“Transformers” producer Tom DeSanto has struck a deal with the estate of Gary Gygax — co-creator of “Dungeons & Dragons” — to oversee the Gygax catalog of published and unpublished works.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, which would have been Gygax’s 78th birthday. His widow Gail Gygax reached a deal for DeSanto to become the “guardian of the library.”
DeSanto told Variety that he’s already discovered several potential “universe” projects among the unpublished works and expects to find a home for at least one by year’s end.
“Gary Gygax is one of those names that belongs alongside George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry as storytellers whose influence reached around the globe and through generations,” he said. “I’m excited to work with Gail and honored to bring these new universes to the global audience in the way that Gary captured hearts and minds of the planet with ‘Dungeons & Dragons.'”
Gygax was best known for co-creating with Dave Arneson the pioneering role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons,” which was first released in 1974.
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DeSanto has producing credits on the four “Transformers” movies and the first two “X-Men” films. Gail Gygax noted that DeSanto is a longtime participant in role-playing games, having played “Dungeons & Dragons” since he was 11.
“Gary always envisioned his works becoming reality in film/television and beyond,” she said. “Tom’s track record speaks for itself, but I was impressed with Tom’s enthusiasm for Gary and as a longtime RPG gamer. Tom DeSanto is the perfect storyteller to bring Gary’s works to life. He is a true fan.”
Gail Gygax started working with Gary in 1983. Gail and Gary married in 1987, and collaborated until Gary’s passing in 2008.
DeSanto said, “I really can’t wait to share with fans what has been discovered in the unpublished works, it is mind blowing. The same way I loved ‘X-Men’ and ‘Transformers,’ and was able to introduce those universes from a fanboy to a global audience, the Gygax universe has that same sleeping dragon potential. I can’t wait to get to work and find studio or network partners who understand the global power of Gary Gygax.”
DeSanto is featured in the book “30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons” with fellow “D&D” fans Vin Diesel and Stephen Colbert. He owns more than 40,000 comic books.
DeSanto brought “X-Men” to director Bryan Singer and co-wrote the story with Singer for the first film in the franchise, which opened in 2000, and was part of the creative team for “X2: X-Men United.”
DeSanto and fellow producer Don Murphy also developed “Transformers” and set the project up with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks and Paramount. The first film grossed more than $700 million worldwide in 2007 and has led to four more pics with “Transformers: The Last Knight” currently in production. Paramount is planning a June 23 release.
DeSanto is represented by Lawrence Kopeikin and Kevin Yorn at Morris Yorn.