Someone left a thoughtful comment on the Cohost! posting of this Grumbleflap post.
For my own peace of mind, I’m putting my reply here.
Thanks! I keep thinking about Marvel, too. It seems like the most obvious comparable. It’s a deep lore product that’s jumped media in recent years, and successfully shifted its public persona, if you will, from niche to mainstream. And I definitely think that Hasbro wants it to make that jump. And Hasbro, despite not being an entertainment brand itself (it’s no Disney, or even Paramount, or even Sony), it’s for sure a non-trivial player in the entertainment space even if we look at just GI Joe, My Little Pony, and Transformers. I think it’s pretty clear that Hasbro wants for D&D what it has for a lot of its other product lines: the core thing, plus entertainment, plus–as you say–more merchandise revenue, plus whatever else it can spin out from that.
Something I think Hasbro will struggle with (and, which, taking a long view, even Marvel struggled with) is finding a way to translate its core elements into something appealing for consumers beyond its core. For instance, I don’t think the MCU really was possible much before the early 2000s, if only because the tech to make most Marvel look plausible on a movie screen. With D&D the struggles on that particular front won’t be so bad, but finding a way to translate some of their campaign books into entertaining movies might be difficult because (for all I know) they don’t have that talent in-house, and they’re not really a movie studio. So will they find themselves in an awkward position, with some weird agreement with a movie studio that they can’t get out of, and D&D struggles in the media space?
I don’t know! But I feel like Hasbro would serve those spin-off goals pretty well by planning to ramp up D&D adventures in serious way. Marvel Studios might be the major leagues, but the comic books are (I feel) a necessary farm system for future movie elements. How would that mesh with my assumptions about the walled-garden side of things? Who knows?