Ever since the first trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves revealed itself in its goofy, sometimes quippy glory, there’s been a question about if the marketing was hiding some meta elements. While recent TTRPG hits like Critical Role have played things straight, being meta is still fairly common when tabletop-inspired media hits the mainstream. Think about how many TV shows in the last few years have had a not-D&D episode and frequently cut to the characters playing the game.
The writing/directing duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein was asked about this by IGN over the weekend, the pair confirmed that there’s no meta in Honor Among Thieves. While it was something the pair talked about at one point, they opted to not break the fourth wall. “This is not Jumanji,” said Daley. There’s so much fun to be had just in the world of D&D that we didn’t have to bring it into our world and show kids playing.”
Goldstein added that it would “limit the absolute scope of this world if we were to sort of put it through the lens of a game being played.” But while the film won’t show ordinary people playing the game, the directors tried to echo the popular game by calling back to the game’s mechanics and adhering to the rule of cool. “All the spells and monsters and creatures that they come across are authentic to the lore, but we definitely took some liberties to give you the most action-packed fun that we could.”
All things considered, Goldstein and Daley probably made the right call with playing things relatively straight. Fourth wall breaks aren’t always pulled off well and it would end up just undercutting whatever stakes the movie wants to have with its assortment of heroes and villains in both film and eventual TV form.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves comes to theaters on March 31.
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