In a time when stories about delays in film and TV production and release dates seem par for the course, at least one blockbuster in production has rolled a 20 for a critical hit. According to one of the guys putting it all together, a highly anticipated Chris Pine movie Dungeons & Dragons has wrapped filming.
Dungeons & Dragons co-writer and co-director John Francis Daley kept the news short and sweet. Daley announced to his Twitter followers yesterday “Wrapped D&D today! Still alive!” While there are a still a lot of unknowns about the film starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Hugh Grant, we at least know principal photography is done.
While at this point it may only be optimistic speculation, ScreenRant points out that the news could mean an earlier release for the Chris Pine film. Even during a time when most movies and TV shows are suffering delays, Dungeons & Dragons has already weathered more than most. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Dungeons & Dragons was originally scheduled to release last month, but it was pushed back to November 2021 to make way for Mission: Impossible 7 (which would subsequently get pushed back to 2022). The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the release back twice: first to May 2022 and finally to the current release date of March 3, 2o23. ScreenRant speculates that with filming wrapped in 2021, Paramount might take the opportunity to move Dungeons & Dragons up on the schedule, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Very little is known about the story for the upcoming film, and not much in the way of behind-the-scenes footage has been released. Some set photos were released in June, showing Chris Pine seemingly during a break and Michelle Rodriguez in costume and filming a scene. Sophia Lillis appears to be wearing horns and Justice Smith is in costume and holding an umbrella. But as far as plot details, almost nothing has trickled out.
One thing is for sure, and that’s that expectations for Chris Pine’s Dungeons & Dragons are going to be high. The Dungeons & Dragons that was released in 2000 starring Jeremy Irons was a huge bomb, and currently enjoys an embarrassing 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Keep in mind, that film was released a year before The Fellowship of the Ring — the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations — raised the bar as far as what audiences could expect from a fantasy adventure film. With the technology that’s now available in movie-making and genre storytelling pretty much dominating mainstream popular culture, few fans — especially not the ones who are old enough to have actually paid to see the 2000 film — will forgive Paramount for rolling a 1 on this version.
Based on the tabletop roleplaying game of the same name originally released by TSR in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons couldn’t be coming out at a better time. Wizards of the Coast — the company that acquired TSR’s assets in 1997 — released an infographic last year detailing that 2020 was the game’s biggest year in terms of growth. Its popularity has been helped by its prominent part of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, the rise of popularity in genre storytelling including fantasy, and the fact that players were able to enjoy the game remotely over programs like Discord during the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.