Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ Best Easter Egg May Remind You of a Much Weirder Time


Despite its cast of modern stars, including Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez, the movie Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves throws back to the game’s heyday in the 1980s. In addition to cameo appearances by a gelatinous cube and the green-flame blade, Pine’s bard Edgin Darvis and Rodriguez’s barbarian Holga Kilgore pass by a notable sextet.

Viewers of a certain age might recognize the six fellow adventurers as Hank the ranger, Eric the cavalier, Diana the acrobat, Presto the magician, Sheila the thief, and Bobby the barbarian. Fans first met these six heroes in 1983, when the cartoon show Dungeons & Dragons premiered on CBS. Produced by Marvel and TSR, publishers of the game guidebook, Dungeons & Dragons ran for 27 episodes across three seasons.

As shown in the opening that ran with each episode, the six heroes were regular teens in the real world who boarded a Dungeons & Dragons roller coaster, only to find themselves transported into the fantasy world and given weapons. Guiding the heroes is the dungeon master, a kindly wise man voiced by Sydney Miller, and their pet unicorn Uni, voiced by Frank Welker. Along the way, the heroes battle against the forces of Venger (voiced by Transformers‘ Peter Cullen), an evil wizard and son of the Dungeon Master. The series also featured appearances by the five-headed dragon Tiamat, one of the most notable monsters in Dungeons & Dragons lore.

Adding to the richness of the show was a creative team far above what one normally found in Saturday Morning fare. Animation from Japanese studio Toei Animation gave the show a more fluid and dynamic look than many of its competitors. Even better, Dungeons & Dragons had an impressive writing staff, beginning with lead developer Mark Evanier, a protegee of Jack Kirby and veteran of comics and tv. Other writers included Steve Gerber, creator of Howard the Duck, and Paul Dini, co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series.

While these creatives helped make the show a success, Dungeons & Dragons unsurprisingly met with a great deal of controversy. Throughout the 80s, conservatives in the U.S. framed the game as a gateway to witchcraft and child murder, thanks in part to the sensationalist movie Mazes and Monsters, starring a young Tom Hanks. Although Hank the Ranger’s voice actor Willie Aames would go on to be the Christian superhero Bibleman, church groups regularly decried the influence of Dungeons & Dragons on young minds.

Evanier and his team did not shy away from the controversy, and regularly received condemnation for the “violent” nature of the cartoon show, although these complaints would have come from conservative critics regardless of the show’s contents. That said, as a one-time church kid who snuck around his parents to watch Dungeons & Dragons during its original run, I have to admit that the show did scare young me. The episode in which zombies burst into a room demanding that the heroes leave their beds had me peeking out from the covers for years.

No dark forces threatened the cartoon team when they made their cameo in Honor Among Thieves. Instead, the six heroes broke away from Edgin & Co. to enter a cage, which allowed them to win the stage and move on.

The post Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ Best Easter Egg May Remind You of a Much Weirder Time appeared first on Den of Geek.

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