I’ve mentioned that recent young-adult fantasy book/movie series are beginning to look like teen origin stories in a D&D party. Harry Potter is the teen wizard, Percy Jackson is the teen fighter, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, whatever’s his name, is the teen sorcerer.
Not a bad party – still light on leaders and heavy on ranged strikers, but all in all, we have a lot of ugly ducklings whose latent heroic gifts make them very special swans – swans with explicit D&D classes.
As far as I know, D&D isn’t really big among young-adult fantasy readers – I think it’s bigger among guys who were young-adult fantasy readers about 30 years ago. But I’m pretty sure that the kids who read and watch these books and movies would like playing D&D – if they knew what it was.
I don’t know if WOTC will be able to capitalize on this market. I don’t think they have the money to put commercials for the Essentials starter set in front of the “Ranger’s Apprentice” movie; get back-page ads in young-adult fantasy novels; get tie-in games with the Artemis Fowl, Inkheart, and Septimus Heap franchises. Too bad, because it would be cool to see what another generation would make of D&D.