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Ryan Reynolds, Netflix firing up live action version of arcade classic Dragon’s Lair

By Benjamin Bullard
Ryan Reynolds

We knew he could do more than Pikachu. The world could use the swashbuckling heroics of a good old-fashioned knight these days, and thanks to Ryan Reynolds, it looks like one of the 1980s’ most popular arcade games is about to get its crack at staging a live-action and long-awaited comeback.

Deadpool’s sass-mouthed star is reportedly set to produce and act in a new movie adaptation of Dragon’s Lair, the ahead-of-its-time arcade classic that featured the Conan-like Dirk the Daring as the knight who slays the dragon, rescues the princess, and saves the day. In the long memory of nostalgic ‘80s fans, Dragon’s Lair still commands big respect, featuring prominently among the classic cabinets populating the retro arcade where the Hawkins kids congregate in Season 2 of Stranger Things.

The original Dragon’s Lair felt like a technical marvel when it first hit arcades back in 1983, leaving the graphics of its 8-bit competitors in the dust by using pre-rendered animations instead of real-time pixel art. With animation provided by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth (who also directed or co-directed non-Disney hits like An American Tail, All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Anastasia), Dragon’s Lair had people lining up to wait their turn for a run through Dirk’s brief but action-packed quest to rescue Princess Daphne from the vile clutches of the dragon Singe and Mordroc, the evil wizard.

Netflix says Reynolds is in talks to star in the live-action feature as Dirk the Daring, working off a script by Lego Movie and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collaborators Dan and Kevin Hageman. Bluth himself, who’s long been trying to fund a movie version of the iconic franchise he co-created with Dan Molina (the voice of Dirk in the original game), will reportedly co-produce the movie alongside Gary Goldman, Jon Pomeroy, and Reynolds through his Maximum Effort label.

There’s no word on when we could see Reynolds’ new take on Dragon’s Lair hit the small screen, nor on who else is under consideration to round out the cast, but we’ve got a pocket full of quarters and we’re already rarin’ to take up our swords again. Thankfully, the game itself is available to play everywhere from the Nintendo Switch to Steam to the iOS App store, so there’s plenty of time to bone up on our dragon-slaying history from the comforts of home while we wait for the movie version to arrive.