We may be in an unprecedented time of TV cancellations, but Paramount and Hasbro (under production company eOne) are going hard on turning Dungeons & Dragons into a multiplatform franchise. There’s already a D&D movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, set for release this year, but before the studios even figure out if it will be a hit or not, they’ve greenlit an eight-episode TV series as well from Red Notice director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who wrote the pilot script and is set to direct the first episode.
The show has been in the works for a while at eOne, with Thurber coming on to produce the series nearly a year ago. It didn’t go up for sale until recently, but once it did it reportedly attracted a lot of heavy bidding from interested streamers. Paramount+ won out, continuing the relationship between the two companies in producing a plethora of toy- and game-related content including Transformers, the aforementioned D&D film, and less successful attempts like Battleship. The show has been ordered straight-to-series, showing confidence from Paramount. They’re hoping they’re jumping onto a franchise that is about to explode, with eOne focusing heavily on it and planning to launch a collection of shows that will create an entire D&D universe. It’s unclear if the films and shows would connect in any way, but given the wide scope of Dungeons & Dragons, they really don’t have to.
The bigger question is if anyone is really looking for yet another grandiose fantasy franchise, even if it is one that helped establish half the fantasy tropes that exist. Paramount is clearly thinking that this can be its Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, but it’s unclear how much actual hype there is for an adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons as a TV show. While the game might be the best-known tabletop RPG, it’s still a tabletop RPG and the die-hard audience for it is pretty niche.
Still, an established fantasy franchise isn’t something to turn one’s nose up at, and clearly, Paramount+ is hoping to roll a 20 with this one.