Dungeons & Dragons is officially cool now. What was once largely mocked by mass media is having something of a renaissance. Wizards of the Coast estimates there are 40 million players worldwide, their sales are up 25% year on year and Hollywood stars like Joe Manganiello are running sessions for producers and directors. While the game has been on the up for a while, most people put its recent rise in popularity down to being featured heavily in Stranger Things.
With all this buzz about the property and fantasy currently being in vogue, it’s no surprise that Paramount have begun pre-production on a new Dungeons & Dragons movie. Information is thin on the ground at the moment though, with only a vague plot summary telling us that it will be about a band of warriors setting out on a quest to find some kind of magical treasure. So, pretty much the standard D&D campaign then.
But hopefully Paramount has found just the right Dungeon Masters in directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. They’re casting for the film at the moment and our sources – the same ones who said that Bill Murray was returning for Ghostbusters 3 and that a Scream reboot is in development, both of which are now confirmed – tell us that they’re considering Zac Efron for the part of Malanthius. From what we’re hearing, it’s fairly big role – though not the lead – and he’s some kind of mage who the heroes turn to in a moment of need.
Details beyond that remain hazy, but Efron is pretty hot right now after Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and while he’s just one name on the studio’s wishlist, I’m sure he could knock it out of the park if they go with him. In any event, this has got to be better than the last Dungeons & Dragons movie from 2000, which had some absolutely terrible CGI, an awful script and – most unforgivably – completely wasted Jeremy Irons. Here’s hoping we get a fantasy with a bit of grit that brings the iconic D&D monsters to life like never before.