In one week, Netflix will release Death Note, the long-awaited American adaptation of the manga of the same name. For those uninitiated, the story follows a high schooler named Light after he stumbles upon a mysterious notebook with the words “Death Note” etched on the front. He soon realizes that this notebook has the power to kill anyone whose name is written inside it. Thinking this as a solution to some of the world’s biggest problems, Light goes on a crusade to rid the world of evil, but when a great detective codenamed L picks up on his scent, it becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two. Can Light truly create a Utopia with the power of the Death Note, or will L take him down for the murder of hundreds?
It’s a fantastic premise, and looking at it, it’s incredibly easy to see why it’s gone on to be an anime, a handful of live-action Japanese films, a Japanese TV drama, and even a musical. It’s an intriguing story of wish fulfillment, and a complex and convoluted thriller. However, whereas other iterations of the franchise have a lot of room in which to tell their stories (12 volumes, 37 episodes, two movies, etc. You get the idea), the new film from Netflix has only one film. That being said, that’s not to say that there is no room for them to expand in the future. When producer Roy Lee firs
t hopped onto the project, he saw the real potential in making a big franchise here in the states, and despite needing to make sure this Netflix version of Death Note stood on its own, they still see the potential there.
Speaking with LRM during the Death Note press junket, producer Masi Oka expressed their desire to make a sequel, saying:
“We would love to, because the way the movie ends, we leave that question open, right? Also the creators [Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata], they had the comment, ‘I can’t wait to see what happens next.’ So they’re definitely on board. So I think at the end of the day, it’s in the hands of our fans and Netflix.”
That last sentence there is key. Death Note is definitely a franchise that can hold up for at least a few films on Netflix with little trouble, and yet no matter how good the movie may be, it all depends on how well it performs on Netflix, and how well it is received by fans. Will it have enough fanfare to justify a sequel?
Regardless of how it ends up, it’s great to see the enthusiasm is there, and while we won’t given any spoilers, it’s definitely a film that manages to both be a complete standalone experience while allowing the possibility for a continuation.
We’ll have to wait and see if this ends up being the case.
Death Note hits Netflix on August 25, 2017!