David Leslie Johnson’s screenplay for the new D&D movie is reportedly seen as a key element of the studio’s battle plan to expand into new realms of intellectual property. If the popularity of his demonic nun character, Valak, is any indication, he’ll be even more in demand after resuscitating one of the most promising yet abused cinematic properties in pop culture today.
D&D has always been a media contender, with a Saturday morning cartoon in the 1980s even as the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game was simultaneously gaining legendary popularity and appalling pearl-clutching suburban Bible-thumpers. It last got the big-screen treatment in 2000; it’s wasn’t pretty, and a couple even-more so-so sequels went straight to cable and DVD. Things were complicated for a long time by legal wrangling over the movie rights to the brand, which is now owned by Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast — but that’s all in the past, now, and Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens, Shark Tale, Gulliver’s Travels) has signed on as Dungeon Master … that is, director.
Deadline is reporting that Ansel Elgort, from the Divergent series, Carrie reboot and The Fault in Our Stars, is up for a starring role in the Dungeons & Dragons movie. Vin Diesel, long known to be a fanatical D&D player, is also mentioned as being possibly attached — but, then, that’s one of the oldest D&D movie rumors around …
Back in tabletop D&D news, a giant-focused new campaign, Storm King’s Thunder, and the supplement Volo’s Guide to Monsters will be released in the fall; the latter, a “Monster Manual” of sorts, will get a special collectible cover version distributed only to gaming hobby shops.