According to Joe Manganiello, the Dragonlance series of novels and adventures is the closest that Dungeons & Dragons comes to Star Wars. Speaking to Todd Kenreck on Kenreck's YouTube channel, the Justice League actor talked about the Dragonlance novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, which happens to be one of his favorite series. "When people ask me what Dragonlance is about, it's Star Wars," Manganiello said of the book series. "It's tonally closest to Empire Strikes Back. It's big, it's epic fantasy. It's constructed in a way that's closest to Star Wars."
Originally published in 1984, the Dragonlance books initially star the Companions, a group of old allies who meet after a five year absence and quickly find themselves drawn into an epic war with the fate of the world in the balance. Throughout the books, the Companions grapple with the potential costs of saving the world from great evils. "The grand arc of the first six books is would you will be willing to sacrifice the thing that matters the most, whether that's your loved one or your twin, to save the world," Manganiello said. "Who wouldn't be moved by that?"
While Dragonlance is an epic fantasy series, the books are also driven by the complex relationships between the various characters, especially the twin brothers Caramon and Raistlin and the love triangle between series protagonist Tanis, the elven princess Laurana and the warrior Kitiara. "There are some really great relationships in Dragonlance," Manganiello noted. "You know you don't get the level of romance in something like the Avengers that you do in Dragonlance. That's very captivating - they offer a soap opera quality in a good way."
After a lengthy absence, the Dragonlance series is returning for another trilogy of books, the first of which is due out later this year. Details are scarce about the plot of the new trilogy of books, but they are likely the harbinger for a Dragonlance resurgence, as Manganiello hinted that Wizards of the Coast is also working on bringing back Dragonlance as a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting.
"Whatever you think Dragonlance is about, it's a story about family and in the bonds that tie us to blood. And also to friends and what that means, and love and loss," Manganiello noted of the core themes of the series. "There's so many great ideas and relationships in those books."