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Dungeons & Dragons Movie Finally Coming After Legal Settlement

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 05, 2015 6:59 AM

After years of litigation and decades of uncertainty, popular role playing franchise Dungeons & Dragons is finally coming to the silver screen. (No, we didn't forget about that 2000 disaster -- we're choosing to ignore it.)

Warner Brothers has announced it has the rights and a script for a D&D movie, which will take place in one of the game's most popular settings, Forgotten Realms. The announcement comes after a year of legal wrangling over a variety of issues, one being how to define a movie sequel.

Wizards of the Court

As it turns out, the legal rights to D&D movies is fairly complicated, and until a few days ago, seemed up for grabs. Here's a quick timeline:

  • 1994: A company called Sweetpea options D&D from a Hasbro subsidiary. The deal is for $15,000 and gives Sweetpea sequel rights, provided those sequels are produced in a timely manner.
  • 2000: Sweetpea makes and releases "Dungeons & Dragons."
  • 2005: Sweetpea makes and releases a sequel, "Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God," which premieres on the SyFy Channel.
  • 2011: Warner Bros. commissions a D&D script and offers Hasbro $5 million and five percent of the gross revenue for the rights.
  • August 2012: Sweetpea makes and releases "Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness," also on SyFy.
  • November 2012: Universal buys rights to D&D from Hasbro.
  • 2014: Warner Bros. and Universal go to trial over the D&D franchise.

Rolling the Dice

The main issue is whether the sequels were true sequels in the movie sense, and whether they had been made in a timely manner -- if so, Sweetpea still retained the movie rights and they were never Hasbro's to sell to Universal.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee wanted to hold off on that ruling and encouraged all parties to settle. Now that they have, Warner Bros. is ready to roll out a film based on the script by David Leslie Johnson, who also wrote "Wrath of the Titans" and produced by Roy Lee, who did "The Lego Movie." And we can't wait to see what they bring to life.

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