Strangely enough, during the COVID19 pandemic, people turned to a decades-old tabletop role-playing game in order to stay connected. Thanks to things like Critical Role and Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons has never been more popular. Hasbro, the parent company of D&D creator Wizards of the Coast, realizes this and plans to lean on that property as it tries to break through to live-action entertainment. During their most recent earnings call, executives at Hasbro talked about their plans to bring the world of Dungeons and Dragons to a live-action series and movie. These projects are still in early development, and we know little about what these projects would look like. It also begs the question if an eminently personalized game can make the transition to live-action entertainment.
For well over a decade, Hasbro knew that the current era of 1980s nostalgia would be good for their intellectual property. However, they’ve had middling success. The Transformers movie franchise is certainly successful but attempts to replicate that with GI Joe or My Little Pony. haven’t. Last year, Hasbro paid $3.8 billion to purchase Entertainment One, a Canadian media company, to help develop their projects. Yet, while their focus was on their big-name franchises, D&D surged in popularity. They have continued to put out new content, including Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything on Tuesday. Revenue for the brand is up some 20 percent. The new video game Baldur’s Gate III is another D&D property having a good month.
The Dungeons and Dragons Live-Action Movie and Series Imminent
Image via Wizards of the Coast
During the call, CEO Brian Goldner spoke about forthcoming Power Rangers projects and a theatrical film for My Little Pony. Yet, given the newfound popularity of the four-decade-old role-playing game, Hasbro wants to capitalize on it. The Critical Role animated series coming from Amazon began as a the most-funded creative Kickstarter of all time. They wanted to make one animated pilot but ended up with enough money for an entire season. Amazon doubled-down, meaning two full seasons of The Legend of Vox Machina are on the way. Still, for a show so steeped in Dungeons and Dragons, it’s not actually a part of that property. Thus, the Dungeons and Dragons live-action series and movie are a way to further put the game’s ame out into the culture.
As Goldner said, via SeekingAlpha.com:
“The team is busy working on Dungeons and Dragons live action feature film. They’re also working on a couple of different approaches, because there is so much mythology in Canon to – Dungeons and Dragons for live action television. And there’s been very strong interest. We’ve talked about how many global streamers and other terrestrial broadcasters have been very interested Dungeons and Dragons.”
The real question we have about the Dungeons and Dragons live-action series and movie is if it will resonate with fans. One of the most appealing things about D&D is how customizable it is. Dungeon Masters are encouraged to bend and twist rules in order to make their worlds unique to play in. Players develop their own characters with their own backstories. There aren’t really any standout characters in Dungeons and Dragons around which to build a live-action series or movie. So, the storytellers will not have to worry too much about world-building, but they instead need to focus on characters with recognizable features that appeal to D&D players.
What do you think about the plans for a Dungeons and Dragons live-action movie and series? What sort of stories do you want to see? What classes or races do you want brought to life? Use your reaction to roll a speculation check and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Wizards of the Coast
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.