What can the Netflix Assassin's Creed
TV Series Add?
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Netflix and Ubisoft are currently working on an Assassin's Creed TV universe, which is made up of a live-action, animated, and anime series based on the franchise. Back in October, we got our first glimpse at the red insignia, which is the logo for the Netflix Original live-action series. Not much is known about the project, but Business Director Aymar Azaïzia recently stated in an interview with Eurogamer that a couple of talents had been secured for the show so far, but no further announcements can be made at this stage as they are taking their time to develop the show.
Assassin's Creed Transmedia projects have never been afraid to test the waters, and implement new ideas and concepts that eventually make their way into the games. An example of this is the Assassin's Creed Movie's Animus, which was replicated in Valhalla via the Yggdrasil Isu Supercomputer, which also featured a claw.
That being said, the Netflix show will no doubt be viewed by millions around the world, so here are 5 things that the series could add to the AC Universe.
Official Teaser for the Assassin's Creed Live-Action TV series
5) New Characters
The Netflix Live-action show is the perfect platform to introduce new characters, and explore different time periods. Assassin's Creed transmedia projects have always been a great space to establish new characters, such as Galina Voronina in Initiates, and Simon Hathaway in Assassin's Creed Heresy. Victoria Bilbau was first introduced in the Assassin's Creed Unity: Abstergo Employee Handbook, and also appeared in Last Descendants, before her final appearance in Odyssey. Most recently, Ubisoft brought to life a whole host of new characters in the Assassin's Creed Gold Audio Drama, which featured voice talents from Anthony Head and Riz Ahmed.
The Assassin's Creed Universe is infinite, and so are the characters in it. As long as conclusions are given to previously created characters (rather than simply disappearing like Otso Berg), there is no reason why new characters can't exist. Ubisoft can get creative with this, and do something different. For example, the AC Last Descendants series introduced a wheelchair bound character called Sean Molloy who used the Animus to escape his chair, allowing him to walk again in the memories of his ancestor. The series also introduced an Abstergo technician called Monroe who left the company and stole an Animus before working as an IT Technician at local schools, where he recruited pupils to discover historical secrets.
Like previous transmedia projects, Ubisoft should look to create iconic new characters, who represent the brand's past and future, creating a blend of identity that is recognisably Assassin's Creed.
One thing that the TV Series could do that the games cant is focus on snippets of time, like the movie did. This would be historical periods and plots explored over a short period of time, allowing for more range. For example, three episodes could act as a sequel to the Assassin's Creed Movie, bringing back Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Michael K Williams, potentially setting up another movie. One way to do this would be Callum Lynch joining up with an Assassin Cell to uncover other ancestors, and exploring their memories. The feud with Sophia Rikkin could easily continue in the Modern Day, making her the new threat to the Brotherhood.
Other characters, such as Aya, Claudia Auditore, Connor and Arno Dorian could have their stories continued in live-action, finally concluding their arcs. As a series, Assassin's Creed very rarely provides closure, and instead moves on to new characters after the game finishes. This leaves many questions unanswered, and the series could finally provide some closure for fans. This fan service opportunity could also tie together established plot points, and introduce memory flashbacks, or even open the door to cameos from fan favourite characters. The AC Movie almost featured a ton of cameos which you can find in the deleted scenes.
3) New Concepts
The possibilities with Assassin's Creed really are infinite, and the new TV show could easily become a testing ground for new ideas, taking the series in a new direction. It would be interesting to see Templar projects outside of Abstergo Industries, a bit like how Westworld left it's original park to explore other opportunities. As a series, that's one that could definitely lend itself nicely to Assassin's Creed, especially the most recent series, which focusses on control via an algerithm that determines fate (sounds very Templar).
The best most recent example of a transmedia platforms introducing new concepts has to be the Assassin's Creed Titan Comics (AC, Templars and Uprising), which brought the Instruments of the First Will to life, and established the Templar Black Cross. The writers were never afraid to create something new that ties in to AC lore, in a way that adds to the series. One aspect of the franchise that has been particular poor of late has been parkour, which is the pillar that has unfortunately lost most of its shine in the RPG entries. This platform could be used to introduce real life free-runners and stunt artists to the series, who could give the parkour back its lost importance.
The animus could once again evolve, perhaps working in new ways, or becoming more than it has in the past. As technology evolves, so too should the Animus. Could it be powered by a Piece of Eden to view Isu memories?
We're hoping to see something new and fresh, rather than more of the same. We don't want to see a live action Desmond story, because there's no point covering old ground in that way.
2) Female Assassins & The AC Sisterhood
The unbalanced marketing campaign for Assassin's Creed Valhalla lit a fire within the community, which ultimately led to the creation of the 'AC Sisterhood Movement', a large-scale fan project established to highlight female characters, and voice the discontent of fans. Ubisoft have acknowledged the presence of the movement, and even added the logo as a tattoo choice in Valhalla. Many, including our admin team, felt that the RPG game's canon choices, Kassandra and Eivor should have been the focus of marketing campaigns, but they were unfortunately overshadowed by male counter parts. This issue, amongst many others sparked a network of fans to come together to establish the AC Sisterhood movement, which recently raised a great deal of money for Women's Breast Cancer.
The TV Series could be a positive platform for equal representation, and could even use the opportunity to showcase a Female Mentor, something which has only been done once before in the Assassin's Creed Heresy Novel with the introduction of Yolande of Aragon. There are so many possibilities, and it would be great to see something different for a change. Why not include a female Templar Grand Master, like we saw in the AC Unity novel, or even an all-female branch of the Brotherhood. The series has the potential to cover many different time periods and settings, so there is no excuse for a lack of representation.
In general, the AC series needs to actively improve it's treatment of female characters, as it has a bad habit of killing off key females in order to allow male hero's to continue (Maria Thorpe, Elise de la Serre, AC Movie Maria, Mary Read). In the past, the deaths have acted as a motivator to drive the male characters forward, such as Elise's death in Assassin's Creed Unity, but this is something we hope stays in the past.
AC Sisterhood logo by Sebastian Dell’Aria
1) Add to the Lore, Without Breaking It
Overall, the Assassin's Creed Movie did a good job at keeping itself within the walls of established canon, other than a few mistakes, such as Alan Rikkin not having previous knowledge of the Apple of Eden, when Abstergo owned one in AC III. Generally, it tied itself nicely to previously established plot points, and even found a way to cross paths with Christopher Columbus, who agreed to help Aguilar in the film due to his previous relationship with the Assassins Ezio Auditore and Luis de Santángel in Assassin's Creed II: Discovery (DS). A great deal of care was taken to make sure that the movie didn't stray too far from what came before, but instead added to it.
For the Netflix TV Series, Ubisoft need to be very careful not to break established canon, or it could actually damage the series by retconning previous plot points, and replacing them. To do this, Ubisoft will need a great deal of control over the project, and a firm hand when it comes to the writing process. It might even be to Ubisoft's advantage to appoint a 'Head of Assassin's Creed Lore' role for the project.
On the Assassin's Creed Movie, cast members and producers were given an 'Assassins Creed Bible', a huge series of documents containing lore and the history of the franchise. Our interview with Carlo Rota (Basim and Loki) revealed that voice actors working on Valhalla were given hour-long 'Assassin's Creed talks' by former Narrative Director Darby McDevitt, filled with history, story and details. According to Business Director Aymar Azaïzia, Ubisoft currently consult members of The Mentor's Guild on lore matters.
About the Author
Col is one of the UK's leading Assassin's Creed Community members, and is best known for establishing both 'The Ones Who Came Before' fan community and 'Isu_Network' content creation program.
As Team Leader for The Ones Who Came Before, Col was officially recognised by Ubisoft, becoming one the UK Assassin's Creed community ambassadors in 2016. He has attended many events after spending a decade in the AC Community, and has worked on countless projects, all of which you can find here on TOWCB website.
He is also a former Ubisoft Star Player and member of The Mentors Guild, two recognisable community programs which opened doors and took his status within the AC Community to the next level.
Colum Blackett (Col_96)