The Dungeons & Dragons Movie Casts 'Charm Actor' on Michelle Rodriguez and Justice Smith

Michelle Rodriguez in Fast & Furious 9 and Justice Smith in All the Bright Things, respectively.
Michelle Rodriguez in Fast & Furious 9 and Justice Smith in All the Bright Things, respectively.
Image: Paramount/Netflix

The Fast & Furious franchise and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu stars failed their Wisdom saving throws, and will now star alongside Chris Pine in the upcoming film adaptation of beloved role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.


If you’re not up on your wizard spells, I’m not knocking Michelle Rodriguez and Justice Smith—who’ve joined the movie, as noted by the Hollywood Reporter—although given the cinematic disaster that was the 2000 adaptation, you’d be forgiven for thinking this new D&D movie might be another low-budget disaster. However, Hasbro has been rather determined lately to turn its various intellectual properties into Hollywood blockbusters, so at worst it’s likely going to be a very expensive disaster.

I’m having a real tough time guessing which character class Rodriguez is going to play, but magic missile to my head, I’d say some sort of thief. Smith, on the other hand, I can easily see in wizard or cleric robes.

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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.



So my big question is, do they do it as a portal fantasy like the old cartoon, maybe with D&D players pulled into the game (product placement!), or as a straight epic fantasy set in a totally realized secondary world?

It seems like there are a lot of pitfalls to the second approach, because there are a number of canonical settings to choose from, though unlike a series of novels, there’s no real story to speak of. (There are tie-in novels set in the game worlds, but those aren’t the same thing.) At the same time, it seems like movies based on RPGs just don’t do very well — see the original Dungeons & Dragons movie and WarCraft. Of course, D&D sucked for a variety of reasons. (I haven’t seen WarCraft, though I remember William Gibson liked the Orc stuff for its Richard Corben influences. Then again, he and Duncan Jones are pals.)