Manganiello Rolling the Dice on Dungeons & Dragons Film

IGN.com recently reported that Magic Mike star (and avid D&D gamer) Joe Manganiello has developed a script with John Cassel based on the 1984 Dragonlance novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Dragonlance artwork

He is working hard to get this one right, meeting with Wizards of the Coast, who currently create the content with which the game is played.  He says that while he doesn’t want to neglect the spectacle of a good fantasy film, he wants to make sure the “human aspect” is there as well, saying it’s the friendships in Lord of the Rings that make it “something everyone can identify with.”

There have been a few attempts to bring the beloved game to screens in the past, with varying degrees of success. A cartoon series which ran from 1983 to 1985 appears to be relatively well-liked, but a 2000 film, though based on the same source material, was universally despised. Although it starred Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans, and Thora Birch, one IMDb reviewer says it is only barely topped by Battlefield Earth as the worst film of the year. That was followed by a few sequels which fared slightly better than the original.

Game set with dice

So many possibilities with dice like these

The original game was first developed in 1974 and is credited with being the first role-playing game. In the game, a player becomes a character in an ongoing story. They choose their character from different races and from different classes, all of which have different abilities. These characters go on quests and battle monsters within the storyline. At one point the game was split into an advanced version, for those already familiar with the gameplay, and a basic version for novices, designed to ease them into the more advanced aspects of the game, but around 2000 these versions were brought back together. The game was recently brought back to the attention of non-gamers by being a central plot point in the Netflix original series Stranger Things, where the protagonists have to face one of the most dangerous monsters in the D&D universe, the Demogorgon.

Joe Manganiello

Will he be a hero or a monster to gamers?

411Mania also reports that Wizards of the Coast is developing its own Dungeons & Dragons film based on the Forgotten Realms series and directed by Goosebumps director, Rob Letterman. With two competing films it could be a good few years for avid players, but there may be some confusion for the non-gamer unfamiliar with the various realms that are a part of the game’s world. Both films face the uphill battle of creating a film based on a wildly popular game that people will actually want to see.

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