Hasbro is working on developing a number of television series spinning off from its iconic Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game.
Speaking in an interview with Deadline, Hasbro executive Michael Lombardo, formerly President of Programming at HBO, stated that the toy company has been working at transitioning towards becoming a brand company, which would mean leveraging the numerous games they publish into other media. Chief among those intellectual property’s the iconic fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
Our big focus now is Dungeons & Dragons… We don’t want it to just be one show so we are building out, developing out a multi-pronged approach for television, a number of scripted shows and unscripted, and we hope to be taking this out to the marketplace early next year.
Lombardo notes that the company has a Dungeons & Dragons film in post-production. (It has a 2023 scheduled release date.) He also hints that the TV series may be in some way related to the film saying “[W]e’re trying to also navigate the brand more holistically so that the movie feels not apart from but connected somehow to a bigger universe.”
While Lombardo gave no description as to what an unscripted series based on Dungeons & Dragons would be like, hopefully they are moving in a direction away from a number of web, YouTube and Twitch streaming series such as Critical Role, which feature players playing a campaign.
Dungeons & Dragons was created by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, combining elements from tabletop miniature wargames, individual character role-play and numerous fantasy novels. The initial version of the game was published in 1975, but it wasn’t until a streamlined version of the basic rules, alongside a more complicated version known as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons were in 1977 that the game began to grow in popularity. Over the years, it has undergone four extensive overhauls of its rules system.
Dungeons & Dragons was adapted for television before in the 1980s as a children’s Saturday morning animated series that ran from 1983 to 1985. A not very good live action film starring Justin Whalon, Marlon Wayans, Thora Birch and Jeremy Irons was released in 2000 and bombed at the box office. Somehow, two more direct-to-video movies were greenlit, though they fared as poorly.
The upcoming new Dungeons & Dragons film stars Chris Pine and Michelle Rodrigues.