Everyone’s favorite role-playing game is back on the silver screen! What Stranger Things has done for Kate Bush and Metallica — both of whom have seen massive spikes in their popularity after having their music featured on the hit Netflix show — it has arguably also done for Dungeons and Dragons. The legendary role-playing board game captivated generations of children and teens in the 1980s and 1990s.
Following a ten-year hiatus in the franchise, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is due to hit theaters next March, and a sneak preview of the trailer was screened at last month’s Comic-Con. After the cartoon in the 1980s and three films in the early 2000s, what can we expect from this latest film? We’ve got you covered.
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Honor Among Thieves: The Plot
The Dungeons and Dragons trilogy that hit cinemas in the noughties seemed to have all the elements needed for success. Yet despite a well-known name, backing from a major production company, and big star names in lead roles, it flattered to deceive. The best — certainly the most extravagant — of the three was the first, simply titled Dungeons and Dragons (2000). It attracted Oscar winner Jeremy Irons as Mage Profion, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee and soon-to-be-director Thora Birch (The Last Black Man in San Francisco) as Empress Savina, and former Doctor Who star Tom Baker and The Rocky Horror Picture Show alum Richard O’Brien in minor roles.
However, the combination of Hollywood stars and cult legends couldn’t save it, and the film bombed at the box office, with (among others) Roger Ebert throwing shade. In spite of spirited performances by Bruce Payne (Passenger 57) as the lead, neither of the two sequels, Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) and Dungeons and Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness (2012), troubled the box office, with the latter going straight to DVD on release.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that the new film makes a clean break from its predecessors. It is reported that the film will go back to the source material, drawing on several of the characters from the 1980s cartoon series that so endeared the game to millions of kids. The lengthy wait for the reboot has been largely due to legal wranglings over rights to the franchise, followed by a lengthy spell in development hell. However, filming finally began last spring in Iceland and wrapped in August.
Heavy plot details are scanty despite some accidentally-on-purpose hinting from Chris Pine last month. But we know the story concerns a thief, Edgin, who puts together a group of misfit adventurers to retrieve a lost relic. The official synopsis reads:
A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers embark on an epic quest to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people.
The trope is a well-worn one, but fans of the cartoon series (and the game itself) will know just how satisfying running around after the MacGuffin can be. Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are reportedly seeking to replicate the playfulness and highly textured world-building of the RPG to the big screen, emphasizing humor and action.
Honor Among Thieves: The Cast
Honor Among Thieves offers some A-list heavy hitters and one or two new faces. Chris Pine, whose directorial debut, comedy film Poolman, is currently in production, will star as the lead. Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious, Battle: Los Angeles) also appears, as does newcomer Regé-Jean Page, whose breakout performance on last year’s Netflix hit, the period drama Bridgerton, won him rave reviews.
Supporting are Hugh Grant, whose career renaissance continues with Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors’ Guild nominations last year for HBO’s psychological thriller series The Undoing; star of It and Netflix’s I Am Not OK With This, Sophia Lillis; and Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, All The Bright Places).
In recent years, it almost feels as though shifting release dates is a given for many Hollywood films, and Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has slipped more than most. An initial premiere of July 2021 in time for the summer blockbuster season was nixed by the Covid pandemic. The second date of November 2021 also got bumped, with Paramount’s Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One and Top Gun: Maverick receiving a higher priority. Honor Among Thieves was one of ten Paramount films affected.
The third date of May 27, 2022, was then shifted to March 3, 2023. Producers will be hoping for big draws, especially in the light of reports that a television series made by eOne — who co-produced the film with Paramount — featuring a Dungeons and Dragons extended universe is in the works.