With the new Dungeons & Dragons movie having just completed filming, as confirmed in a tweet by writer and co-director John Francis Daley, fans begin the long wait until its release in 2023. It’s a far longer wait than initially anticipated, given COVID-19 delays, and with such anticipation curiosity around the movie’s plot also builds.
Actors Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez will be at the helm, battling the confirmed villain Hugh Grant, and it feels only natural to wonder which iconic monsters the heroes will be facing off against.
10: Gelatinous Cube
One of the more impractical monsters in D&D history, the gelatinous cube has been a fixture of the game ever since its earliest incarnations. Categorized as an ooze, the monster is described as a transparent 10-foot cube made of a gelatinous substance capable of engulfing those in its way.
Most effective in dungeon corridors where heroes cannot escape its path, the cube is not often utilized in actual gameplay, but remains a classic foe nonetheless. If the big-screen heroes fail their Perception checks against a cube, they just might get trapped.
Although the owlbear can be one of the cutest monsters to come up against in a game of D&D if there are cubs present, the adults have a fierce appearance and violent reputation. As its name suggests, the owlbear combines the physique of a bear with the face and beak of an owl, allowing it to attack with the weapons of both animals, claws and beak.
First introduced in Greyhawk, a supplementary rulebook for the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons, owlbears have been a fixture ever since. With D&D’s 5th edition stating they can be tamed to varying degrees of success, there are plenty of opportunities for them to appear on-screen, whether as reluctant friend or foe.
Baring its teeth on the cover of the 5th edition Monster Manual, the Beholder is shown in all its glory. A spherical, floating creature, it has a large mouth and single centralized eye on its face, with additional eyes attached to stalks on its head that have the ability to shoot rays of different magical energy onto its enemies.
Traditionally inhabitants of the Underdark, one of D&D‘s most recognizable settings, the presence of beholders on-screen would not only prove challenging for the spellcasters of the party, but allow the story to extend into the cavernous world below the Prime Material Plane.
Also known as Illithids, the Mindflayers are monstrous humanoids with a distinctive magic that allows them to affect a target’s mind. They have an octopus-like head, with four tentacles that obscure a circular mouth filled with rows of teeth. Rather gruesomely, the brains of sentient beings are a part of their diet.
With a name already familiar to fans of Stranger Things, where it is used to label the show’s spider-like antagonist, the Mindflayer has already proved itself an unsettling name for an opponent. Within the movie, a Mindflayer’s otherworldly presence could help show the expansive nature of D&D‘s setting.
With pieces of mimic fan art proving popular and showing the monster’s versatility, the mimic seems a likely choice for an on-screen adaptation. They are shape-changing creatures with the ability to take on the appearance of inanimate objects, most often depicted as treasure chests, luring prey (and many an unsuspecting player!) to them.
While it stays in place, the mimic is indistinguishable from a true object it has taken the shape of, and with its reputation as a frustration to unaware adventuring parties, its presence within the movie would allow a similar feeling to be experienced by its characters.
5: Displacer Beast
With its appearance that of a huge black cat, the Displacer Beast initially calls to mind a black panther, but the comparisons stop when considering its six legs and the two tentacles that curl back from its shoulders, which end in spikes.
In addition to this, the Displacer Beast uses an illusion that makes it appear to be standing apart from its actual location, making landing attacks on it difficult. With its uncanny appearance and signature ability, the Displacer Beast would make for a visual spectacle on-screen.
Though they have a reputation for being low-level monsters used when players of D&D are first starting out on their adventures, the Kobold remains one of the most iconic in the role-playing game’s extensive catalog of monsters.
As tiny lizard-like humanoids, they seem a far cry from the Dragons they share draconic blood with, but in more recent years, the introduction of the Kobold inventor and the ability for characters to play as them in Volo’s Guide to Monsters has somewhat broadened their limitations, and on-screen they would be immediately recognizable.
Undead creatures who seek to live on and defy death, Liches are spellcasters who have used necromancy in order to store their soul in a magical object called a phylactery. Given that killing a Lich’s body is not enough to destroy it, they can be tricky to defeat, and they have access to all the magical knowledge they had as a living person.
With their ability to rise again and their near-immortality, the Lich could prove useful on-screen as a re-occurring enemy to the movie’s heroes, or else as a goal of the villain’s.
2: Red Dragon
Synonymous with the Dungeons & Dragons name, the Red Dragon features not only on the ampersand of the game’s current logo, but also on many of the early edition’s rulebook covers. Using its mighty fire breath, the Red Dragon has the potential to reduce a band of heroes to skeletons in no time.
Its presence on-screen would surely allow it to become one of the coolest dragons in movies, while also providing the movie with what could be a satisfying large-scale battle that has a real connection to the movie’s source material.
A Dungeons & Dragons game wouldn’t be complete without the threat of a Tarrasque, the most challenging opponent the Monster Manual has to offer. Built like a mighty scaled dinosaur, this fifty feet tall, seventy-foot-long creature has resistance to most magics and a truly staggering amount of Hit Points.
With D&D lore stating that only one Tarrasque is thought to exist, and considering its truly devastating power, it seems somewhat unlikely that such a mythical creature would appear in the movie, but then again, it would certainly make for a cinematic and dramatic moment.