Joe Manganiello On How “Stranger Things” Boosted D&D’s Popularity

Stranger things have happened in D&D

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Actor Joe Manganiello has become the Hollywood face of Dungeons & Dragons over the past few years. He is an avid D&D player and in fact has his own D&D hub in the basement of his house where he invites fellow celebrities and close friends to play the game. Other than that, he is also credited with participating in popular D&D themed show Critical Role while also helping write certain D&D adventures.  Recently, he spoke to at the San Diego Comic Con and gave his point of view towards modern pop culture and its connection with D&D. 

“I think Stranger Things hitting the zeitgeist the way that it did, becoming as popular as it did in mainstream culture so that the mainstream was asking those questions, ‘Well what is that and what are those kids doing?’ Oh, is that Dungeons & Dragons? How do you do that? What is that?’ And so I think that really helped." He continued his point of view by adding "Then I think the other side of it is I think when people see that maybe people that they didn’t think played, openly saying that they did, I think that just eradicates the stigma.”

It is clear that Joe's love for D&D is immense and his points above are quite interesting. It is worth noting how accurate he is when he says that Stranger Things, thanks to be set in 80s, gives the youth of today a decent exposure of the game while also eliminating the (minimal) negativity that runs among people today.


Joe also talked about his basement D&D hub and remembered his chilhood D&D memories in the interview. Here is what he had to say: 

“Nowadays I’ll go to studio meetings with executives and I’ll walk in and we’re there to talk about some project and they’ll close the door and then make sure it’s locked and they’ll come over and say, ‘So I used to play Dungeons & Dragons when I was a kid. ‘Do you think I could come over?’ It’s like people are coming out to me in secret, but I think it’s fun because when I was a kid, if you said you played, you were opening up the door to scrutiny that maybe you did not want to invite in, that you were maybe gonna get into a fight on the playground. I definitely stood up for kids that played. I definitely stood up for myself. There were fights that I got in, arguments that I got into over it because it had this weird stigma and I’m glad to see that that’s been lifted and I’m glad, I’m happy to think that I had something to do with it.” 

Currently, the American actor is promoting his movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot after having helped Wizards of the Coast include his Critical Role character Arkhan the Cruel in D&D's newest adventure Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

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