Should 'Death Note 2' Stick To The Manga?
Recently it was revealed that Netflix is making Death Note 2 - an announcement that has caused a [...]
Recently it was revealed that Netflix is making Death Note 2 - an announcement that has caused a massive love/hate response from the fandom.
For those who hate the notion of Netflix's Death Note 2, the reason is clear: the first film was seen by fans of the anime/manga as a white-washed and bastardized adaptation, so the thought of a sequel in that same vein is an odious one. However, Netflix's Death Note managed to attract a lot of viewers that never experienced the manga or anime, but were happy with the movie's premise and storyline for what it was. With those two camps of viewers both pulling at the prospect of Death Note 2, we arrive at the big question looming over the sequel:
Should Death Note 2 stick to the manga? Or go in its own direction?
The Next Chapters
The Death Note Netflix movie played it fast and loose with the manga source material, but it would seem that Death Note 2 would likely pick up into Volume 5 and beyond, for the arc that sees L play a cat-and-mouse game with Light, by having him join the Kiara task force, while still suspecting that he's actually Kira. The presence of a copycat Kira makes Light join up with L, to gain more insight into the Kira investigation, ultimately ending up incarcerated. While Light is locked up, the Kira murders start up again - only this time, instead of trying to improve the world by killing off criminals, "Kira" is using the Death Note powers to be successful in business. L, Light, and the task force narrow it down to a group of businessmen, but must determine which individual(s) are actually using the Death Note for such gross purposes.
These next volumes of Death Note would still fit the Netflix movie's continuity - even if some elements have been taken off the table - like Light killing "Mia," his girlfriend who is the movie's version of "Misa," the second Kira who becomes devoted to Light's cause of making the world better with the Death Note, and exposing L's identity. Misa has a pivotal role in the next segment of the manga's story, but that could be spun around for the movie, to focus more on the new investigators Light is partnered with, and the mystery of who is using Kira for business advancements. The only real issue is: it would once again be a major bastardization of the source material.
The other option here, is for Death Note 2 to abandon the source material entirely, or almost entirely, and embrace the unique opportunity to go with an anthology approach to the series. The premise of Death Note isn't too far off from something like Final Destination, a series that treated its respective film installments as anthologies, with just the thinnest of connections stringing them together into what was ultimately revealed to be a shared universe storyline of cause and effect. Netflix's Death Note film series could (and maybe should) totally steal that approach.
If the sequel didn't want to follow the source material, It could keep elements like Lakeith Stanfield's L, who would jump back into the investigation when a new form of Kira murders starting popping up. It would make the movie exciting if the audience didn't know who Kira was, making the sequel a serial killer mystery with a supernatural twist. The horror would work well, as we would never see it coming when seemingly normal characters on the investigative team suddenly flipped out and did horrible things to themselves and each other, while caught under the Death Note's power. Jessica Jones season 1 did a similar thing with the mind control powers of its villain, Kilgrave, and it kept viewers on the edge of their collective seats.
A Nu Start
If you don't want any of the Death Note source material included in Netflix's sequel, the simple solution would be to do a pure anthology and just drop the book of death into a whole new location, to wind up in the hands of an entirely new character, for the purpose of an entirely original story. Now that the setup is out of the way, we could focus on more clever kill sequences, and a new thematic angle on how and why the book is used - one that could be uniquely tailored to US audiences and culture. Given the socio-political climate, the story of a book that can kill any powerful person whose name is written in it - and what to do with that power - would be intriguing.
How do you think Netflix should approach Death Note 2? NOTE: saying "don't do it at all" isn't an answer. this is happening. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Death Note 2 has no official production or release date yet.