Paramount and Hasbro, who have been developing a live action Dungeons & Dragons movie starring Chris Pine (Wonder Woman, Star Trek), are looking to continue telling stories in the world of the tabletop fantasy role playing game Dungeons & Dragons on television. According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Wick writer Derek Kolstad has been tapped to develop the project.
‘John Wick’ writer is developing a live-action ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ TV series ⚔️🐉
— Fandom (@getFANDOM) January 15, 2021
A fervent subculture has surrounded the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons since its inception in the 1970s, and its popularity has only grown over the decades. Screen Rant credits fictional depictions of the game on shows such as Stranger Things, as well as actual-play series such as Critical Role, with contributing to the ever-growing popularity of the game. The Hollywood Reporter adds that the game “has soared anew during the pandemic and found a new generation of fans.”
Despite the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons, the scarce attempts to bring its vast fantasy landscape to film and television have been met with mixed success. “Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to filmed interpretations of the game,” Screen Rant said, while referring to both the 1980s animated series based on the game and the live-action film trilogy from the early 2000s.
The “poorly received” film Dungeons & Dragons, starring Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Watchmen) and Marlon Wayans (In Living Color, Marlon), first saw a theatrical release in 2000 and was followed up by two made-for-TV sequels, via Screen Rant. According to Nerdist, the 80s animated series Dungeons & Dragons was launched in order to rehabilitate the game’s reputation, which suffered stigmatism as a result of the Satanic Panic.
Nerdist has referred to our current decade as “the era of big budget high fantasy on TV,” hence the renewed interest in developing a series off Dungeons & Dragons’ success. The popularity of The Witcher on Netflix has led to an expanding universe and rumors of a The Elder Scrolls series from the streaming platform, and Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series and HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel are two of the most highly anticipated series from fantasy fans. Paramount and Hasbro’s eOne studios is still in the earliest stages of developing this untitled Dungeons & Dragons series, which means it has not landed a deal at any particular network yet, via Screen Rant.
Usually when a series is this early in the development process, there’s no guarantee that it will be picked up by a network or make it to the production stage. However, eOne studios has invested in more than just Kolstad’s pitch, as The Hollywood Reporter reports that “[the studio] is now working with multiple writers to develop various projects set in the fantasy universe.” Gizmodo derives from this information that “even if Kolstad’s show doesn’t come to be, another [Dungeons & Dragons series] might.”
As Kolstad, and subsequent writers, are still in the development phase, Gizmodo reports that it’s still too early to determine what approach the studio will take in adapting a world as vast as Dungeons & Dragons. Though fans will be eager to hear more from Kolstad and eOne, there’s still plenty of upcoming televised Dungeons & Dragons content to keep them satiated. Both Critical Role and The Adventure Zone, two of the most successful actual-play Dungeons & Dragons shows, have upcoming animated series slated at Amazon and Peacock, respectively.
— Variety (@Variety) November 5, 2019
— The Adventure Zone (@TheZoneCast) January 16, 2020
Additionally, tabletop gaming fans recently received the news that House of Cards creator Beau Willimon is developing a pitch for a series based on the board game Risk for eOne.