Michael Fassbender has played roles in his share of action/adventure movies, getting turns in both the Alien and X-Men franchise prequels. But neither of those offered the chance to get down and dirty in the fighting game. That changed with 2016’s Assassin’s Creed in which he played the Cal Lynch/Aguilar character who travels back in time to combat his way through the 15th Century. And despite that movie’s problems, Fassbender could be set to reprise the role in a new Assassin’s Creed television series on Netflix.
To call the original Assassin’s Creed film a dud is something of an understatement. The Michael Fassbender film scored a meager 18% on the Tomatometer and reading the review snippets is absolutely hilarious. Critics had a proverbial dunk contest to see who could come up with new and unique ways to call it terrible. This movie offered just another in the very long list of video game movies coming to the big screen that just didn’t hold up in any way.
That isn’t to say it’s been all bad and Netflix has already found some success in this kind of adaptation. They’ve just done it in the form of a television series rather than a movie. The Witcher, based on the novel and video game of the same name was the most-streamed Netflix original in 2019. Sure, that one had its source material ground in the original writing, but it was still a win for the platform because the story had room to breathe. Could we see Michael Fassbender and Assassin’s Creed garner similar success? It isn’t a total reach.
Transforming Assassin’s Creed into a longer-form work could help reduce some of the movie’s problems. For starters, the flick existed in two different time periods which made for problematic pacing and a rather confusing storyline. Fassbender’s character was shuttled from way in the future to inhabit the body of Aguilar who shared strands of the same DNA. Having to set up just the premise sent the movie off the rails early. Some of that is solved by not having to rush the action and plot into under two hours.
Now, this isn’t to say Michael Fassbender is rumored to be attached as the lead, with some speculation he’d be in there to help overlap the two pieces. This is still very much a work in progress with news of the Netflix partnership and plans to develop the story only recently hitting the news.
Ubisoft, the company behind Assassin’s Creed, has a bunch of other works coming down the pike as well. Those include Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, Rabbids, Watch Dogs, Werewolves Within, and Beyond Good and Evil. All these projects are in various stages of pre-production. Plus, there’s at least some speculation about an Assassin’s Creed 2 getting made though it’s unclear if Michael Fassbender would be reprising his role in the sequel if it were to get made at all.
Sure, video games heading to the screen haven’t had the greatest run up until now. There are plenty more misses than hits. They are almost universally disappointments. But with big names like Michael Fassbender continually floated around and more streaming platforms taking different approaches, the tide could begin turning on these works.