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The next D&D movie has a very low bar to clear

Wizards of the Coast’s new president weighs in on the process

D&D Movie
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

About this time last year, Wizards of the Coast revealed that they had successfully untangled the legal knots preventing them from making a modern Dungeons & Dragons-themed movie. But since then, we’ve heard hardly a whisper about the proposed film, being made in partnership with Warner Bros.

We stopped by the WotC office last month to take a look at the next monster manual, which you can read about here. While we were there, we were formally introduced to its new president, Chris Cocks. So we asked him, point blank, what’s up with the movie?

Nathan Stewart, the director of D&D, was the first to throw himself on the grenade.

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"We're actually cruising along," he said, without missing a beat. "I'm actually new to movies, so I'm learning as I go. We're partnering super close with Warner Bros. and I have weekly calls with our Hasbro guy who runs that kind of stuff.

"Rob Letterman [Goosebumps, Gulliver’s Travels] is our director, so we are cranking along, and as far as I can tell we're actually going on a really, really fast pace for Hollywood. Which is a normal-to-slow pace for everyone else. So we continue to work on the script and storyline with them. Chris Perkins [principal designer for D&D] and the team are very involved so we're having a lot of back and forth banter."

Stewart also said that he hoped to have something more to announce in 2017.

"Warner Bros. are really dedicated to the franchise," he said, "and they are working closer with us that I frankly expect a Hollywood studio to work with. I’ve got the director and line producer on speed dial if I want, and we visit with them regularly, back and forth, share our stories. There isn't a revision on scripts or choices that we're not super involved in."

After collecting himself, Cocks also admitted that he’d already seen a script.

"To the point of inclusiveness, the script is still in process," Cocks said, referring to the scope of the potential audience beyond core D&D fans. "But in reading where it is today, it does a really good job of balancing those nods to the core fans, whilst opening up the world to new people. I've been impressed by the professionalism of what they are doing."

Stewart was quick to add that inclusivity, with regard to race, gender, age, sexual identity and other factors, were also key concerns as WotC moves forward with the movie project. In fact, that's been part of the entire 5th edition of D&D.

"Warner Bros. obviously owns the project, however," Stewart added. "So I don't know what their rollout plan is in terms of how they do that stuff, but in terms of our standpoint, we're really involved and super confident that it's going to be the best D&D movie ever. Which is a really low bar."

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