Netflix’s New Death Note Is Actually Moving Forward After Terrible First Movie

Death Note is getting a new Netflix live-action series that will produced by the minds behind Stranger Things.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Deadline has reported that Netflix is moving forward with another adaptation of the highly regarded manga and anime series Death Note. This time, the adaptation will be a TV series instead of a film and it will be executive produced and written by Halia Abdel-Meguid. The project is being developed by Upside Down, the production studio launched by the Duffer brothers (Stranger Things).

It is a little surprising that another Death Note adaptation is being produced by Netflix considering their last attempt was met with harsh negative reception. The manga series Death Note was originally written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata and is held in high esteem by many as one of the best mangas of all time. Abdel-Meguid is on the record as a long-time fan of the series, so hopefully, that translates to a better-executed adaptation.

Death Note follows Light Yagami, a young genius who discovers a black notebook that allows him to kill by writing someone’s name in it. As Light works to cleanse the world of those he deems worthy of death, he is pursued by the genius detective L. As the owner of the Death Note, Light is also observed by the Shinigami, a death god named Ryuk.

One of the more confusing changes in the film adaptation of Death Note from Netflix was to move the setting from Japan to Seattle, Washington. Presumably, the new adaptation will retain the original location and Japanese actors will be more well-represented in the cast. While LaKeith Stanfield as the enigmatic L and Willem Dafoe as the voice of Ryuk were interesting casting choices that were rare bright spots in the film, it didn’t feel true to the series that fans knew and loved.

The new Death Note Netflix adaptation does bring back a number of people that were involved in the original 2017 film: Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Jonathan Eirich, and Miri Yoon return as executive producers and co-executive producers on the movie. This is a curious move, considering they were producers of the last film and that was not warmly received. Hopefully, they can take the feedback from fans and put it to good use in their next effort.

While Netflix has quite a few successful animes on its platform, they have yet to have what could be considered a genuinely successful live-action anime adaptation that pleases fans and newcomers alike (if we don’t include the underrated Rurouni Kenshin adaptations). While their Death Note failure has the benefit of time to help us forget, their recent adaptation of Cowboy Bebop failed to impress, getting canceled after only one season. Still, that doesn’t mean that Netflix is slowing down its efforts anytime soon, as the streaming giant has several live-action anime adaptations planned for the near future.

The Death Note series is certainly a big undertaking for Netflix, but they’re also currently working on a live-action adaptation of One Piece, which is one of the most popular manga and anime series of all time. As always, fans are wary about a live-action adaptation of something that arguably doesn’t need it, but we’ll have to wait and see if Netflix can pull it off. You have to imagine if One Piece flops that Netflix may reconsider its live-action anime adaptation push.