Now that the news that a new Dungeons & Dragons movie is in the works has hit the internet, everyone involved in this film has one job and one job only – to not remind you of the horrible Dungeons & Dragons movie that was made 15 years ago. Just look at the image at the top of this article. Remember that this exists. Remember the pain.

The news comes to us from Variety, who report that Warner Bros. have officially secured the rights to the iconic role playing game series after a lengthy legal battle. Here’s the official statement from the studio’s president of creative development and worldwide production, Greg Silverman:

We are so excited about bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons to life on the big screen. This is far and away the most well-known brand in fantasy, which is the genre that drives the most passionate film followings. D&D has endless creative possibilities, giving our filmmakers immense opportunities to delight and thrill both fans and moviegoers new to the property.

Here is where we raise an eyebrow. Yes, D&D is a well-known name. A famous name. A name with countless fans in a hobby that has steadily grown more socially respectable over the past decade or so. But making a Dungeons & Dragons movie can’t help but feel like a futile effort, and not just because many people will take one look at the title, imagine a bunch of dorks sitting in a basement and giggle.

The real problem with D&D as a potential film is emblematic in that terrible first film from 2000. This series doesn’t tell a story on its own. It’s a series of rule books that form a fantasy sandbox. Players are free to pick and choose the details they find interesting and build characters they enjoy. The fun of any RPG comes from you and your friends participating in group storytelling. You go on a journey together and discover the world as a unit. It’s your story. The best D&D campaigns are those that actually unite the players and send them on harrowing emotional journeys. It’s not just rolling dice and pretending to fight monsters (although that is undeniably a part of it). That first movie may have worked around a table, where everyone was invested. There’s a reason people aren’t interested in hearing about your dreams and it’s the same reason why most people don’t want to hear abut your RPG session.

Taken by itself, Dungeons & Dragons is a hopelessly generic fantasy setting with almost no character. But that’s by design. It’s the job of the players to lend that setting personality, to elevate fantasy tropes until they resonate. A movie adaptation of this game will struggle because it won’t be your game. It will be just another fantasy story, something you’ve seen before. Even if an exceptionally talented screenwriter crafts a story, it won’t be D&D because D&D is what you make it.

Anyway, this project is in the absolute earliest stages of development and it could die a sudden death at a moment’s notice, especially if the upcoming Warcraft movie doesn’t light the box office on fire. But if that’s a hit, expect to see a new Dungeons & Dragons movie come together quickly.

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