Dungeons & Dragons: Release Date, Cast, And More

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For a long time, playing "Dungeons & Dragons" meant that you were the nerdiest of nerds. The game has been around since the 1970s, but it's never been more popular than it is today. Thanks to the rise of Twitch gameplay shows like "Critical Role," "D&D" podcasts, and more references to the game on popular shows like "Stranger Things," "Dungeons & Dragons" has seen a massive rise in popularity over the last few years. 

"D&D" sales increased over 30% in 2020. Impressive numbers, especially considering the impact the pandemic had on many other sectors of the economy. With all of this buzz surrounding the Wizards of the Coast franchise, it's no wonder that there is interest in turning the game into a film (even if it has been attempted, poorly, in the past). 

What do we know about the latest attempt to take the always beloved, if once ridiculed, game to the screen? Gather your party, and let's uncover all the secrets we know so far about the upcoming film, "Dungeons & Dragons." 

Dungeons and Dragons Release Date and Where You Can Watch It

"Dungeons & Dragons" is set to be released in theaters on March 3, 2023. That may seem like a long time from now, considering the movie completed filming in August 2021. However, we think a few things are happening with this choice. 

First, it could give "Dungeons & Dragons" a large window of time to work on post-production special effects. Let's cross our fingers that means we can expect at lesat "Game of Thrones"-level CGI Dragons to come out of the woodworks for this fantasy film. We're simple folks. We see "dragons" in the title of something, and we expect at least one terrifying, breathtaking dragon encounter. 

This release date also may have the pandemic in mind. There are hopes that by 2023, the world will know what our "new normal" will really look like. Big releases like "Black Widow," "Eternals," and "Dune" have managed to come out in 2021 with fair box office numbers. On the other hand, there is still theater hesitancy, especially with many major films debuting on streaming services at the same time as they hit theaters. However, considering how many other major films have been delayed since 2020, it looks like 2022's slate of films could be congested. Marvel has already adjusted release dates for all of their upcoming 2022 films, forcing other studios to rethink their plans as well. 

So, spring of 2023 it is for "Dungeons & Dragons." Considering how many "D&D" players turned to virtual play options for their mental and social health as the pandemic raged, maybe there's something powerful in the idea of the "Dungeons & Dragons" movie hitting theaters three years after COVID-19 lockdowns began.

What is Dungeons and Dragons?

We know a little already about what the plot of "Dungeons & Dragons" will be, thanks to a synopsis registered with the U.S. Copyright Office: 

An ex-Harper turned thief escapes from prison with his partner, a female barbarian, and reunites with a no-talent wizard and a druid new to their team in an effort to rob the cheating conman who stole all their loot from the heist that landed them behind bars, and used it to install himself as the Lord of Neverwinter. Only the traitor is allied with a powerful Red Wizard who has something far more sinister in store.

That sounds ... very familiar for "D&D" players, and it gives us a lot of clues about the story. Harpers, in "D&D" lore, are a faction of noble-minded spies, which sound a lot like Fantasy James Bonds. With this rogue-type character forming a party with a barbarian, wizard, and druid, you've got yourself a well-rounded group of adventurers. Red Wizards are especially focused magic users, so the mention of one here definitely suggests we'll be treated to some trippy special effects. Neverwinter is a known setting in "Dungeons & Dragons" lore, and it's chock full of everything that comes to mind when you think of the game. Castles, guilds, mysterious lands, and monsters galore. 

Dungeons and Dragons Cast

"Dungeons & Dragons" as a film may raise a lot of questions about how well it can be adapted, but if the cast is any indication, we're genuinely excited. The leads include Chris Pine ("Star Trek") and Michelle Rodriguez (the "Fast and the Furious" franchise), with Hugh Grant ("Notting Hill," "Love Actually") locked in as the film's mysterious villain. 

Pine is never a bad choice for a genre film that invites audiences into strange new worlds, especially given his ability to be both charming and a believable action lead. Rodriguez is apparently playing a barbarian character, which seems fitting considering her frequent roles as a certified badass. Grant as the big bad also feels like an inspired choice. He's usually the go-to romantic lead charmer, but we've seen him recently embrace more edge in his role in "The Undoing," and he actively played a very convincing villain in "Paddington 2." Other notable cast members include Justice Smith ("Detective Pokemon"), Sophia Lillis ("IT: Chapter 1" and "Chapter 2"), and Regé-Jean Page ("Bridgerton").  

This cast suggests a film where the camaraderie of the characters is just as fun to watch as the adventure unfolding. That's a positive sign since that's what makes a good "D&D" game, after all. Good fun, charming characters, with a dash of action and adventure to glue the whole thing together. 

Page has also assured fans that they can breathe a sigh of relief. In an interview with Variety, he suggests that "D&D" players around the world can trust the film to do right by the game. 

Dungeons and Dragons Directors, Writers, and More

The director-writer team of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who previously blended comedy and action with "Game Night," have stepped up as the Dungeon Masters/directors to helm the story. It certainly couldn't have been an easy feat. Games being adapted into movies is not a new thing and usually, the results are mediocre at best. Video game movies and shows have a spotty track record.

However, adapting something like "Dungeons & Dragons," and other tabletop games, is a completely different monster to tackle. With most video games, there's more plot to shape for the screen. "Dungeons & Dragons" relies heavily on players roleplaying out their stories, often in what is called a "theater of the mind" experience. No two games are the same, even if they rely on the same rules. 

We have seen tabletop games adapted before. The cult classic film "Clue" embraced the unique challenges of such a task, making something that was both an homage to its source, but also bringing something watchable to the table. 

All in Good Fun

If the "Dungeons & Dragons" team hopes to find success, they'd be wise to have a similar mindset to those behind the adaptation of "Clue." So far, it seems like they do. Justice Smith told Collider that the film is, "action-packed, thrilling, funny as hell." It's also been described as a "subversive" look at the game, suggesting the film wants to embrace its source material without fear of examining it as well. A truly successful "D&D" film would show unfamiliar audiences the charm of the game that has won over so many of us nerds for decades. With the right tone, "Dungeons & Dragons" could roll a "Natural 20" and be one of 2023's hits in the making.