How Dungeons And Dragons Director John Francis Daley Feels About Jarnathan, A Character He ‘Didn’t Expect’ To Make It Into The Movie

Jarnathan the bird in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
(Image credit: Paramoung)

Jarnathan-related spoilers for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves are ahead. If you haven’t seen the fantasy film, or want to relive the fantastical adventure, you can purchase the movie digitally. 

One of the reasons Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is such a fun film for both D&D fans and newcomers alike is the plethora of incredibly unique creatures that live within the world of the Forgotten Realms. Of these fun creatures, Jarnathan the aarakocra, a massive bird, has become one of the beloved characters in the D&D universe. Now, one of the movie’s, co-directors, John Francis Daley is opening up about his feelings about the giant bird who sits on the prison council, explaining that he “didn’t expect” the lovable character to make it into the movie. 

When the fantasy film Dungeons and Dragons made its debut on the 2023 movie schedule, many fans immediately fell in love with Jarnathan, the bird who only appears in the first and last scenes of the movie. Videos about him went viral on TikTok, and the directors posted many behind-the-scenes clips showing how they created the fan-favorite character practically. Since the bird was such a massive project for the movie, it cost a lot of money to make, and was a very silly idea, Daley told CinemaBlend that he was actually quite surprised the studio allowed them to keep Jarnathan. He said:

I mean, you said it, Jarnathan, was always so funny to us, a fan favorite of ours as we were making it. And the fact that we were able to create this probably multi-$100,000 character [laughs] with the name Jarnathan, and for it to survive the studio process and make it to the screen is is a feat that we didn't expect and are delighted by.

I think it’s safe to say that for just about anyone who has seen this movie, they’d agree that Jarnathan is a real highlight, and we’re all also thrilled the studio approved of the bird. Even though he's only in the movie for a few minutes, those moments are outrageous and intensely creative, and so many fell in love with him and the silly nature of the prison escape he unwillingly took part in. Even though it’s a small scene it's pivotal, and many fans fell in love with Jarnathan and his kind demeanor, like TTRPGuy who posted this viral TikTok:

@ttrpguy (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - TTRPGuy (opens in new tab)

The comments underneath this video reiterate the immense love for this big bird, as fans noted Jarnathan feels like “a throwaway side character that the players become overly attached to” during a campaign. There was also a lot of love for the silly name Jarnathan, and how the energy we get from this character captures the vibe of a real D&D game. 

Overall, Dungeons and Dragons has received great reviews, and audiences have had a blast entering this fantastical world. While the D&D cast is magnificent and the action is incredible, what really makes this such a fun movie is all the unique creatures, characters, and D&D Easter eggs that help immerse you into this unique realm that includes an amazing giant bird named Jarnathan. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso