Director Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie; the upcoming Nightwing) is now in negotiations to direct a new version of Dungeons & Dragons, based on the classic role-playing game. The movie will be the first from a new production company that wants to become a rival to Marvel Studios, according to Variety.
First published in 1974, the game revolves around characters who embark upon adventures in a fantasy world. Its popularity grew steadily over the years, leading to a television series in the 1980s and finally a film version in 2000 (pictured at top; watch trailer below). That was followed by a sequel for television in 2005 and a third installment that went direct to video in 2012.
The new, big-screen version will be written by Michael Gillio. It’s been in development for several years, per Variety, which notes: “The pic will be one of the first projects to go into production for the newly created AllSpark Pictures. Launched last October, production company aims to transform itself into an industry player to rival Marvel Studios.”
AllSpark Pictures is a unit of Hasbro Studios. Last year, we heard that Hasbro plans to reboot its G.I. Joe series of movies for a younger audience. The company’s Transformers spin-off movie Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld and due in theaters later this year, is aiming at a younger audience for that franchise as well. Adding to that focus, the company saw the horror thrillers Ouija and Ouija: Origin of Evil also perform well with younger audiences.
Could a new version of Dungeons & Dragons also be targeted at a younger audience? The potential is certainly there, especially considering the fantasy settings. The presence of dragons in HBO’s Game of Thrones, although aimed at an older audience, proved that dragons could be a very credible threat, so that probably helps too. And it’s been a few years since The Hobbit trilogy dominated the fantasy landscape with a big dragon. As things develop further, we’ll keep a close eye on what Hasbro and AllSpark Pictures may be cooking up.