Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is in theaters March 31, and the big-screen epic tale has, thus far, been met with very positive reviews. Over at GameSpot sister site Metacritic, the movie is sitting pretty with a score of 71 and that had to be thanks, in some small part, to the fact that this is a film that is approachable for everyone, whether you've mounted your own D&D campaign or not.
When it comes to a property with such deep lore over several decades, properly capturing it in a way that appeals to longtime fans is daunting. However, according to the film's writers and directors, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, that wasn't even the hard part. Instead, it was finding a way of explaining everything to people with no knowledge of D&D that was the real hurdle.
"[That was the] bigger challenge even than appealing to the fans, because we knew we had the material with the lore and the 50 years of history behind us to really give players of the game something that they will appreciate," Daly explained to GameSpot. "The bigger challenge was to give something to the people who have absolutely nothing to do with Dungeons & Dragons--or know nothing about it--a movie that they will also enjoy. And what I would say is, you know, we were very authentic. Everything--every spell that you see--is accurate, is true-to-life authentic. All of our creatures, or monsters or environments are all part of the lore. But again, you do not have to know anything about that for it to work."
According to Goldstein, accomplishing that meant not leaving too heavily on established lore when building the story.
"I think a lot of people assume that we sort of took this vast law and then whittled it down to our movie," he said. "But in a way, it was the opposite. We started with our characters. What kind of details could we tell about these people that you would invest in and care about? And then that naturally led to the narrative. Okay, where do we want to put them? What do we want to throw at them in terms of monsters and challenges and things? And luckily, the world of D&D is so vast that there's 20 different options for each of those moments. So it made our job easier."
Ultimately, what they ended up with is a movie drenched in elements of Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, from creatures and powers to locations and plot elements, that is easy to understand. Much like Marvel does with some of its bigger comic book concepts in the MCU, Honor Among Thieves is easily accessible, despite its deep history. And if you're new to the world of D&D and that interests you, there are dozens of books, campaigns, and deep dives into the lore waiting once the film wraps up.
If you are a fan, though, don't think you were disregarded when it came to building this movie. After all, nobody is going to be as excited to see a live-action mimic chest attempting to eat people more than a D&D fan that's found themselves on the wrong side of one in a previous campaign.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is in theaters Friday.
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