Warner Bros. has had a long road to follow trying to get a Dungeons & Dragons movie off the ground. The film rights to the property were so complicated that it took a legal battle to start sorting everything out so Warner could start work on its film.
The project seems to be moving forward, even if it's taken longer than the studio wanted. Now it seems that the rumors were true and Goosebumps director Rob Letterman is on board to direct the film.
Variety reports that Letterman is now attached to the film, which follows rumors last month that he was being courted to direct. According to Variety's sources, a recent presentation by Letterman helped him to secure the job. He was long considered the frontrunner to direct, but studio execs wanted to see his vision for the Dungeons & Dragons franchise before making their final decision. Though he has not been officially announced as director, an offer to direct is said to be on the table.
Given that the studio wanted to see Letterman's vision, it's unknown whether the movie will be adapted to that vision or if it will remain focused on some version of the script that was originally commissioned for the project. Before the rights battle for Dungeons & Dragons began, a script for a film called Chainmail was made for Warner Bros (with Chainmail being the name of Gary Gygax' Dungeons & Dragons tabletop predecessor). That script remained attached to the film as the rights issue went to court, but may be adjusted or possibly even abandoned based on how well the studio likes Letterman's ideas.
Of course, it will take a lot for the new film to escape the shadow of the 2000 Dungeons & Dragons movie. It spawned two made-for-TV sequels (which was part of the reason for the court battle), and is largely regarded as a terrible film. Warner Bros. will likely focus a lot of its marketing on the action of the new film in an effort to convince both fans and general moviegoers that the new movie is more Guardians of the Galaxy meets Lord of the Rings and less Marlon Wayans and a random game show.
Only time will tell whether Warner Bros. can actually get the film off of the ground, as having a director attached doesn't necessarily mean that production won't stall out. With any luck, though, we'll have casting announcements coming through soon. On the plus side, at least Warner Bros. has other fantasy franchises to keep fans occupied until then.
We'll bring you more information about Dungeons & Dragons as it becomes available.