The First 'Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves' Trailer is Totally Batsh*t

·5 min read

Think being the bestselling role-playing game of all time entitles you to a halfway decent on-screen adaptation? Think again. Despite its ubiquity in popular culture, Dungeons & Dragons has flopped on both the big screen and the small screen, with the 2000 feature film starring Jeremy Irons and Marlon Wayans taking the most relentless drubbing of them all. As Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "Imagine a kingdom that looks half the time like a towering fantasy world of spires and turrets, castles and drawbridges—and the other half like everyone is standing around in the wooded area behind Sam's Club on the interstate." Its sequel was a made-for-TV movie, while the threequel was a direct-to-video release—those too were critical and commercial failures.

But Dungeons & Dragons’ luck may be about to change. After a lengthy battle over the intellectual property rights, a new feature film has landed at Paramount Pictures.. At long last, the stars have finally aligned for this beloved game’s second life on screen. Thanks to the film's major presence (which included a pop-up tavern that Esquire absolutely went to) at San Diego Comic-Con, we know much more about the upcoming adventure. Here’s the rundown on Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, including its brand-new first trailer.

But First, What Is Dungeons & Dragons?

If you’ve yet to be indoctrinated into the cult of D&D, we’ve got you covered. Published in 1974, D&D is a popular tabletop roleplaying game rooted in storytelling, with an open-ended and cooperative structure. We promise, it’s not as confusing as it sounds. As D&D’s official website describes the game:

Like games of make-believe, D&D is driven by imagination. It’s about picturing a crumbling castle in a darkening forest and imagining how a fantasy adventurer might react to the challenges that scene presents. In this fantasy world, the possibilities are limitless. Unlike a game of make-believe, D&D gives structure to the stories—a way of determining the consequences of the adventurers’ actions. Players roll dice to determine whether their attacks hit or miss and whether their characters can scale a cliff, roll away from the strike of a magical lightning bolt, or pull off some other dangerous task. Anything is possible, but the dice make some things more probable than others.

A typical game of D&D is often composed of four or five players, as well as a Dungeon Master. Players choose a race (such as halfling or human) and a class (such as fighter or wizard) for their characters from predetermined categories, then imagine their characters’ personalities, appearances, and backstories. Together the characters form an adventuring party, who set out on a quest, working collaboratively to make their way through the fictive landscape. To explore, travel, and fight, players roll dice, which determine the outcomes of their actions. Dungeon Masters facilitate the game, acting as the storyteller and referee, while also determining the results of the players’ dice rolls. The game has no real end or winner; some games stretch across months and years, at which point they become “campaigns.”

What Will The Dungeons & Dragons Movie Be About?

The official Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves synopsis reads as follows:

An ex-Harper turned thief escapes from prison with his partner, a female barbarian, and reunites with a no-talent wizard and a druid new to their team in an effort to rob the cheating conman who stole all their loot from the heist that landed them behind bars, and used it to install himself as the Lord of Neverwinter. Only the traitor is allied with a powerful Red Wizard who has something far more sinister in store.

The first trailer for Honor Among Thieves, which you can view above, is deliciously batshit. It's classic D&D: a band of unlikely companions comes together, then sets off across a fantastical landscape to achieve a goal and defeat a Big Baddie. There are zingers, the titular dragons, and Regé-Jean Page obliterating monsters with a pretty sweet sword. By the way, exhibitions at the tavern seemingly confirmed the appearances of several monsters, including Mimics, Beholders, and Displacement Beasts. And if you're curious about the tone of the film, Pine described it to Entertainment Tonight as a mixture of Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, and Game of Thrones. Whew!

Who’s In the Cast?

Headlining the cast are Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Regé-Jean Page, who teased that the film will be “a huge sigh of relief for Dungeons & Dragons fans everywhere,” as well as “a breath of fresh air.” Sophia Lillis will play Doric, while Jason Wong will play Dalas. As for villains, Hugh Grant will play the story’s main villain, Forge Fletcher. If Grant’s Paddington 2 performance is anything to go on, we suspect he’ll be a spectacular villain. The D&D tavern offered our first official glimpse of the cast in action:

Who’s On the Creative Team?

The Dungeons & Dragons movie will be directed by Game Night’s Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who also wrote the script. If Game Night’s success is anything to go by, D&D fans can expect a similarly deft touch with humor and meta-references. Daley also has serious D&D cred—during his time on Freaks & Geeks, he appeared in one memorable scene as a D&D geek.

When Is The Dungeons & Dragons Movie Coming Out?

The film is currently slated for March 3, 2023. Watch this space for updates as we continue to learn more.

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