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Honor Among Thieves' Directors Claim Sports Films Have Prepped Non-Fans For D&D

Live-action "Dungeons & Dragons" film "Honor Among Thieves" is garnering a positive reception on Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its March 31 theatrical premiere. Some of the reviews for "Honor Among Thieves" are specifically praising the fact that it manages to adapt the intricacies of its source material's fantastical universe without alienating audience members who may be entirely new to the world of "D&D."

In advance of the release of "Honor Among Thieves," YouTuber Tessa Smith interviewed co-directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley about the film on her channel Mama's Geeky. About 2:38 into their discussion, Smith asks Goldstein and Daley how they managed to incorporate terms and lore unique to "D&D" in a manner that confused neither her nor a friend of hers with zero "D&D" knowledge going in.

"I think it's kind of like any good sports movie," Goldstein replies. "You don't have to be a player of that game to understand what's going on in the movie and to appreciate it. And I think we took the same approach. Yes, there's a lot of terms and places and creatures and all that, but we always wanted to make sure that if you knew absolutely nothing about 'D&D,' it wouldn't stop you or hinder your enjoyment of the movie."

While "D&D" may practically be sports' cultural inverse, Goldstein's approach, of course, tracks, given how frequently sports movies resonate with wider audiences than just fans of whatever sport they may feature.

Accessibility to wider audiences has always been a priority for Goldstein and Daley

Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley began discussing how "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is meant to be enjoyable to viewers unfamiliar with "D&D" well ahead of the film's release. In a July 2022 interview with Inverse, for example, Goldstein described "Honor Among Thieves" as a story he wants both hardcore "D&D" fans and those brand new to the property to appreciate in equal measure.

"We always did a proper noun check to make sure that we didn't bog the audience down with too many references," Daley said. "Everything is pretty true to the lore as much as it can be without being a detriment to the film."

In this manner, then, "Honor Among Thieves" seems to function akin to, say, the recent success of Apple TV+ smash hit "Ted Lasso." Just as viewers unfamiliar with the finer points of soccer can still appreciate the human drama playing out on the soccer field during games in "Ted Lasso," so too should outright newbies be able to grasp the broader fantasy adventure in "Honor Among Thieves" without a working knowledge of "D&D" lore.