Hollywood producer Tom DeSanto has dismissed his $30 million lawsuit against Gail Gygax, the widow of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax, Kotaku has learned.
DeSanto, who produced X-Men and Transformers, had been in talks with Gail Gygax for eight years about how to capitalize on Gary Gygax’s intellectual property, including his name and likeness. In 2016, they signed a deal which, as DeSanto claims in his lawsuit, gave him “the exclusive right to develop and exploit the Gygax IP in all media, including film, TV, video games, merchandising and licensing, either by himself or through third parties.”
In 2018, DeSanto sued Gail Gygax for breach of contract. According to the suit, he claimed that she violated their agreement by moving to produce a video game with the company Fig based on the first dungeon that Gary Gygax had designed, Castle Greyhawk. He also claimed that she didn’t have the rights to Gary Gygax’s IP to the extent she claimed. For her part, Gail denied this and says she never meant to give DeSanto rights to Gary’s whole library.
“Unfortunately, my lawyers and I discovered troubling facts about the Estate which prevented me from executing my plans for the Estate,” said DeSanto in a comment to Kotaku. “The dismissal was without prejudice and the interest in the Estate I negotiated for is still on the record. I remain and will always be a great admirer of Gary Gyxax and mindful of his legacy as an icon in the gaming world.”
Reached for comment, Gail Gygax told Kotaku that “I always believed Tom was using the lawsuit as a tool to extend or change the terms of his contract. I’m glad it’s over. Its time to for everyone to move forward. That’s what Gary would have wanted.”
Kotaku profiled Gail Gygax earlier this year. DeSanto’s lawsuit is the fifth she has battled since her husband passed.
[Update—4:21 pm ET]: This article has been updated to include Gail Gygax’s comment.