Why The Dungeons & Dragons Movie Isn’t Copying Jumanji’s Story Formula

Writing and directing duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley explain why the Dungeons & Dragons movie isn’t copying Jumanji’s story formula.

Though carrying similar aesthetics, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have good reason for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves not copying Jumanji‘s story formula. The duo are co-writing and directing the latest take on the beloved tabletop game, now focused on a ragtag group of thieves out to stop an ancient evil from being unleashed after inadvertently helping it happen. Chris Pine is leading the ensemble cast for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves alongside Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith, Regé-Jean Page and Sophia Lillis, among others.


As the film’s release nears, Total Film (via CBR) caught up with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley to break down Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. When asked about not copying the Jumanji story formula of bringing players into a game, the writing/directing duo explained their decision from wanting to stay true to the source game while also craft a story that can exist on its own in the genre without its IP. See what the two explained below:

Goldstein: We wanted to create a movie that could stand on its own, even if you stripped away all the fantastical elements; a movie that could work in another genre. Like how Homecoming was a John Hughes high-school film with superpowers, this started off as a heist movie gone wrong. That felt like a great campaign for a troupe of less-than-perfect characters to engage in. And then we just added all the accoutrements of the world of D&D.

Daley: It’s so very Dungeons & Dragons [to be in the heist-movie genre]. It’s the theme of many campaigns.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves – Cast, Trailer & Everything We Know

The Jumanji Route Would’ve Hurt The D&D Movie

Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves movie

Since coming on to the project, Goldstein and Daley have frequently expressed their desire for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves to be as authentic to the game as possible. One of their biggest directives in doing so was figuring out how to actually adapt the source material’s lore, with Goldstein assuring that everything portrayed in the film is from the game. He did also admit, however, that there will be some lore changes in their living by “the rule of cool” as they try to deliver the most exciting adventure possible.

With the marketing’s push to highlight the film’s humor, there have been some concerns that the jokes in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves willl insult both the game and its longtime fans. However, Goldstein and Daley’s decision to avoid the Jumanji story formula actually shows their desire to avoid doing such. Much of the humor behind the recent Jumanji movies was derived from self-aware jabs at video games and character tropes rather than organic situations from the adventure at hand.

Additionally, though the Jumanji movies establish rules for how to survive, the stakes of knowing it’s all a video game leaves little-to-no ripples on the real world. By setting Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves‘ story entirely in its eponymous world, it better establishes the scale and potential for future projects to explore without simply pulling human characters back into a game. Only time will tell if this route connects with audiences when Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits theaters on March 31.

More: Dungeons & Dragons’ Movie Has To Include Something Truly ImprobableSource: Total Film (via CBR)

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    Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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