Pick up your sword with one hand and get your polyhedral dice ready in the other, because it looks like Warner Bros is planning to invest in the noble tradition of dungeon-delving, as one of the many planned projects slated for development over the next few years.
It’s been reported that Warner Bros has acquired the rights to a movie adaptation of the long-standing popular tabletop RPG game Dungeons and Dragons. Roy Lee (The Lego Movie) and Courtney Solomon (who directed the 2000 adaptation of Dungeons and Dragons) are both attached as producers.
Deadline has revealed that Warner Bros hasn’t just optioned a Dungeons and Dragons movie, but is actively pushing it into development. The script that they will be working from, Chainmail, is based on a little-known fantasy game authored by one of the original creators, Gary Gygax, before he and David Arneson properly launched Dungeons and Dragons. Now that the rights have been acquired, Chainmail will undergo rewrites in order to make it fit within the larger Dungeons and Dragons universe.
The best-known Dungeons and Dragons adaptation so far is the infamously terrible 2000 movie, which featured Jeremy Irons as villain Profion, and Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans as the two underdog heroes. Dungeons and Dragons was a box office flop that remains just bad enough to be entertaining (who doesn’t love watching Irons chew the scenery?), but despite the two other movies that have been made since then, the property has never really taken off as a film franchise.
However, thanks to the popularity of Game of Thrones and Tolkien’s return to the big screen in Peter Jackson’s ongoing Hobbit trilogy, the average moviegoer is relatively open to swords-and-sorcery fantasy movies, which may be why Warner Bros has decided to invest in Dungeons and Dragons and is pushing to get it made before the current cultural trends move on.
Before fans of the game get too excited about this reboot, however, you should know that the script for Chainmail was written by David Leslie Johnson, whose best-known works so far are the 2011 fairy tale romance Red Riding Hood and last year’s Wrath of the Titans. Johnson also wrote The Walking Dead episodes “Chupacabra” and “Triggerfinger“, as well as evil-child horror film Orphan, and there are some who would argue that he’s a perfectly capable screenwriter. With a reboot this risky, though, “capable” probably may not cut it when it comes to appeasing anxious fans.
With the right Dungeon Master at the helm, the Warner Bros. reboot could be the movie that Dungeons and Dragons players have been waiting for. Until we find out more, though, it’s probably best to temper your excitement.