Lionsgate has picked up the rights to Dust, the steampunk-themed boardgame that takes place in an alternate history where World War II is still happening. The film is just one in a string of recent boardgames to cross over to the big screen. So far, each one of those films has failed due to a lack of narrative from the original source material. With the exception of Clue, which has gained a cult following and got a jumpstart on all the other boardgame to movie adaptations in 1985, few of the final products have been anything worth noting. Still, we could get behind this project if it’s handled properly.
Dust is set to be helmed by We’re the Millers director Rawson Marshall Thurber, which doesn’t have us all too enthused from the start. Usually a background in the comedy genre does not paint a pretty picture for a high-budget action film, let alone from a boardgame. But Thurber has been approaching the material with persistence. He is rumored to be the creative mind behind the project, getting the ball moving and seeking a production assistant. He will team up with Dan Lin, one of the producers behind The LEGO Movie, which should give him someone to work with who has a hands-on experience with adopting unconventional sources for the silver screen.
The world of Dust comes from the mind of Italian fantasy illustrator Paolo Parente. Up to four players can participate in the game, which takes place in an alternate 1940s timeline that is divided into three factions: the Allies, the Axis—which is no longer led by Hitler after he was successfully assassinated in Operation Valkyrie—and the SSU, a union of the USSR and China. Each player battles it out within the world with futuristic combat robots.
Thurber first noticed Dust as a graphic novel and later discovered the tabletop game with which he became immersed. He had the following to say about the planned adaptation:
“It’s a cool spin on a genre that I’ve loved for a long time and it opens up narrative avenues that are just thrilling. It’s all my 9-year-old fantasies wrapped in one thing, a World War II mash-up.”
Dust is still in the early stages of development. Writers for the adaptation are currently being sought. Once the script has neared completion, we are sure to hear more about the project. As for now, we can only dream about the possibilities.