|Art by Larry Elmore|
So is Hollywood - Game of Thrones writer David Benioff loved D&D growing up, and Vin Diesel used to play games fueled by pints of coffee ice cream and describes the game as "a training ground for your imagination."
The last D&D movie was a big disappointment because it was so campy. The tone was just goofy. To players of D&D, we lost another chance for the mainstream to take the game seriously. To the mainstream, it made D&D look like a silly game for teens.
Hopefully they use Larry Elmore as an artistic consultant. His art has been used for D&D since the beginning and he is just amazing.
There's a great D&D podcast called Critical Hit that's been going on for years, and the folks over there really know how to use the game world in a captivating and engrossing way. Maybe the writers of this new film can take a listen? Probably too much to ask.
Scrolling through the comments on Deadline.com there's the classic amount of haterism about the project; mostly pointing to past adaptations that have flopped and the "difficulty" of using a world that's so wide-open and doesn't have any specific characters. Those are somewhat valid points, but I think the fact is that this is a great time to give D&D another chance.
The fact that the D&D world is so vast and open is actually an upside; provided you get a writer who is REALLY imaginative and takes the time to create a lot of depth. I'm talking countries, families, factions - look to great TV like The Borgias and Boardwalk Empire for examples of this.
The last D&D movie had no depth at all. It was pretty much just set in one dungeon, which is a sadly literal way to interpret the brand. Yes, you can even take it Sci-Fi if you want - there's support for planetary and interplanar travel in the D&D rules. I personally don't think that's needed, but if Hollywood wants that, it's there.
As a writer, this adaptation is a DREAM PROJECT! Precisely because it is so open - you can create all the characters! My mind swirls with the possibilities. As far as business goes, I suppose a lesson here is to write specs that you believe in, as apparently the recent spec Chainmail led to this deal. Also, I should probably just keep writing so I get noticed and then these types of dream deals might actually be a possibility.
The world of Dungeons & Dragons is a rich universe containing a multitude of separate "worlds" such as Dragonlance and the Forgotten Realms, each as genuinely captivating as genre stalwarts Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I hope they give D&D the same serious treatment, and maybe even create a respected franchise from it.
(p.s. yes I have a D&D spec that I have been writing with a fresh take on combining the real world and the D&D world... but I really shouldn't say too much more about it.)
What do you think of the D&D reboot news?