It’s no secret that Dungeons and Dragons has made a significant return into popular media after its recent inclusion in hugely popular shows like Stranger Things and Critical Role. It’s thanks to these, and so many other passion projects, that D&D has become much less of a taboo topic and more of a welcomed piece of pop-culture.
KCR was able to cover San Diego Comic-Con including the Hall H panel for the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves film. Not only that, I was able to experience the Tavern Experience that came to downtown San Diego as a promotion for the 2023 movie.
When I realized the D&D movie panel was going to be one the first day and held in Hall H, the largest hall at the SDCC Convention Center, I was excited to say the least. After sitting with an older woman who was dressed as a character from the 1999 cult-classic film The Mummy for two hours, the panel finally started. Being an avid fan of the tabletop roleplaying game already, I was cautiously optimistic to see what the creative team had to present to the audience of 6,000 people piled into that one room. What they had to showcase was entertaining, to say the least.
So after the creative heads make their entrance on the stage they introduce the cast… I was not even remotely prepared for the caliber of talent they have for this movie. The proceed to announce Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant making his Comic Con debut. You could tell the moment they hit the stage that everyone in the cast was excited to be a part of this project, even Hugh Grant despite most of his answers to questions showing that he may not be entirely sure what Dungeons and Dragons is.
The end of the panel released a trailer for everyone in the hall that would then be released to the public after the panel was over. In addition to that there was a QR code for everyone in attendance to experience the D&D Tavern Experience without having to wait in line! A chance to pretend I’m in a fantasy bar and I get to a dragon themed drink, sign me up!
Once I followed the address to the correct location, I was staring at this massive building with large wood pillars and a giant logo for D&D; I think I made it to the right spot. When it was my turn to enter the tavern I was awestruck by just how much detail and effort was put into the whole experience. There were skilled bartenders, workers dressed in knight armor, and even a few cultists! Not exactly sure if they were working there or not, but it added to the atmosphere for sure.
When I received my drink I quickly realized that it was just a Moscow Mule with some added color, but it did not take me out of the experience for a second. The staff gathered everyone around to take part in a bar chant and the faces everyone made while doing it was hysterical. It was so nice to see so many people who clearly enjoyed this fandom and realizing that they are not only allowed to enjoy this game but that it is getting its own movie too was such a surreal experience.
As much as I wanted to stay in that tavern forever, a black dragon attacked everyone and the staff had to usher everyone out (between you and me, I think the dragon was just a cover so that way people weren’t waiting outside to get into the tavern forever). As much as I would love to recommend this to everyone reading to go and experience first hand, the tavern has already been stripped down and was gone before the last day of Comic Con. Hopefully, the tavern will make a return when the movie hits theaters in March 2023.
The main reason I wanted to write about this experience is to reassure anyone who may be hesitant about trying something new or experiencing something just because people tell you it is boring or a waste of time. If you are able to find enjoyment in something or you want to try something that people have deemed lame, just go for it. You may not be seen as cool for a little while, but who knows, maybe your interest will get its own movie starring Chris Pine. Try something new and grab life by the dice.