With a cinematic release just two months away, Paramount Pictures has released a fresh action-packed and goofy-but-fun trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The trailer has already racked up more than 8 million views on YouTube, which bodes well for the movie’s box office reception.
As we’ve reported previously, Honor Among Thieves is set in the hugely popular Forgotten Realms campaign setting. The film’s official premise is short and sweet: “A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people.”
Said charming thief is Elgin, a bard, who is played by Chris Pine. To defeat the evil that’s been unleashed in the world, he’ll need the strength of Holga, a barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez); courage from Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), a paladin; and magic thanks to Simon the Sorcerer (Justice Smith). Then there’s Doric (Sophia Lillis), a tiefling druid who can transform into a ferocious owlbear, which comes in handy during a fight. Pine envisions himself as the “planner” of the group and the player of the lute. The cast also stars Hugh Grant as Forge Fitzwilliam the Rogue, Daisy Head as the Red Wizard of Thay, and Jason Wong as Dralas. Cast members from the D&D web series Critical Role (which spawned the animated series The Legend of Vox Machina) will also make cameo appearances.
Paramount Pictures delighted D&D fans at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con with a panel and the first official trailer. That trailer, set to Led Zeppelin, leaned hard into the humor and camp, which can certainly work in a fantasy adventure setting. Grant likened the tone to Monty Python during last year’s panel, but I noted at the time that the trailer also had “some of the cheesy irreverence of, say, A Knight’s Tale.” I (still) consider that a good thing; it’s in keeping with those informal moments of irreverence that one finds in an actual D&D campaign.
That same tone is preserved in this latest trailer, which gives us a bit more information about the plot and showcases the colorful group dynamics—the key to any successful campaign. And, of course, there are plenty of Easter eggs for D&D players to discover. The trailer opens with Holga and Elgin about to be executed. “OK, chop it off,” Holga says with remarkable equanimity. That’s because she has a plan: beating away the armed guards while Elgin… tries to cut through his rope-bound hands by rubbing them on some stone stairs, which aren’t nearly sharp enough for the job.
As before, we’re told that Elgin and his fellow thieves helped “the wrong person steal the wrong thing and unleash the greatest evil the world has ever known.” Cut to an evil personage that looks a lot like Vecna, a classic D&D character currently enjoying some mainstream fame thanks to Stranger Things. But the party’s immediate formidable adversary seems to be the Red Wizard of Thay. Xenk provides some backstory about the Red Wizards, who created an undead army. Simon tries out a bit of irony, which doesn’t sit well with Xenk, who says, “I find irony is a blade that cuts he who wields it and most especially.” Xenk is clearly the group killjoy, but he’s also impressively competent and fearless. Those are good attributes to have when battling a Red Wizard, an undead army, and various magical creatures brought forth by said wizard.
We also learn a bit more about Elgin, namely that he lost “everything that ever mattered to me,” punctuated with a brief glimpse of his wife and daughter in happier times. So for him, “There’s worse things than dying,” and he’s determined to see the quest through to the end because otherwise, what was all that sacrifice for? Elgin does find himself in a tight spot at one point, and Forge isn’t likely to offer assistance. “I don’t want to see you die,” Forge says. “Which is why I’m going to leave the room.”
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits theaters on March 31, 2023, after debuting at the SXSW Film Festival on March 10. An eight-episode spinoff TV series has already been ordered and is intended to be the cornerstone of several projects that complement the film.
Listing image by YouTube/Paramount Pictures