Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Pays Homage To '80s Cartoon

"Let the games begin." Such is the title of a clip from the highly-anticipated "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," which is based on the beloved tabletop role-playing game, "Dungeons & Dragons." "D&D" has been steadily gaining mainstream popularity over the last 50 years since its release, and it's about time that we got a riveting, live-action rendition of this particular fantasy adventure. "Honor Among Thieves" looks like a hell lot of fun, replete with a band of thieves who must make their way out of a dangerous area while battling "D&D" monsters, who display no mercy toward the players.

The clip already proves how some aspects of the tabletop game have been successfully translated onto the big screen. The primary threat in this segment, a displacer beast, is shown using its standard powers of bending light and creating illusions to trick players while being resistant to all ranged attacks. In the clip, Edgin (Chris Pine), Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), Simon (Justice Smith), and Doric (Sophia Lillis) struggle to navigate the massive maze in the area, and the gang has to take their chances opening treasure chests, which might present them with weapons or more nefarious threats. All of this happens while a majestic displacer beast casually kills off most of the players.

However, ardent "D&D" fans will be able to notice an easter egg of sorts in the clip linked above — one of the groups taking part consist of five individuals who've been famously part of the "D&D" universe. These characters are none other than the protagonists in the "Dungeons & Dragons" animated television series, wherein the group is transported to the "D&D" realm and must fight shady wizards and find a way back home. Let us dive deeper into this classic homage.

A subtle, yet delightful nod

The "D&D" animated series had a three-season run on CBS from 1983 through 1985 and was generally well-received by audiences and critics alike. A thread of nostalgia binds the animated series to those who've grown up playing the tabletop RPG, and it is pretty cool to see a group of young protagonists battle beasts in an unknown realm and step into their power.

This group comprises Hank (The Ranger), Eric (The Cavalier), Diana (The Acrobat), Bobby (The Barbarian), and Sheila (The Thief) — together, they receive assistance from the Dungeon Master, who grants them various abilities and weapons to help them in their quest. Apart from being a fun series about adventure, the animated show also fleshed out the emotional landscapes of its characters, thus making them relatable to younger audiences, who were the target demographic of the show. Interestingly, some storylines veered into serious territories, such as the one in which Venger, the big bad, travels back in time to World War II and alters history forever. Yikes.

In the "Honor Among Thieves" clip, Sheila seems to be missing from the usual group of six, but the others are unmistakably a nod to the characters in the CBS show. As only one group can make it out of the area labyrinth alive, and it is bound to be the one led by Edgin, our group of five might meet their end at the hands of the displacer beast. This is no reason for serious concern, of course, as their presence is simply meant to delight longtime "D&D" fans, and I'm sure these kids were able to successfully defeat Venger at some point and safely make it back home, tough as they are.

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" hits theaters on March 31, 2023.