The Eye of Vecna’s current resting place has been unearthed. The legendary artifact can be found in a nexus of magic. Movie magic.
Just in case any of you forgot that there is still a Dungeons & Dragons movie in the works–a feat that, to this day, has never been successfully accomplished. Three others have tried. Tried and failed, you might be wondering?
But let’s leave that aside for now, young Atreides. This latest movie, slated for a release date of July 2021, is what we’re here to talk about today. According to a report from ComicBook.com, the upcoming D&D Movie is where you can find the latest resting place for the Eye of Vecna. The legendary artifact is reported to be at the center of the plot:
The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie currently in development by Paramount will focus on a group of adventurers looking for the Eye of Vecna, a powerful artifact that dates back to the earliest days of the game.
Our source indicates that Dungeons & Dragons will feature a group of adventurers led by Raven Hightower, a warrior with a magic flamesword that’s haunted by his sister’s death. Other characters include the “half-dragon” Hack Karroway, the gnome thief Olivan Trickfoot, and a masked warrior named Alyssa Steelsong who is set to take over Palarandusk’s role when the dragon dies. Additionally, the main villain of the movie is a male drow named Razer Horlbar who once kept Raven and his sister as slaves, along with a female tiefling named Damala and a brutish warrior known only as “The Beast.”
And while Dungeons and Dragons (2021), as yet, does not have an actual cast, it does have a firm list of all the roles. Here’s a breakdown of all the characters mentioned above, along with how many scenes they’ll each play in, thanks to Fandomwire:
- Raven Hightower is one of the lead males as he is in 88 scenes. He has dark eyes, long hair, and a beard and he wears an oiled cloak, leather armor and wields a magic flamesword. He is an honorable man as he and his sister were once slaves but she died and he is still haunted by her passing.
- Hack Karroway is another lead male, having a gigantic 77 scenes, but he is a voice-over character. He is a former human turned Half-Dragon, now standing seven feet tall with a long tail and blood-red scales. He wears human armor and has a large bastard sword and can breathe fire. He’s intelligent and logical.
- Otivan Trickfoot is a strong support male with 51 scenes and he’s a gnome who wears magic rings. He is cunning and untrustworthy.
- Alyssa Steelsong is a strong support female with 41 scenes. She is the leader of the masked warriors and wields a mace. She is next in line to be the Lord Protector of the Triadic Knights after Palarandusk dies.
- Malanthius is a supporting male with 26 scenes. He is skinny, longhaired and young and he is a spellcaster.
- Razer Horlbar is a supporting male with 14 scenes. He is a handsome elf with jet-black skin and has pointed ears and long white hair. He is the leader of the cloaked men and is in charge of Damaia and The Beast.
- Damaia is a supporting female with 10 scenes. She is a Tiefling, a race descended from demons. She has horns, pointed teeth, and a long tail.
- The Beast is a supporting male with 9 scenes and he is a huge, cloaked man who wears an expressionless wooden mask.
- Bickety is a supporting male with 9 scenes, he is a human swordsman with a scar-ridden face and he is an adventurer.
- Zanril is a supporting male with 9 scenes. He is a bald warlock adventurer who explores the Demon Temples with Karroway and Hightower.
- Skeever is a supporting male with 7 scenes and he is a half-orc adventurer.
- Palarandusk is supporting male with only 3 scenes. He is an ancient gold dragon and Lord Protector of the Triadic Knights. He has cracked scales and dangling spines with catfish whiskers. He eats gemstones to stay alive.
A reported wishlist for any and all of these parts is a cavalcade of celebrities including Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, Joel Edgerton, Dave Bautista, Jeremy Renner, or Johnny Depp. An unconfirmed rumor puts Ansel Elgort, of Baby Driver fame as Raven Hightower.
And while the movie does not have any actors yet, both Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are definitely signed on to direct, and the movie has a whole team of producers. Including one Courtney Solomon, whose name you might not recognize as the director behind the first D&D movie, back in the year 2000.
All of which brings us back to the news today. It seems clear that the filmmakers are trying to learn from the mistakes of the past. In the first movie, there was a decided lack of D&D Lore–they had the magical artifacts and the dragons, but it may as well have been a generic fantasy movie that came out around the same time as the Lord of the Rings, and honestly, there’s absolutely no competing with that. The first D&D movie was a mess of a fever dream had next to a dumpster fire.
The subsequent D&D movies were a lot less “movie” and a lot more “D&D” featuring newer actors, a lower budget, and less what you’d call a screenplay, and more a collection of D&D moments–like a cleric deciding to cut down a tree with their warhammer because they can’t use edged weapons, or a wizard suddenly remembering that they have a familiar for the one important part of the adventure.
It’s hard to make a D&D movie. You need more than just top talent–the first movie had a budget of almost fifty million and featured Jeremy Irons and Thora Birch chewing scenery and earning paychecks as the movie presented a generic, relatable fantasy project. The latest movie seems to be more firmly set in the Forgotten Realms–it features the Eye of Vecna and the dragon Palarandusk is technically an existing character from the lore, appearing in Wyrms of the North and Dragons of Faerun.
But even then, how many of you have heard of this gold dragon before? There are a dozen more recognizable characters out there if you wanted to ground your fantasy world in something that people are familiar with. And sure, there will be Drow and Gnomes and fantasy things that people recognize, and not every movie needs to have licensed characters–but if you’re going for deep cuts, consider that to most people, Elminster or Minsc and Boo is already a deep cut. And they’re the popular ones.
Not that a movie needs to build on an established IP to succeed–far from it. And anyway D&D the movie is already based on D&D the game, which is more popular than ever. But this movie feels like a precarious needle to thread. The best parts of D&D aren’t necessarily the parts that would make for a good cinematic experience. Even watching one of the many streams out there isn’t so much about getting a good story with lots of special effects, it’s all about watching the people playing the game letting the dice fall where they may and seeing people have fun playing the game (while telling a good story). And community. It’s a lot about community, but that’s another article altogether.
July 2021 is still a way out, here’s hoping they finally find some actors to voice these critical roles.