If you love Tolkien’s Melkor you may as well love Vin Diesel – because he does

In a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show New York actor Vin Diesel (again) proved his geek street cred. It has been known for quite a few years that the action star of blockbuster series like The Fast and The Furious, xXx and Riddick has been an active Dungeon & Dragon player for decades. He was even asked to write the foreword to the 30th anniversary publication on D&D called 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. One of the characters he played in D&D was Melkor, a witch hunter drow with spellcasting abilities.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Tattooed across the stomach of Xander Cage (Vin Diesel’s character) in the 2002 movie, xXx, is the name “Melkor”, which Diesel explained (on the Conan O’Brien Show) is the name of one of his old D&D characters. Quoted in: ‘Dragon’ magazine #320, p. 33.[/su_pullquote]Vin Diesel is a man of many talents. He used to be a breakdancer and bouncer in New York City but it is his love for the roleplaying classic Dungeons & Dragons which makes him stand out of the crowd of action stars in the last couple of decades. It was with Dragon magazine issue #320 -the 30th anniversary special issue- that this became more widely known to the public. Or rather with this interview

he gave with the Conan O’Brien Show in 2003 in which he confessed to playing D&D for 24 years, starting in the 70’s. In a D&D forum it was added that this drow was a “double specialised” char, i.e. in early versions of the game you could do this – hinting at how early Diesel started playing.

In xXx, one of the most successful action films in recent years, Diesel played alongside Celeborn -or rather Marton Csokas- and had a huge tattoo below his belly button: MELKOR in Schwabacher script (?) capitals. Interesting for me to see the “German” connection; I also have to mention that the film starts off with a Rammstein concert.

Visit this link for the clip with Jimmy Fallon; visit the World’s Most Dangerous Dungeon Master for more videos and clips on Diesel and his D&D connection.

Picture credit Six dice of various colours. 4-sided die, 6-sided die, 8-sided die, 10-sided die, 12-sided die and 20-sided die. By Diacritica (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

P.S.: In case you do not happen to know Melkor – have a look at the Tolkien Gateway.

UPDATE. P.P.S.: Thanks to Troels Forchhammer’s kind intervention I would like to make absolutely clear there is no connection whatsoever between Vin Diesel and Tolkien except for the actor (probably) chosing a random name from a glossary (a list of names) for a new character he wanted play with Dungeons & Dragons. From my research into this I cannot see a single piece of evidence that Vin Diesel knew more of Tolkien than his name and that he had written books like The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Which does not imply he has read them, either. However, a fun choice for a drow. 😉

Marcel Aubron-Bülles

A Tolkien fan for twenty-five years (and more to come...) Founding chairman of the German Tolkien Society, Co-Founder of Ring*Con, Co-Founder of the ITF, host, presenter and fantasy expert