Casting the Dungeons & Dragons TV Show

Last week +Patrick Stuart wrote about randomly recasting Star Trek over at False Machine. I thought that sounded like a lark but as I'm not much of a Star Trek fan (please put down your pitchforks), I decided to do the same with the cast of the as-yet-imaginary Dungeons & Dragons television series.

The idea of a D&D series is kind of a joke and yet at the same time I can't image another period in the history of media when - if done properly - this could actually turn into a real thing. With shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Once Upon A Time, and more superhero-inspired programs than you could shake the corpse of Thomas Wayne at, why couldn't a D&D show work? Hell, it looks like a Magic: The Gathering movie is in the works, and I cannot possible imagine that not sucking. So why not throw some money at a few episodes of Dungeons & Dragons? Someone thought Dads was a good idea.

Warning: My vision of a D&D show is going to be pretty dark and gory, veering into Splatter-Elf territory. It will be on a major cable channel with more sex and violence than you could ever get away with on network television. This is not going to be a Xena: Warrior Princess or Hercules: Legendary Journeys type of deal (though both were fine shows that I enjoyed very much). And it's certainly not going to be whatever the hell those crap licensed D&D movies were that have come out the last few years. I didn't even know there was a third movie until two days ago when I went to look up the name of the second terrible film.

I decided when casting that I would not use anyone who has appeared on Game of Thrones. That would be too easy. I'm also trying to avoid anyone from the Harry Potter movies. I don't want everyone to have quasi-English accents, whether real or imitated. Like any good game of D&D, this should be a hodgepodge of weird stuff.


Jonathan Banks as Sir Brador

Brador is The Leader of the Badass Crew, an old knight who has fought in more wars than he can count. He's a Tragic Hero who once knew fame and glory but has fallen on hard times, and is now little more than a beggar and a drunk. He has a Dark Secret - some terrible crimes he committed in the past that he refuses to speak of but for which he also holds no remorse. He is called back to action by the Baron of Gutslinger to defend the realm against an usurper king with promises of great wealth and a restoration of some of the old man's lost prestige. The Baron may also hold some secret over Brador's head that he uses to manipulate the gritty warrior.

Brador is gruff, fearless and cold. He refuses to pick up a sword but will stab a man in throat with a dagger in a heartbeat. When he finally does don his full armor and wields his sword late in the first season, it should be a huge moment of bloody glory.

Emily Blunt as Tasty Sugarbush

Tasty is an Action Girl who swerves dangerously close to a Dark Action Girl. A master thief and assassin, she sometimes plays the Femme Fatale to get close to her targets, but she never becomes the Damsel in Distress. She's usually the one who has the save the rest of the group when they get into a tight spot.

Tasty has a weird and uncomfortable relationship with Brador, where there is both romantic tension and a grudging father-daughter relationship. This should provide lots of fuel for twisted fan fiction until they hook up in a later season (if they both survive that long).

Joe Manganiello as Bluto the Berserker

Bluto's job is just to fuck stuff up. He's like the Hulk in the Avengers, the embodiment of Unstoppable Rage they don't unleash unless they have to, but when the shit hits the fan the party just points him at the bad guys and tries to avoid the blood spatter. He'll get all the best action scenes, and lots of bad puns and one-liners when he lops off heads. He'll of course also get lots of sex scenes, where he fucks like a stallion in heat.

Noomi Rapace as Bainthaureth the Elf

While elves in most stories are arrogant and act slightly superior, Bainthaureth is a full-on elf supremacist. She knows that elves are better then everyone else and is not afraid to remind everyone she meets. She is a fierce warrior and killer that can also use magic and is completely oblivious to the emotions and well-being of others. She's a Dark Chick and Racist Grandma all rolled into one.

She is forced to join Brador's cause in episode 2 or 3 when the Big Bad invades her forest and murders a large number of her clan. She tries to kill the rebel king on her own but can't get close to him, and thus has no choice but to become an uneasy ally to the party.

Jordan Prentice as Hamhock the Dwarf

(I kinda wanted Warwick Davis here, but I had to give a Canadian a job.)

At first Hamhock seems like a dwarf stereotype, drinking and fighting and spitting, but he ends up playing against type and turns out to be a genius inventor and cunning intellectual. He's the "Q" type character the other characters turn to when they need special equipment or tricks for getting into the enemy stronghold.

Hanhock can also keep up his end in the fight, and becomes good friends with Bluto as the brute takes a liking to the little man and looks out for him. Of course this will lead to a heart-wrenching moment when one of them dies in the other's arms at some point before Season 1 is over.

Steve Buscemi as the Baron of Gutslinger

The Baron is charged with keeping the king's peace and putting down the Big Bad (the true King himself is never seen on screen in Season 1). The Baron the head of a Decadent Court, a creepy, sniveling and physically weak Caligula-type, which is why he hires our "heroes" to do his dirty work for him. He's also a sexual deviant and has an unhealthy obsession with at least one of the female leads, and a secondary plot line through Season 1 involves him coming up with convoluted schemes to try and hook up with her.

Christopher Lambert as Thromboné the Wizard

(Yeah he's not a great actor and he's made some terrible movies, but he will never burn up the goodwill from the original Highlander in my book. Not even the Highlander sequels did that.)

Thromboné is the wise old Gandalf-style Eccentric Mentor that provides guidance and insight to the party and may-or-may-not cast some awesome explosive spells depending on the budget. He's kinda shady and untrustworthy, not to mention a blood relative of the Big Bad, so all signs point to him betraying the others in the first season finale. The big twist of course is that he doesn't. He saves that for season 2.

Colt Cabana as The Fitzbibbons Brothers

(You knew I was going to include a wrestler somewhere.)

Colt plays the Big Bad's flunky, a bumbling but cruel and shockingly violent thug. Sort of a one-man Quirky Miniboss Squad, he provides some comic relief but will surprise the audience by successfully murdering one of the main cast in a gruesomely brutal way in the mid-season finale. The joke of course is that Colt will get killed himself every two or three episodes and keep coming back with a different haircut as another one of the Fitzbibbons Brothers or cousins (and possibly even a very homely sister in one episode).

John Leguizamo as the Big Bad

Leguizamo is the rebel king of Dyzkovenia, an Evil Warrior Prince rousing the unwashed masses and inspiring a revolt against the Crown. In public the Rebel King is charming and silver-tongued, but around his closest advisers he is a bloodthirsty lunatic and sadistic monster. Leguizamo would be encouraged to chew the scenery like a motherfucker.


Bruce Campbell as the Warlord Autolycus

Autolycus appears in a couple of episodes as an old, curmudgeonly barbarian warlord who controls a swath of land near Gutslinger and Dyzkovenia. Both the Baron and the Big Bad try to sway him and his army to their side, and his decision will determine the outcome of the final battle at the end of the season.

Taye Diggs as Sylverius

Sylverius is a rival mercenary who has an antagonistic but grudgingly respectful relationship with Brador. He'll cross paths with the party a couple of times, but mostly we just want to introduce him as a potential regular cast member for Season 2 if (when) we kill off some of the main cast.

Katee Sackhoff as Gothweniel, Bainthaureth's Mother

Unfortunately Gothweniel will have to die in the second episode, but maybe we can get Katee to come back from time to time for guest spots as a ghost.

And of course, she's going to go down in a bitchin' blaze of glory.

Marilyn Manson as the Voice of the Grumblesnatch Shaman/Chief

Sure, why the fuck not?

Grumblesnatch is the place holder name for the goblins/orcs/trolls/bugbears/whatever will be the cannon fodder baddies in the first season. Hey, maybe we'll just go with Grumblesnatches for the hell of it. Brador's party will kill ALOT of these little bastards over the course of the season, eventually culminating in a battle with the Shaman/Chief in the later half.

Jewel Staite as Mistress Brumhilde

Brumhilde is the owner of the tavern often frequented by Brador's band, The Violent Mime. She's also the madam of the local whorehouse and has her fingers in seemingly every criminal activity in the area. Yet despite her shady background, she's surprisingly sweet and harmless. Or at least appears so. She always shows up with several fluffy pet cats. More of her background may be revealed in Season 2.

Christopher Lee as the Voice of Trogdor the Dragon

It's a crime that Count Christopher, Lord of Death Metal wasn't the voice of Smaug. We will rectify that here. And this time the dragon will actually kill some of those fuckin' dwarves.

So that's my dramatis personae for Season 1. Who would you cast in a D&D TV show?


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