For the sheer budget it seems to possess, it’s been remarkably easy to forget about the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons live action movie in recent months. The film’s early teasers and first trailer admittedly assembled some dazzling CGI images, and the cast is just about as impressive as one might hope … and yet, the film still feels like it’s flying somewhat under the radar, two months out from release. Paramount Pictures will no doubt be hoping that the buzz ramps up exponentially, perhaps in the wake of today’s newly released trailer, which looks more visually impressive than ever. You can see that trailer below, with the film—full title, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves—scheduled to hit theaters on March 31, 2023 after first premiering at SXSW in early March.
Of course, there are some potential complications. The ongoing anxiety and high-stakes showdown between D&D game owner Wizards of the Coast and its own player base has thrust D&D into the geek culture spotlight in recent weeks, but likely not in the way that anyone at Paramount would want. Players have been enraged by upcoming changes to the game’s open games license, which could potentially be used to effectively outlaw the kind of third party and player-created content that the game has depended on for decades. One might make the argument that this is a distinctly bad time to be pitching a D&D movie adaptation to those particular players, who currently want to deny success to anything with any tinge of involvement from Wizards of the Coast. And if the core D&D fandom decides to boycott Honor Among Thieves, how many other curious filmgoers might they keep from heading to the theater? Movie ticket sales are already facing an unprecedented wave of challenges; they hardly need customer boycotts as well.
As for the trailer itself, it is absolutely packed with CGI spectacle and goofy humor, seemingly trying to pitch itself as a Guardians of the Galaxy-esque take on high fantasy. The film’s adventuring party is a decently well-constructed group of player classes, featuring Chris Pine (bard), Michelle Rodriguez (barbarian), Regé-Jean Page (paladin), Justice Smith (sorcerer), Sophia Lillis (druid) and Hugh Grant (rogue). One could argue that “no party ever needs a bard,” but it does seem up Pine’s alley to portray a smarmy team leader. They’ll need every bit of cohesion as they face off with classic Monster Manual threats such as the Displacer Beast that briefly appears in the trailer.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to tell how much the ongoing D&D drama will affect the launch of the feature film, although you have to imagine it has some producers on edge. In the meantime, check out the newly release trailer below.