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A timeline of the Dungeons & Dragons movie dispute in 2013

The ongoing battle between Sweetpea Entertainment and Hasbro over the Dungeons & Dragons movie rights is hurtling toward a trial. Here's how it all started.

Way back in the heyday of TSR, Gary Gygax and Flint Dille were shopping around the Dungeons & Dragons film script to Hollywood. Dille was then CEO of TSR Lorraine Williams' brother, and Dille was Courtney Solomon's friend. It seems Solomon's relationship with Dille was key in acquiring the Dungeons & Dragons film rights when he had no experience in the industry, which is how Sweetpea Entertainment ended up producing three awful Dungeons & Dragons movies. The last two movies were direct-to-TV and, by all accounts, were made so that Sweetpea could eventually create a television series. The franchise seemed dead, until Warner Bros. claimed it acquired the Dungeons & Dragons movie rights in May 2013:

The studio is actually quite far along in the development of the project, as it will use a script by Wrath Of The Titans and Red Riding Hood scribe and Frank Darabont protege David Leslie Johnson. That script, Chainmail, was acquired last year as a free-standing project, based on an obscure game that was also hatched by D&D designer Gary Gygax before he and Dave Arneson launched D&D. It is being retro-fitted to fit the much bigger game creation. The film will be produced by The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon. The latter actually directed a 2000 Dungeons & Dragons feature, a film that starred Jeremy Irons and did not do well.

Modeling its transmedia strategy after Marvel's enormous success in bringing its characters to the big screen, Hasbro followed suit with its game properties, including Dungeons & Dragons:

...the toymaker company has set up the project at Universal to be developed as a directing vehicle by Chris Morgan, the scribe behind the last five films in The Fast And The Furious franchise (including the upcoming Fast 6) and 47 Ronin.

This inevitably led to a showdown over the film, in which Hasbro sued Sweetpea, and Sweetpea countersued. In a tentative ruling on January 17, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee denied certain of Sweetpea Entertainment’s motions for summary judgement:

A California federal judge on Friday pared down Hasbro Inc.'s copyright infringement lawsuit against production company Sweetpea Entertainment Inc. over a proposed Dungeons & Dragons movie, but said a jury would have to decide if the unproduced film's script violated Hasbro's rights.

The trial date has been sent for March 25.

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