The Assassin’s Creed movie has been in development since 2011, but things are finally picking up for the long gestating project. With Assassin’s Creed Syndicate arriving October 23, we thought it was time to provide a quick update on the film from a gaming standpoint. Traditionally, videogame to film adaptations receive mixed reviews, but this one seems like it could exceed expectations.
First and foremost, Assassin’s Creed fans need to understand that the upcoming film is not based on the games in the series. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Steve Jobs) takes on the role of Callum Lynch, a character who exists in the present day. His ancestor is Aguilar, an assassin from 15th Century Spain. If you’re familiar with the games, you might have already guessed that Fassbender plays both Callum Lynch and Aguilar.
The basic premise of the film is that Lynch relives Aguilar’s memories in order to obtain the knowledge and skills required to become an assassin. His goal is to take on the Templars, which is in line with the video game series. The games touch upon the present day vessels retaining skills from their ancestors, so we expect to see this play out in the film.
A new character created exclusively for the movie is probably a good idea on the part of Ubisoft and 20th Century Fox. It means fans of the gaming series won’t have a direct comparison to hold the movie up to. If the main protagonist was Altaïr, fans would compare the film directly to the games, and it’s unlikely Fox would be able to meet fan expectations. Going the route of a new character means Fox can still use the general beats of the Assassin’s Creed games without the pressure of mimicking the story in exhausting detail.
With that said, and going back to the main premise of the film, Callum Lynch wants to acquire the skills of his ancestor in order to combat Templars in present day. The main premise of almost every game in the series is focused on a historic time period. You may cut to present day here and there, but a vast majority of the games and virtually all of the fighting and action sequences take place in historic time periods.
The premise of the upcoming film seems to imply that a bulk of the action may take place in present day. Granted, we’ll obviously see some action sequences with Aguilar in 15th Century Spain, but the battle against the Templars is clearly stated to take place in present day. Does this mean we’ll see Lynch diving off skyscrapers and taking on Templars in business suits? It’s too early to tell, but be prepared for at least a decent portion of the film to occur in modern times.
Justin Kurzel will direct the Assassin’s Creed movie and he doesn’t have a lengthy filmography, but we like his work thus far. He directed Snowtown in 2011, which won the AACTA award for Best Direction, as well as several other awards. He’s also behind the upcoming release of Macbeth, which also stars Michael Fassbender. Pairing the two in Assassin’s Creed should offer chemistry that carries over from Macbeth.
When it comes to Assassin’s Creed, one important aspect is the scenery and thus the cinematography. Luckily, the AC film has a solid cinematographer in Adam Arkapaw. He worked on HBO’s hit TV series True Detective, which definitely has some strong cinematography that will hopefully transition to his work on Assassin’s Creed. Capturing the expansive historic landscapes of 15th Century Spain and the inevitable shots of Aguilar perched high above the cities of Spain is extremely important for the film.
Assassin’s Creed began principal photography at the end of August, with filming occurring in Malta, London and Spain. The film is expected to hit theaters on December 21, 2016, giving 20th Century Fox plenty of time for post-production effects. It’s unlikely we’ll see a trailer of any kind until sometime early next year, but so far things are shaping up well with only a few concerns.
While you wait for the release of the film, be sure to check out our coverage of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, including what’s changed from Unity. Stay tuned to Prima Games for a complete walkthrough and guide when the game releases.