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‘Dungeons & Dragons’ directors break down trailer’s rocker Chris Pine and Hugh Grant’s bad guy

A dashing Regé-Jean Page, Michelle Rodriguez swinging a flaming axe, Chris Pine as an unlikely medieval rocker, Hugh Grant(!), and enough fantastic beasts to make the Harry Potter offshoot look tame. The first trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieveswhich debuted at Comic-Con Thursday, has so much to discuss — including a long-sought answer to the question: what the heck is this movie about anyway?

EW sat down with directors John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldsteinand producer Jeremy Latcham prior to the grand trailer reveal to discuss it all.

“It’s a group of very different people — some of ’em not even people — coming together essentially for a heist,” Daley tells EW in an interview. “So it starts as a heist movie and then it becomes something much greater when they realize the stakes are much, much bigger than what they’re after. It’s them facing the reality of being better than what they ever thought they could be to essentially save the city.”

“It was important to us to have characters who reflect the kinds of characters that you have when you’re on a campaign in the game,” Goldstein adds. “You roll for the various characteristics and you don’t always roll a 20. And so our characters clearly roll four on certain aspects of their personalities.”

The trailer sets the stage for what appears to be a high-fantasy adventure. “We’re a team of thieves,” Pine’s bard character Edgin Darvis says. That means that, sometimes, these thieves make enemies. And “sometimes enemies look for revenge.” Cut to a giant dragon belching devastating sludge onto a battlefield.

“He is a storyteller and incredibly charismatic and a planner,” Daley describes Edgin. “That’s his greatest strength, I would say: being able to put together a plan, and when that plan fails, being able to put together another one. He’s not so much a fighter. He lets his compadre, his sister in arms, do a lot of the grunt work and the fighting.” That would be Rodriguez as Holga Kilgor, a barbarian.

The basic set-up feels close to what the Critical Role Dungeons & Dragons gang started out with for their campaign for The Legend of Vox Machine. The movie focuses on a band of thieves who really like to drink. They “helped the wrong person steal the wrong thing,” Pine narrates, and ended up unleashing “the greatest evil the world has ever known.” Now they need to work together to put the proverbial (or maybe literal) genie back in the bottle.

Dungeons &  Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Paramount Pictures

They need the muscle (Holga), courage (look no further than Page’s paladin), magic (cue Smith’s half-elf sorcerer Simon), and a tiefling druid named Dorig (IT and Sharp Objects star Sophia Lillis) who can go berserk by wild shaping (aka shapeshifting) into an Owlbear.

Holga, Goldstein explains, is a barbarian who’s basically been booted out of her tribe for falling in love with a non-tribe member. “And then that relationship went south,” Goldstein adds. “And so she’s got a lot of baggage she carries with her.” That love was not with Edgin. They are lifelong platonic friends, Goldstein clarifies.

Smith’s character comes from a long line of wizards but does not have a lot of confidence. “He has to learn to grow into his own and become the great sorcerer he was destined to become,” Daley says.

Page’s character is “the ultimate paladin,” Latcham notes. “He is holy, smart, on point, just very, very determined, and does not love the vibe of some of the other people in the group because he’s a very moral man. He represents the player who takes it too seriously.”

“As you start to love these characters and realize what their strengths and weaknesses are, they really do kind of fill in each other’s gaps in a way that is profound and so exciting for us,” Latcham adds.

Dungeons &  Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Paramount Pictures

So where does Grant fit into all this? He gives off Jeff GoldblumGrandmaster vibes as he stands over a giant gladiatorial arena in which our heroes/thieves are forced to do battle against all manner of creatures. Grant plays Forge Fitzwilliam, who was once a member of the core team of thieves back in the day but has since become the lord of Neverwinter when the movie begins.

“He turns out to be one of the bad guys,” Goldstein mentions.

A couple of the monsters D&D players will recognize include a Gelatinous Cube and a Displacer Beast. The trailer also sees a giant maze that holds, among other things, a Mimic — something that looks like a chest full of treasure but is really a beast that won’t hesitate to bite your hand off.

Prior to the trailer reveal, Paramount set up a Dungeons & Dragons tavern experience for Comic-Con attendees in San Diego, that included first looks at all the main movie characters and a gallery of monsters. The only creature absent in the trailer that was also in that gallery was a Beholder, the floating beast with many eyes, so it seems safe to assume one will be showing up in the movie.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is scheduled to hit theaters next year on March 3, 2023.

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