The 1980s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon featured six kids from our world who are transported to a place called “the Realm” where they’re given magical items by a mysterious Dungeon Master, and befriend a unicorn foal called Uni. For three seasons, they tried to find a way home while thwarting the villainous Venger and five-headed dragon Tiamat, but ultimately were defeated by declining ratings before the story reached a conclusion. Next year, that story will continue in a four-issue miniseries from IDW Publishing.
“In celebration of its 40th anniversary,” says the publisher’s website, “IDW will bring back the heroes of this cartoon classic in March with the new four-issue comic book miniseries, Dungeons & Dragons: Saturday Morning Adventures, a thrilling ‘lost episode’ charting new territory in the world of D&D by writers David M. Booher (Canto), Sam Maggs (Rick and Morty Ever After), and artist George Kambadais (John Carter of Mars)!”
This won’t be the first time an answer has been offered to the question, “What happened to those kids from the cartoon anyway? Did they ever make it home?” Which has been nagging at the back of the brains of anyone who saw the show, which was syndicated and repeated around the world, for decades now.
Baldur’s Gate 2 offered one possibility. Examine the back wall of the Adventurer Mart in Athkatla and you’ll find paintings of two characters from the show, and examining them rewards you with an explanation that concludes, “Word has it they died horribly at the hand of the dragon Tiamat.” Another dark possibility was suggested in a promotional comic from 1996 called Forgotten Realms: The Grand Tour, which depicted the protagonists as a band of middle-aged losers still unable to find their way home. (And moved them from “the Realm”, with four suns, three moons, and a bunch of floating islands in its crowded sky, to the less outlandish Forgotten Realms setting.)
The closest thing to an official resolution was a scripted finale by one of the series’ commissioned by the production company, which was recorded in radio-play format for a limited DVD release. Fans have since turned that script into an animation assembled using footage from the show. Somewhat further from canon was the kids’ appearance in a Brazilian car commercial for Renault’s Kwid Outsider (apparently Brazil is one of the countries where the series was big in syndication).
IDW’s comic book doesn’t seem like it’s following any of those versions of events, however. The summary says, “Hank has made a startling discovery: Despite the dangers, Sheila, Bobby, Diana, and the others aren’t so sure they want to go home after all!”
Sam Maggs, one of the comic’s writers, said, “As a lifelong D&D fan, it is an absolute dream to get to work reviving a childhood classic. It’s been such a blast working with IDW and the fine folks at Wizards of the Coast to home in on what made the Dungeons & Dragons Saturday morning cartoon such a cult favorite. Setting these characters up for a whole new run of stories has truly been a career highlight, and I hope fans will love seeing Uni (well…all our cool kids, but especially Uni) back in action as much as I do!”