Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Right IP for a D&D Movie

Zak S over and Playing D&D with Pornstars posits that WotC needs to add some new IP to its D&D stable to leverage movies. He is utterly wrong.

The Dragonlance Companions
1) It's not WotC's business role to develop IP for movies, so regardless of our desires, what he proposes is fairly unlikely to happen. It's a nice idea, but I think it's unrealistic. Hasbro probably has a corporate media office for this kind of thing.

Also Zak has defied all business logic by stating that Wizards can "afford to not make money" on D&D. Because in his fantasy world businesses don't need to make money.

2) WotC/Hasbro already has an IP it can leverage for the purpose of a movie (and it doesn't even require the D&D lawsuit to be settled, technically). 

Before you roll your eyes, I'm going to put it out there because I think it merits thoughtful discussion (No, it's not Drizzt).


No, seriously. Dragonlance has some really compelling reasons it could be shaped into an awesome movie IP. Forget the crap-tastic animated version you may already know and walk with me down this path.

1) It features non-white lead protagonists. Cast Native American actors as Riverwind and Goldmoon. Throw Elmore's interpretations out the window (Seriously... White people in Native American dress? What was TSR thinking?). The Que Shu tribe is analogous to any number of American Plains Indians.Take advantage of this to illustrate multiculturalism in D&D (as opposed to Lord of the Rings).

Goldmoon & Riverwind by Keith Parkinson
2) It features strong female leads. Goldmoon, Laurana, Tika... These are women that can wield a sword, staff or frying pan (on a goblin's head) if needed. Make sure the script features these women leading, as they do in the novels, not just as sidekicks to the men. 

3) It has an ensemble cast. Humans, Elves, Dwarves... Kender may be potentially problematic to the the resemblance to existing Tolkien IP, but I'm not sure Tas is a required character. This will no doubt incur a lot of wrath from Dragonlance fans, but I think the novels might be better off without the little-person "comic" relief. 

4) It has deeply flawed characters, which is good for inter-pesonal drama. It features true love (Riverwind and Goldmoon as husband/wife), blossoming love (Tika / Caramon) as well as love triangles and broken hearts (Tanis / Laurana / Kitiara) and sibling rivalry (Caramon and Raistlin). Everything you need for drama among the characters. Keep what you want, cut out what doesn't work for the story.

Idris Elba as Heimdall in Thor: Dark World
5) It has fantastic monsters. Dragons, goblins, orcs, ogres... Whatever you want on the big screen to make it ooze fantasy.

6) It's a trilogy (with a shite-load of side content) that can be mined for at least 3 movies, and numerous possible spin-offs if it is successful.

7) Dragonlance can be marketed as "Dragonlance" if the lawsuit over D&D movie rights fails.

The Golden General standing
over a fallen Companion
8) Make Sturm black. This one might get some push back, but think about how white-washed so much of fantasy is and how cool it would be to also have a strong black leading man in this role. Although Sturm is depicted as white in Elmore's work, so is everyone else. Sturm is descended from Lady Enid Di Caela (as in Castle Di Caela) in central Solamnia. The naming conventions in this area of Solamnia suggest medieval Spain as inspiration (or perhaps Italy), both of which had their share of Moorish descendants living within.

How about Idris Elba? He made a bitchin' cool Heimdall. When I think of Sturm now, I often picture the Darius character in  +Table Titans. If not a black man, how about a Spanish actor at the very least?

Final Thoughts

Ok, so you might say "Dragonlance has been done before..." and my answer to that is "No, it hasn't."  Get a real director with real vision, good script writers, and don't put out some half-CGI, half-cell animation piece of crap. With the the right people, you might actually get a good movie out of it. This IP has potential to be a real winner if put into the right hands.

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Other Owlbear musings