Who Is the Villain of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves?

Hugh Grant might be playing a rogue in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, but there's a growing suspicion that his character is connected to a more powerful enemy rooted in D&D lore. Although Paramount Pictures gave fans a first look at Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves last week, there's still a lot we don't know about the movie. For instance, it's unclear exactly who or what the villain of the new movie is. Although reports (and SDCC interviews) indicate that Hugh Grant is one of the villains of the film, we don't know much about his character Forge Fitzwilliam other than he betrayed the movie's adventuring party and seems to have become a Lord of Neverwinter while the adventuring party was in prison. Grant has been very cagey about his character in initial interviews, stating that he joined the film because of the strength of the script and citing its unique sense of humor.

Also in the fray are the Red Wizards of Thay, a powerful group of mages who wish to end all life on Toril and transform the Forgotten Realms into a place of the undead. The Red Wizards make multiple appearances in the trailer, holding a mysterious red horn and fighting Chris Pine's Edgin and his allies in multiple scenes. At the very least secondary antagonists in the movie, but there are indications that their leader, the undead lich Szass Tam, could also make an appearance. If Edgin and his friends accidentally handed over a "world-ending" artifact over to the Red Wizards, it seems certain that Tam is involved somehow.

Most notably, the trailer also shows one of Tam's loyal followers – the Red Wizard Dralas, who is played by Jason Wong. Dralas is the spellcaster who uses "Green Flame Blade" in the movie and seems to be in a fight scene with Rege-Jean Page's paladin character in the Underdark. Dralas (or someone related to Dralas) is actually already in Dungeons & Dragons canon, having appeared in several D&D Adventurer's League adventures released alongside the 2018 adventure Tomb of Annihilation. In those adventures, Ethra Dralas is a Red Wizard sent by Szass Tam himself to collect necromantic energy to unleash an elder god upon the world to kill all life on the planet. While Ethra is a female Red Wizard, we've already seen the Dungeons & Dragons movie take some liberties, and the common name is too much of a coincidence. 

We may have already seen Szass Tam in the trailer, as there's a shot of a Red Wizard using the mysterious horn artifact while surrounded by black-robed followers. We'll also toss out the theory that there could be more to Grant's character than meets the eye. As we noted before, Grant was very cagey about giving any details about his character during SDCC interviews, citing a Paramount Pictures email that warned him about giving away any "spoilers". What if those spoilers include Grant's true loyalties – either as a secret agent of the Red Wizards or perhaps as Szass Tam himself? It would certainly make sense for a lich to be the true villain of the movie, and a lich can easily set up a sequel, as players would need to destroy the magical artifact that houses a lich's soul in order to kill them once and for all. 

Obviously, this is all conjecture and theories at this point. However – the Red Wizards are one of the few major Dungeons & Dragons villains who have not been the antagonists in a 5E campaign book. It's certainly possible that Wizards of the Coast decided to hold the classic foes back for a Dungeons & Dragons film (and the subsequent movie tie-in adventures, of course.) Szass Tam is also iconic enough to appeal to established D&D fans while being easy enough to explain to new fans without much issue. 

Right now, all we know is that Hugh Grant is a rogue and that the Red Wizards are also in the film, opposing the heroic adventuring party at what seems like every turn. We won't get any real answers until Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is released on March 3, 2023.