‘Dungeons and Dragons’ Movie Rights Acquired By Warner Bros

Published 2 years ago by

Damodar AKA Blue Lips in Dungeons and Dragons Dungeons and Dragons Movie Rights Acquired By Warner Bros

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.

Dungeons and Dragons cover art Dungeons and Dragons Movie Rights Acquired By Warner Bros

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.


Source: Deadline

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  1. Yes! I have been saying this for a long time! If they do this like the Lord Of the Rings than we can have cool back stories and awesome fighting scenes. This is awesome!

    • They will not do this like LOTR…

      • Warner Bros. was involved with the making the LOTR. It is logical to assume that they know what they are doing and will use this new tool to their advantage. Dungeon and Dragons is a game I love to play and what I love about it is that it has and unlimited amount of possibilities. If this is done right then we will have good characters and story lines. Once they do this we can also have more movies than the LOTR because we are not limited to the books.

        • Agree Writer, as I used to play when I was younger and there is plenty of source material for numerous movies.

          I’d love LOTR epicness in a D&D movie. However I cannot see WB throwing the amount of money at a D&D franchise as thas been given to Peter Jackson for the LOTR & Hobbitt movies.

          • Your right about the money part but even if it has the budget of one of the Narnia films it will do good. Let’s face it if you mess up D&D then you shouldn’t be aloud to even have a video camera. WB isn’t always the smartest but if they bought this than they already have plans for it. I think (hope) they realize that The Hobbit is huge and when the trilogy ends they will be back on square one. This is their best hope if they want to rival Disney/MARVEl.

          • I don’t know if I really expect LOTR epicness out of a D&D movie. I think I’d rather just have a fun fantasy adventure. Although it could be kinda cool if they made a series that progresses the same way D&D campaigns do, like in the first movie they’re just trying to get through one dungeon and by the last they’re battling gods.

        • D&D has infinite possibilities, yes, but then we are talking about a Hollywood studio and scriptwriter here. They are business-oriented, which means they will tend to make something formulaic and “safe” for the general soda-swilling, popcorn-gobbling, stupid masses. It will have bad comic relief à la Gimli, Merry and Pippin, who were respectable characters in the Lord of the Rings story before Hollywood got their clutches on them. They will feature unmemorable lead actors and bland characters, as well as copy and paste story arcs and plots, as seen in the rebooted Conan and so many other travesties being passed off as blockbuster films.

          Rest assured that without good talent, this film will be bad. You can also be fairly certain that the film will lack that needed talent, based on everything that has come along to date and on the realities I have described above. Sadly, they could probably hire a person like R. A. Salvatore, or even a no-name enthusiastic dungeon master somewhere, anywhere, in the great state of California to give them a script that would actually be decent and enjoyable to any fan of sword & magic fantasy. They could, but they will not. They never do.

          It would be far better for us all if no one entity had “rights” to making movies based on Dungeons and Dragons! Then independent film makers could produce quality films at their leisure. Having a large corporate studio holding these rights creates the threat of legal action, however, and so creative potential shall remain stifled and unrealized.

  2. Anyone who had anything to do with the god-awful 2000 movie should be kept as far away from this as possible!

    • Indeed, that entire D&D universe would make for fantastic film experiences, whether they involve Salvatore’s characters and stories or others in that setting, such as Richard Lee Byers’ novels, and even the Neverwinter games. That campaign is a rich and enjoyable one with very many possibilities in the right hands. I for one would love to see Byers’ novels about Szass Tam and his army of undead conquering Thay adapted to film (the setting and characters, at least), as well as those of R. A. Salvatore, of course. These could all be great with a Hollywood budget but a NON-Hollywood writer and cast. Perhaps if the people who made the ORIGINAL CONAN MOVIE were brought in, something good might yet come of the idea.

  3. It’s written by the same guy that did Wrath of the Titans? Man that was a boring movie. I guess the studio is trying to play it safe. I kinda wish they’d go with someone riskier. So-bad-it’s-good (i.e., the first D&D movie) is better than bland.

  4. Orphan was awesome… Although it could have just been Isabelle Fuhrman’s amazing performance though…

  5. I know nothing about D and D but i think cinema needs more fantasy adventures

  6. I… do not know… how… I can feel… about this…

    What campaign setting? Greyhawk? Based off of what edition [because that matters, thanks 4e]? Possibly 1st? And the original script “will undergo rewrites in order to make it fit within the larger Dungeons and Dragons universe.” So… they could hack it to pieces? They won’t even ask WotC to pitch a few campaign relevant and fan expected ideas?

    So many questions.

    My wisdom mod isn’t high enough to figure this out on my own…

    • here, you an borrow my Hackmaster bobble that gives you +5 to any and every role :)

      Yes, the variables can be a bit overwhelming with so many unanswered questions.

      The only initial bright spot we have to work with is this was picked up by WB who have a better chance of treating the source material with the sincerity and justice that the previous attempts.

      I did think however that the second installment; Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God was a pretty decent show. They attempted to treat the characters and material with real respect and use material from the actual game universe (like finding a true seeing stone, traps, using real D&D creatures, magic, why you need a good thief, etc).

      Not saying it was a 10 out of 10 but entertaining to watch unlike the first movie.

  7. The problem with the premise “people will like a DnD movie because they love the Hobbit and Game of Thrones” is this: Source Material. Nothing in DnD lore was designed to be great literature. Even Forgotten Realms books were a game system more than they were books. Drizzt became popular among the fandom, but overall his story is pretty impossible to distill into a movie.

    All of these movies we hear about and the ones that have gotten made, were a property first and a script last. I have serious doubts they’ll really manage to get a stellar script that will draw top notch funding.

    • I have to disagree a little. D&D was designed to be an RPG (Role Playing Game) which means that it was basically designed to be an act. The reason D&D has survived this long is because people can create a history for their own unique character. I think history is everything when it comes to fantasy movies like these. My bottom line is that D&D was kind of designed to be a (optional) script and could make a good movie if of course taken seriously and without blue lipstick.

    • The Original Dragonlance Chronicles and Twins series would be money in the bank.

      If treated like LOTR has been.


  8. “I’m DAMADAR!”

  9. I just hope they pick a good storyline. I’m a huge Salvatore fan so I’m hoping for a Forgotten Realms story about Drizzt Do’Urden. Great characters, quality cinematography, sound script and FX and I think it’ll be a winner. The big mistake would be to make with intention of pleasing only RP fans, but rather to broaden it to the general public.

    • I would love to see Drizzt and the gang (Wulfgar, Kattie Brie, Bruenor etc) The tales of R.A Salvatore are amazing I’ve re-read those 4-5 times each. And the character development in them is phenomenal

    • OMH, please no.

      I loved the cartoon, don’t get me wrong but that just wouldn’t work today. It’s a bit too straight forward in its premise (kids fall into a magical world batting good vs evil and trying to get home) and is way too dumbed down and censored (a Cavalier w/o a sword just because it would be too violent? please)

      • You raise an interesting point – though I still hold out a small hope of seeing Venger and Tiamat on the big screen, that would be awesome!

      • @mongoose, I agree, but I do agree with mariokilledpeach also. Cameos or references to DUNGEON MASTER, Venger, and or Tiamat would be awesome.

    • NICE!

  10. They should give up now. The only story that would possibly work would be the campaign I am currently running.

    The epic not so buddy adventure of a Teifling rouge/thief, Aasimar cleric and a lumbering human warrior. Hilarity ensues.

    So far WB has not contacted me for the rights to this story. And I will not accept anything less for a D&D movie.

    *Sarcasm (If you couldn’t guess)

  11. Hmmm…wonder what ruleset they will use for the movie? 3.5? 4e? D&Dnext?

    • LMAO!

  12. I would love to see Dragonlance movies. That is what they should base it off of: the original two trilogies of books.

  13. Maybe this could work if they take the setting from the Forgotten Realms. That’s probably the most widely known and accepted setting for PnP enthusiasts and casual people alike.
    Of course, this whole deal would still require a whole lot of properly done exposition. Nothing is worse than a movie that builds up on a certain lore but never really taps into that at any point.

    So far, we had more than enough examples for how this should NOT be handled.

  14. The problem with this is that Hollywood writers think they are smarter tha those who created D&D and they will CHANGE everything about the source material, and then wonder why no one likes tall dwarfs, or put MARLON WAYONS in the movie to give is comic relief.

  15. Vin Diesel, anyone?

  16. I am of the the same thoughts as Manowar and others above, that the Forgotten Realms setting (which, coincidentally, is the setting being used for the current D&D mmorpg in open beta right now), is the go-to material with Drizzt being a key figure. Gathered information regarding this character has shown that he, and drow elves in general, increase sales on any book/item cover with his picture on it (something like at least 30% increase in sales).

    From a marketing standpoint alone, the crossover importance with the mmo makes sense.

  17. God! I want this to succeed so bad. I think if they just drop the Dungeons & Dragons Title from the movie it might do good. Also, don’t over power the movie with D&D game references, that’s horrible. If anything they should make a movie based on the Forgotten Realms novels or characters. Imagine a movie about Drizzt, that would be sick!

  18. People keep pointing to the LOTR movies as a gauge on what can be done with this kind of material, which is a logical comparison to draw. The problem is that if most movies were approached correctly and done with some care they could be good to high quality, the fact is though that movies like the LOTR are the exception with this type of material and not the rule.

  19. Best and only hope for this movie is to appeal to a wide audience with a good story line. That being said Homeland! Ow please base this of homeland. By far the most attention grabbing storyline ever put out by D&D.