The Duffer Brothers have agreed with Netflix to produce several new projects including a new live-action series adaptation of the popular manga Death Note.
Following Stranger Things Season 4 viewership recordsOn Netflix, the series' two creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, appear to be just beginning their reign on the platform. After a finale that ignited the expectations of many viewers, Netflix is looking ahead to the next season and announced two spin-offs already in development. Like another very popular series like The Witcher, Stranger Things is one of the few platform exclusives that is still strong enough to last for a long time. On the strength of this feat, the Duffer brothers recently founded Upside Down Pictures, a partnership with Netflix to create various new projects.
And the two brothers have now and already seen several of their ideas validated by the platform. All their new creations should share the same goal and tell “stories that take place where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big events coexist with more intimate situations, where the heart wins against cynicism“. Starting from this unwavering axiom, the Duffers decided to make a new adaptation, in their own way, of the Death note manga.
A bold decision since such a series will not be done in a favorable light. Indeed, the manga is a classic of the genre and fans aren't very flexible about hijacking it. The manga has already been the subject of a Western adaptation with a film, directed by Adam Wingard in 2017, produced by Netflix, and it was immediately rejected by the majority of viewers. This Death Note Netflix version (which could have been directed by Gus Van Sant, think about it) testified to an irrevocable failure which should normally have served as a bitter lesson for the streaming platform.
Especially since fans rarely forget the affront to their heart's work and they are not quick to forgive. Fortunately, public condemnation does not prohibit the freedom to try again what has failed in the past. Until recently, Netflix was considering a sequel to the hated film anyway: a Death Note 2 made with the hope of less pissing off fans (but written by Mortal Kombat's screenwriter so there was very little hope).
Adding the Duffer brothers to the equation, there is no longer any question of a new film (not in the immediate future, at least). This series will have no connection to anything that has been done in the past and will therefore be a brand new adaptation, free to reinterpret the original material or stick faithfully to its narrative.
As a reminder, the manga Death Notetells the story of a Japanese high school student named Light, with great intelligence but questionable morals, who one day finds a mysterious notebook. This one offers him the possibility of killing the person of his choice by writing his name inside. Corrupted by this insane power, Light decides to carry out arbitrary justice on the world by putting all criminals to death, and this, beyond all suspicion. This is without counting a mysterious detective, nicknamed L, whose investigation leads him closer and closer to Light…
An object with unlimited narrative potential
This cult story between supernatural and psychological thriller continues today to conquer new readers. If it is perfectly transcribed thanks to the very faithful anime of 2006 (produced by Madhouse), it is difficult to see it convince more on another medium. It's rare for a live adaptation to do well with what was imagined for the manga.
However, the universe of Death Note remains exciting and conducive to many other variations. The deadly notebook is, in itself, a ready-made trigger for an anthology series or original stories more suited to Netflix as well as to the imagination of the Duffers. Hoping that this is the chosen voice, we still remain optimistic (as long as possible), the two brothers having rather proven themselves so far.