematic series of D&D films and will connect to a span of spin offs as well as other connected media to get fans interested in this new storyline. The movie is the second in the series to get a theatrical release. At this point, there are tons of engaging D&D material that will build on the excitement for this film’s release.
One film to watch to get an idea on what Dungeons & Dragons is about is the documentary, Eye of the Beholder, which focuses on the art of D&D. Another recommendation is the adult animated series The Legend of Vox Machina, based on the D&D campaigns set in the world of Critical Role. This show is very much a comical and affectionate parody of the atypical Dungeons & Dragons experience. Both the show and series are available to watch on Amazon Prime. Recent updates reveal that some characters from the show will cameo in the upcoming D&D film and will bring even more excitement to this anticipated release.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023) Official Paramount Pictures Trailer
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