Dungeons & Dragons has kicked off “the Summer of Drizzt” with a new short, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, and a tease at various products where the legendary Drow ranger will soon appear.
Created by legendary author R.A. Salvatore in 1988, Drizzt Do’Urden is perhaps the most storied character in the Forgotten Realms setting. After appearing in the Icewind Dale trilogy, he starred in his own trilogy establishing his origin as a drow in the underground society of Menzoberranzan, and how he broke away from the evil ways of his people to live on the surface.
With Drizzt appearing in a variety of Wizards of the Coast products this summer, the company has produced a new short called Sleep Sound as a brief summary of his legend. Written by Salvatore and narrated by Cumberbatch, the short shows his homeland, his internal struggle, and his battles alongside his famous companions—the magical panther Guenhwyvar, Bruenor Battlehammer, Catti-brie, and Bruenor.
“Sleep Sound” debuted as part of a “All Things Drizzt” panel posted to YouTube today, hosted by B. Dave Walters of the Black Dice Society. Walters spoke to Salvatore about the character’s history and his upcoming book, Starlight Enclave, book one of the Way of the Drow trilogy, out August 3. Seeing the short for the first time made the author tear up.
“There’s something in Drizzt that we all have,” Salvatore said, speaking to the universal appeal of the character. “The fantasy genre in the eighties was mostly teenaged boys, right? Well, who in high school or junior high doesn’t feel out of place? How many people walk around thinking ‘if people just knew who I was they’d like me a lot more than they seem to like me,’ right? It’s just the human condition, so I think Drizzt has that. I just think it was nice for people to find the friends. What really makes Drizzt shine are the friends he finds.”
Walters also spoke to Jeff Hattem, studio head and creative director for Toque Games, the Montreal studio behind Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance. Drizzt and his companions will star in the upcoming co-op action brawler, out June 22. Hattem is a lifelong fan who worked closely with Salvatore throughout the development process to ensure the characters are represented properly. The story was developed collaboratively, set after the events of The Crystal Shard.
Rounding out the Summer of Drizzt is his appearance in the upcoming Magic: The Gathering set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. The first crossover set for the trading card game will feature known Forgotten Realms characters including Drizzt, Bruenor, and the spider-queen Lolth, all of whom were previewed during the panel by world building and narrative design director, Meris Mullaley. Lolth herself will be a planeswalker card, with a final ability costing 8 loyalty to reflect her status as an arachnid deity.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for new merchandising related to Salvatore’s legendary character this summer. Drizzt remains relevant still thanks to his core values—loyalty to friends and family, doing what’s right even when it’s hard, and the importance of living life fully, as well as how his tale highlights the fundamental harm caused by racism and bigotry.