Today in extra-nerdy information about the new Dungeons & Dragons film, co-director and co-writer Jonathan Goldstein shared a behind-the-scenes picture of Dragon Cultists waiting in line for the porta potty. Not the most flattering image, sure, but the costumes do look appropriately Cult of the Dragon-y, and we can use this information, along with what we’ve seen in the film’s trailers, to suss out some information here... or at least speculate a bit.
First, we’re dealing with the Forgotten Realms here. They’ve got their talons set in Faerûn, with a couple strongholds on the Sword Coast and Moonsea. That doesn’t really matter, but there was some speculation about the exact setting of the film. Second, the Cult of the Dragon reveres dragons, obviously, and spends a lot of time allying itself with dragons and dragon-like creatures, like kobolds and the yuan-ti, in an attempt to exact control over the continent. There’s a lot of visual tie ins between these Cult of the Dragon folks and art in the 2014 sourcebook, Hoard of the Dragon Queen.
Beyond this Cult of the Dragon teaser, the biggest hints about the new D&D film have come from its trailers. We’ve seen three dragons so far: a black acid dragon, a red fire dragon, and an animated stone statue dragon. Additionally, we saw someone receiving a red-and-black horn of some kind which helped unleash “the greatest evil the world has ever known,” which is... threatening. Then, in the most recent trailer, we learned that red wizards (who got the horn) created an army of the undead.
Combining all this—Cult of the Dragon, lots of dragons in the trailer, an evil artifact, and an undead army—we’re left with only one option for the defender of the BBEG (that stands for Big Bad Evil Guy in D&D parlance), and likely the surprise final fight: a dracolich. If you look at the poster associated with the film, they show it... right there, actually. It just took us (me, it took me) this long to put it all together.
Dracolichs are dragon-spirits that can possess any corpse but are especially suited to re-animating the bodies and skeletons of dragons. Their soul has to reside in an item or artifact—in this case, that’s very likely the horn we see throughout the trailers. They are considered one of the beings that help lead the Cult of the Dragon, and they are specifically referenced in the Second Edition D&D Sourcebook, Cult of the Dragon. So yeah, spoiler alert, if you see a shambling undead dragon in the new Dungeons & Dragons film, you can tell your friends you knew it all along.
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