It may seem like this should have happened years ago but, hey, Ryan Reynolds was only 6 years old when Dragon’s Lair hit arcades. The Laserdisc adventure game is getting a feature-length adaptation courtesy of Netflix and the Deadpool star.
The Hollywood Reporter reported yesterday that Netflix closed the deal for rights to the game, and that Reynolds is aboard both as a star and courtesy his production label, Maximum Effort. Don Bluth, the ex-Disney animator who both designed and illustrated the original game, is also listed as a producer.
Bluth and partner Gary Goldman, in 2015, turned to Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise money for a big-screen adaptation of their game, but were unsuccessful. The game memorably cameoed in the first episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things 2 in 2017.
The script is being worked on by Dan and Kevin Hageman, who paired up for 2014’s The Lego Movie. Netflix’s Dragon’s Lair is a live-action adaptation.
Dragon’s Lair debuted in 1983, kicking off the eye-popping Laserdisc genre for the still-nascent arcade scene. In it, players use timely inputs of a joystick and the Sword button to correctly present the game’s hero, Dirk the Daring, extricating himself from a variety of traps and ambushes inside a mysterious castle. Dirk eventually reaches his goal, which is to rescue the voluptuous Princess Daphne from captivity in the lair of the evil Singe.
If you’re wondering, all of the scenes in Dragon’s Lair add up to a cartoon film about 10 minutes long. Multiple YouTubers have put them together; here’s one such anthology.
Although visually impressive, and a staple of pop culture nostalgia, the Laserdisc games didn’t really catch on. It was followed by Cinematronics’ Space Ace (also produced by Bluth) in 1984, and Stern Electronics even delivered Cliff Hanger in 1983 — a Laserdisc game based on two Lupin III films. Otherwise, the time and production needed for these games, to say nothing of their high cost to players (50 cents, instead of 25) limited the genre’s spread.
Reynolds’ next project is also video game-themed: Free Guy, which Reynolds’ lead character is a hopeless NPC in a Grand Theft Auto-style game world, who starts fighting back. That’s due to premiere in July but, as with most everything right now, plans are TBA.