So, we may be getting more Death Note movies on Netflix, but that doesn't mean they have to have the same flaws this first installment had. Thanks to help from anime fans on Reddit (and a few ideas of our own), we have ways to make the next installments of Death Note enjoyable for both newcomers and hardcore fans of the manga/anime.
Here's How to do the Death Note Netflix Sequels Right:
If Light Turner is once again the protagonist of the Death Note sequels, then one Reddit user has pitched an interesting scenario for how to handle that.
Basically, the pitch is for a story in which the film picks up from the cliffhanger ending of the first, film. L doesn't write Light's name in the loose Death Note page, but instead uses the page and all the evidence Mia left behind to continue trying to pin Kira's crimes on Light. Light deflects blames for Kira's crimes onto Mia, clearing himself, but L continues to watch him like a hawk, anyway.
Light, of course, can't turn away from being Kira, so L and his father James establish a new task force to investigate, which would allow the franchise to bring in new versions of manga/anime characters like Matsuda, Aizawa, and Mogi. That sets up a cat-and-mouse game where Light begins to master using the Death Note on a global scale, while L and the task force get closer and closer to catching him. Of ourse, in the end, it would all boil down a more intricate chess game of wits between Light and L - perhaps with only one man walking away, this time.
In that version, L does use the Death Note page to kill Light, and Ryuk uses that opportunity to locate a new Death Note holder. The new user becomes a new version of Kira, and since Light and Mia both appear to be victims of Kira, Light's father James reopens the case, in order to catch his son's killer.
With the case reopened, we again see an opportunity for manga/anime characters from the Kira task force to be adapted into the Netflix franchise. The sequel would then center around the task force trying to uncover the identity of the new Kira (a great suggestion is prosecutor Mikami Teru from the manga); as well as the cat-and-mouse game between James and L, as the latter would ironically find himself in the same hole Light once fell into.
There's also a great suggestion that Light could appear in the film in much the same way Ryuk did in the first one: as a figure in the shadows, whispering into the ear of other characters. It would be a fun and ambiguous plot element, as viewers wondered if Light was a figment of the mind (for L and/or James), or if it wouldn't be some kind of tease for Light becoming a full-fledged Shinigami ("Death God") in a later sequel.
One great thing about Death Note that even the source material hasn't really nailed yet is the franchise's potential as an anthology series.
Even though the manga/anime make the most out of the interpersonal conflict between Light and L, the Netflix movie never really gets so deep into the characters that fans will have all that hard of a time letting go. The real stars of the franchise for mainstream American viewers are undoubtedly The Death Note book, its many rules, and Ryuk, and those are all things that could be relocated to an entirely new setting, for a story with an entire new cast of characters. In other words: approaching Death Note from an anthology perspective would work in the same way that the Final Destination movies have been able to be so sustainable and successful.
There's already been suggestion of the kind of interesting characters the Death Note could wind up with (a prosecutor like Mikami Teru, who turns vigilante); with the right new perspective, and a few new rules to explore, both mainstream fans and hardcore manga/anime fans would get something novel and new to explore.
Death Note is now streaming on Netflix. Click HERE for the latest updates on plans for sequels.