Dungeons & Dragons has never been more popular than in the last couple of years: enjoying newfound popularity thanks to appearances in Community and Stranger Things, as well as a new rules system.
And now progress on a D&D film has been moving along, with Michelle Rodriguez and Justice Smith joining Chris Pine in the upcoming live-action project.
Wizards of the Coast has been working on developing D&D for film and television projects for a couple of years. Back in 2017, Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks spoke with Rolling Stone’s Glixel about how he was bringing the company’s various properties to other mediums, such as video games, movies, and television shows. “We are looking at TV series or movie deals as well as more web-based content and actively pursuing a larger slate of video games for D&D,” he said, noting that D&D has an enormous history and lore behind it.
In 2017, Paramount announced a D&D film, which it set for a 2021 release date, and in 2019, tapped Spider-man: Homecoming and Game Night directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley to direct. When COVID-19 messed up all of Hollywood’s productions, Paramount opted to push the film from its November 19th release date to May 27th, 2022, along with a bunch of other projects.
Goldstein and Daley told The Hollywood Reporter that they had just been about to begin work on location scouting in Europe when the pandemic arrived, forcing them to work remotely as they hammered out another draft of their screenplay. They noted that they wanted the film to be “fun,” and that it wasn’t “an out and out comedy, but it is an action-fantasy movie with a lot of comedic elements and characters we hope people will really get into and enjoy watching their adventures.”
Since then, there’s been a bunch of developments on the project: Chris Pine (Star Trek, Wonder Woman 1984) was in negotiations in December to sign on as a lead for the film. Now, it looks as though he’ll be joined by Rodriguez (The Fate of the Furious) and Smith (Detective Pikachu), although it’s not clear what roles they’ll play in the project, or what the story will be about, other than that the film will take a “subversive approach to the game.”
The film isn’t the only project in the works for the franchise: last month, word broke that John Wick writer and creator Derek Kolstad is writing a television series based on the game. Wizards is also moving ahead with a return to its popular Dragonlance book series, with a new trilogy to be authored by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman later this year.