Confused about the Dungeons & Dragons movie trailer? We break it down for you, Digital News


It’s monsters and magic galore for the next Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) movie with the first trailer dropping at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22.

And based on reactions online (media included), the trailer is a hit with overwhelming praise directed at how up close it captured the chaotic energy of a D&D adventure party.

Narrated by the charming Chris Pine, the trailer positions the film as a heist movie gone wrong as our protagonists “helped the wrong person steal the wrong thing.”

Now that’s something everyone can relate to, especially for D&D players. If you’ve played long enough, you’ll find that you can be overprepared, but things rarely go your way.

Surprisingly, or maybe it was a calculated move, the trailer dives straight into the action and showcases many familiar creatures, abilities, and spells from the source material without bogging it down with convoluted fantasy lingo.

And if you’re confused by all the glowing effects and explosions, or if you failed your Intelligence test, here’s what you need to know.

Who is playing what?

Some of Hollywood’s hottest stars are in the film and while not much information has been revealed about all the roles, we do know that Chris, Michelle Rodriguez and Simon “I-burn-for-you” Basset Rege-Jean Page plays Elgin, Holda and Xenk respectively.

British actor Hugh Grant is poised to be a villain, but he’s only part of it, as the Red Wizards (more on that later) are also pulling the strings.

As for their classes (what you might know as Warrior, Mage, or Ranger), this cast montage says it all. If you watched the video, you might notice a symbol next to the actor’s name and it shows us what he is representing.

Here is the list (in order):

  • Chris Pine – Bard
  • Michelle Rodriguez – Barbarian
  • Rege-Jean Page – Paladin
  • Justice Smith – Sorcerer
  • Sophia Lillis – Druid
  • Hugh Grant – Thief

Who’s the bad guy?

While Hugh Grant is considered the traitor to the group, according to the official synopsis, the real villains are the Red Wizards of Thay. They make an appearance in the trailer towards the end where our heroes fight against a red-robed cultist.

They have a long history in D&D lore, but to cut to the chase, they’re a notorious group of evil spellcasters associated with necromancy and liches.

Fun fact, Vecna ​​- now a household name thanks to Stranger Things 4 – is one of D&D’s greatest villains and was a lich who ascended to godhood.

Fantastic creatures and what are they

What would a fantasy film be without its creatures? On the contrary, what would D&D be without dragons? It’s literally in the name.

The very first creature featured in the trailer is a black dragon. Dragons are a little more complicated in D&D lore because not all dragons are good.

Dragons are classified as chromatic (the best known are red, black, blue, green, and white) or metallic (such as gold, silver, copper, brass, and bronze). The former are bad and the latter are good.

Each type of chromatic dragon is also associated with a specific element and for black dragons it’s acid – and it’s the steaming stream of goo you see raining down on the battlefield.

Other iconic creatures are also making an appearance and here’s what we saw:

  • Owl
  • Mimic (chest with fangs) – a shape-shifting predator that can take the form of inanimate objects to attract prey and is nearly indistinguishable from the original
  • Gelatinous Cube – a slimy, cube-shaped creature that traps prey within its body and slowly digests it
  • Displacer Beast – a six-legged panther-like otherworldly creature with tentacles


Wow, shiny magic

Now for the fun part – maybe more for D&D players – where we identify the spells and abilities used in the game.

Given that the Red Wizards are such a key part of the story, it’s no surprise that magic is heavily integrated into the action sequences.

In a scene where people are bouncing off a force field, it looks like Shield. While it temporarily increases your in-game armor, making you harder to hit, the movie seems to use it differently.

After all, some D&D elements may not translate well to the big screen unless some creative liberties are taken.

Alternatively, it could be another spell called Wall of Force which evokes an invisible wall preventing any passage.


And if you haven’t already noticed, the D&D spell names are pretty literal.

Shortly after, we see what looks like a spell being cast as time stands still. That’s kind of exciting because it’s most likely Time Stop – a powerful high-level spell that doesn’t see much play as most games don’t go that far.

When Rege’s massive sword begins to glow with runes, it’s likely a spell called Holy Weapon or a paladin ability known as Divine Smite. Both have similar visual effects, but what fans might be more excited about is the latter, as it’s what Paladins are best known for.


The bear-owl transformation is called Wild Shape and is the signature move of the Druid. Generally speaking, the ability allows them to transform into different types of animals, not just owls.

Although this caused minor controversy among fans as, according to the official rules, druids cannot transform into owls.

We also see, in quick succession, a lightning spell and a fire spell. Of course, there are a plethora of spells associated with these elements, but the most popular are Lightning Bolt and Fireball – both of which have been a common gag among longtime players.

So, we’re willing to bet a pretty penny that’s what it is.


The fire-blocking shield, however, could very well be Shield or Wall of Force in play, but it could also be a creative use of another common spell called Counterspell. As its name suggests, it cancels the activation of a spell.

Finally, the cultist in red can be seen teleporting to the top of a building in a misty swirl and while it may look like generic magic effects, it’s undeniably Misty Step.


That’s about all we can say about the trailer, but we think it’s a lot to start with, especially for those only vaguely familiar with D&D because of Stranger Things.

However, if you’re curious to know more about these classes and spells, check out D&D Beyond as it’s pretty much the official digital database.

While the trailer was a hit with fans — racking up 16 million views in three days, more than half of what the Warcraft trailer has to date — we’re cautiously optimistic.

After all, the first film adaptation in 2000 was a disaster, and video game film adaptations traditionally haven’t been great either (looking at you, Assassin’s Creed).

So hopefully this latest adaptation bucks that trend and gets a natural 20.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will hit theaters on March 2, 2023.

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