Dragon’s Lair: The Legend “Animated Storyboards”

Of the many game franchises that I find myself loyal to, Dragon’s Lair generally climbs to the top of the pack. I guess it is because of not only the beautiful animation done by the Don Bluth Studio but if I’m being honest the original arcade game debuted at the right time in my youth, a time when I was absolutely fascinated by Knights and all things chivalrous.

For many, many years it’s been reported of how during the peak of the Dragon’s Lair craze, Don Bluth tried in vain to get the money to back a feature length motion picture featuring a more darker tale of how Dirk the Daring came to find himself on the quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Daphne…well, it turns out that an 8 minute “animated storyboard” was produced to entice investors to the project.

That VHS surfaced with a very interesting history thanks to Brendon Zeidler who has uploaded the tape on YouTube and announced the find on dragonslairproject.com: “I recently acquired a VHS tape that was given from Don Bluth to Gary Gygax (the president of TSR -the company that created the role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons). It was given to Mr. Gygax in 1984 and they are now liquidating his estate.

The tape consists of the attract mode and full games for Dragons lair, Space Ace and Dragons Lair 2 (although DL 2 is unfinished and it plays to opera style/classical music instead of dialogue with intermittent black and white full motion sketches).

At the end of the tape there is an 8 minute segment with storyboards, professional narration and music for the full length movie they had planned entitled “Dragon Lair The Legend”. Truly amazing!

The story consists of how Dirk and Daphne met in addition to Mordrocs’s origins as well as his transformation into Strun (Dirk’s warrior nemesis) as well as Singe . The artwork is very definitely Bluth and I can’t tell, but the narrator sounds a lot like the narrator for the games. The story appears to be a conglomeration of DL, DL2 and Sea Beast. It appears to be about 90% complete so it ends right before Dirk slays the dragon. I assume it was never finished.

To date, these storyboards and the accompanying story from 1984 have not surfaced and as far as I’m aware, Don Bluth had misplaced them. Bluth did create all new paper storyboards for their planned movie in the early 2000’s which he unveiled at CGE 2001″

A huge thank you to the Inside the Dragon’s Lair documentary Facebook page for the heads up on Brendon Zeidler’s incredible purchase!

Fan of Dragon’s Lair? Why not check out the Retroist Dragon’s Lair podcast…


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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