Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves clip shows a nod to the D&D cartoon

A new Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves teaser clip brings forth the classic 1980s D&D animated series party of characters.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves pays tribute to its roots, as a new clip reveals the party of characters from the classic 1983 animated series.

A new Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves brings forth the classic 1980s D&D animated series party of characters. (Images: Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro and Paramount Pictures)

The series was one of the first major multimedia projects based on Dungeons & Dragons. It introduced the concepts of the roleplaying game created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson to generations of audiences. And it helped break away from the "Satanic Panic" controversy that plagued the Dungeons & Dragons brand in the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

Even years after Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro acquired D&D, the cartoon remained popular worldwide through re-runs despite having a total of only 27 episodes. Adding a fun homage to the classic animated series brings credence to the overwhelmingly positive reviews of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

The clip shows Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant) serving as the ringmaster of the arena where the heroes, led by Edgin (Chris Pine), must navigate a maze. The scene has a similar vibe to the scene from the MCU's Thor: Ragnarok (2017) with Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster on the planet Sakaar.

But they will not be alone, as two other adventuring parties are also there to participate.

While the first group looks like a generic band of adventurers, the second one has a striking resemblance to the main characters of the Dungeons & Dragons animated series from 1983. The costumes are accurate to the ones worn by the kids Hank the Ranger, Eric the Cavalier, Diana the Acrobat, Shiela the Thief, Bobby the Barbarian, and Presto the Magician. The main difference is that these adventurers are adults.

Those guys look familiar! It seems the characters from the 1983 Dungeons & Dragons cartoon have grown up.

But there isn’t much time for the parties to introduce themselves, as the maze will also be filled with dangerous creatures, such as displacer beasts and gelatinous cubes. Fortunately, there are also chests with weapons that can be found littered in the maze, but at least one is a mimic which attacks Holga (Michelle Rodriguez).

Interestingly, this is not the first time that the classic characters from the animated series appeared in the Forgotten Realms setting. In 1996, TSR, Inc. (prior to being acquired by Wizards of the Coast) published a limited edition comic.

Titled Forgotten Realms: The Grand Tour, it was written by Jeff Grubb with art by Todd Fox, Steve Kurth, Steve Mitchell, and Les Dorscheid and a cover by Blas Gallego. The story has the now-adult kids from the animated series seeking the archmage and Chosen of Mystra, Elminster Aumar. The story implies that the events of the animated series occurred in the Forgotten Realms.

Easter eggs based on the Dungeons & Dragons animated series have also appeared in video games. In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, there are pictures of "great heroes" in the Adventurer's Mart (the two pictures are Hank and Bobby). Plus, in Dungeons & Dragons Online, the Fear Factory quest has an optional section where players can encounter undead versions of the cartoon characters.

But is the arena the only Easter egg fans should expect in the film? Could the main villain of the animated series Venger or the Yoda-like Dungeon Master also appear? Could this lead to a live action remake of the animated series as part of the Dungeons & Dragons cinematic universe being planned under Paramount+?

The characters from the D&D animated series have made other appearances, including Dungeons & Dragons products, supplements, and video games.

According to rumors, there are more nods and fun references to real-world Dungeons & Dragons connections for fans to keep an eye on in the film’s two-hour runtime. As the official synopsis reads:

A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves brings the rich world and playful spirit of the legendary roleplaying game to the big screen in a hilarious and action-packed adventure.

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves heads into theaters on March 31, 2023.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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