Plus, they tease that fans might know the red dragon in the trailer.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, and producer Jeremy Latcham have revealed the red dragon in the movie’s trailer is a known figure in D&D lore. During an exclusive interview with Collider’s own Steven Weintraub, the trio also discussed their approach to designing the scaly creature for the highly-anticipated adaptation of the popular tabletop game.
After the failed film adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons starring Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans, and Thora Birch, we were all afraid of another cinematic attempt to recreate the wonders of playing D&D. To our surprise, the first trailer for Honor Among Thieves is nothing short of amazing, teasing a story that honors the D&D tradition and uses many fan-favorite elements of the game. The trailer is loaded with Easter eggs and nods to the game developed by Wizards of the Coast, and it also features a magnificent red dragon.
Discussing the process that led to such a faithful design for the red dragon, Goldstein told us that the design process began with deep research of everything Wizards of the Coast created over decades. As Goldstein puts it, “We have very specific descriptions and specifications of what each dragon is, and [there are] so many of them.”
While the team behind Honor Among Thieves is sticking close to the game, they also wanted to add a little flair to it. In Goldstein’s words, “we have a red dragon in this, and so we started with what comes out of the books and all that, but then we added our own sort of twist.” As Daley adds, the twist comes from the need to amaze people, regardless of their background. The director explains:
“People love dragons, people love dinosaurs, they love these big, mammoth creatures. And we knew we needed to make it something that sets itself apart a little bit from what people are used to. And because it’s D&D, we have the license to do that because it’s all about finding that unique aesthetic. So, we’re excited.”
How Will Dungeons & Dragon: Honor Among Thieves Sticks to Dragon Lore?
Fans don’t need to worry about Honor Among Thieves departing from the canon, as Wizards of the Coast supervised the whole dragon design process to ensure it would fit the canon. As Latcham told us:
“They are kind of like real wizards. No, they were very involved though, in the actual design of the dragon. It was tremendously weighed on a ton of stuff in the lore, but the dragons themselves, there was so much lore-specific stuff about exactly where the fin goes and exactly how the thumb works.”
While that’s all very interesting already, Daley also added a small detail that should catch D&D fans’ attention. The co-director said that “our hero dragon, our red dragon, is actually based on a character in the lore, so we’re not totally deviating from what people want.” It’s funny that he would refer to a red dragon as a “hero.” In D&D lore, there are two major families of dragons. Chromatic dragons, such as red dragons, are usually evil-aligned, vain, and greedy creatures who spread destruction wherever they go. They are opposed by the metallic dragons, who are usually good-aligned and honorable.
While nothing prevents a red dragon from being heroic, that would be a rare anomaly. And since Daley says their red dragon is part of the official lore, it’s hard to think of a single example that would fit that description. The most famous red dragon in D&D lore is Ashardalon, a benign obsessed with immortality who does whatever he can to extend his life span. Not too heroic, we would say. I guess we’ll spend the next couple of months reading obscure lore and trying to figure out who is the movie’s “hero red dragon.”
The adventure begins when Dungeons & Dragons hits theaters on March 3, 2023. Don’t forget to make constant Perception checks to catch more of our interviews with the movie’s directors.