Why We Are Worried About The Assassin's Creed Movie

When Assassin's Creed first dropped in 2007, the gaming community was taken by storm. We were charmed by the concept of the Animus, of unlocking ancestral memory, and becoming badasses of the Assassin Order from famous moments in Western Civilization history, and impressed by the first time using "aliens" as an excuse for significant historical events seem workable as a plot device.

So imagine our delight when plans for a live-action film went into development. And imagine our disappointment when we saw the trailers and realized that this film was in trouble ...

Whose fanfic OC is THAT?

Once the cast list was leaked, lo and behold, of course the film would go off the rails of the franchise and introduce an original character. Instead of going with lesser-known actors to fill in big name characters like Altair and Ezio, Hollywood, in all its brilliance, opted to cast Michael "Baby Magneto" Fassbender as some Middle Aged White Guy With Five O'Clock Shadow doing a wicked Assassin's Creed cosplay.

With all the talk and criticism around Hollywood's dubious casting of predominantly white actors in roles coded for people of color, it would have been a nice step in the opposite direction to actually make a movie starting with the original badass Altair, whom we know is an Assassin from what is now known as Syria. MAWGWFOCS? He probably couldn't find Syria on a map.

Here's the thing: typically, fandoms don't respond to original characters very well, and the biggest killers for a game/book-to-movie adaptation seems to be the introduction of these OCs in lieu of the primary protagonist, or to shoehorn in a romantic subplot. We have absolutely no background on New Guy's motivations, his ultimate purpose in the story, and how he will contribute to the franchise in an impactful way, seeing as how producers and developers are saying the film exists within the same universe as the games but is wholly separate from them. So he's an actual Assassin in the canon, but he sure doesn't come across like one.

Did they cast Fassbender because they have nothing else to offer?

The trailers for Assassin's Creed looks promising by way of action, but seems to offer very little substance. This warns us that Fassbender is little more than a bright and shiny, A-list white dude distraction, and this is our desperate plea to please find, say, Oded Fehr's number and holler at him.

There really wasn't anyone besides Fassbender who could play an action hero? Was Fehr busy? What about all the up-and-coming talent? Sadly, we all know deep down why. It seems when Hollywood casts semi-generic A/B-list white actors, it's a telltale sign they think the film stinks and will go belly-up, so they depend on the actor's name to carry the weight and pull the big crowds on opening weekend.

Studios like Marvel have done a fine job with balancing both style and substance, but we'll never forget how Disney blew out the box office with its adaptation of Prince of Persia, offering the pretty but nothing meaty. We haven't heard anything about a potential sequel since, despite the game series being a trilogy. Disney, that was a sign. And now it's a sign to 20th century Fox. Please give us something. Anything.

How are they going to explain the franchise's crazy plot device?

Assassin's Creed is unique in that there are two different plots going on: the story that's being told in the present, and the story being relived in the past. For most of the games, we've gotten acclimated to the buildup of doom and gloom and Apocalypse-levels of impending disaster that the modern-day Templars and Assassins are fighting over. We've also learned that human beings are engineered by aliens, who essentially used us as a workforce and slave labor until we broke free and formed our own civilizations. It's a very neat way to explain away all the unanswered or unanswerable questions in history ... *squints eyes, waves arms* ... aliens.

As if the aliens weren't enough, the series also introduced "bleeding," where someone could interact with their ancestor almost directly through the Animus (the modern-day Templar's memory-reading machine), and would sometimes have hallucinations of random memories while outside of it. Remember when Neo jacked into the Matrix without physically being plugged in? Something like that.

It sounds insane, right? But somehow, the AC franchise made it all work. What you thought was a standard sandbox stealth game turned out to be the weirdest historical fiction/sci-fi mashup in recent memory. Now ... how in the world is Hollywood going to explain all of this in two hours without needless exposition, or by brushing past it so quick the audience still has no clue what's going on? Is the movie intended only for those who've played the games, or is it trying to corner a broader audience who may have only a vague idea what the franchise is? If it wants to be successful, it had better go for the latter, and it had better figure out how to communicate all the lore the audience needs to know to truly follow the story. Here's hoping the director knows how to do that, though our gut says he doesn't.

Will Desmond be mentioned at all?

Desmond Miles was the game's original protagonist, and we all know his ancestors were the most well-known Assassins, Altair and Ezio. Of course, being the weird story that this is, we were all promptly shocked when Desmond bit the dust at the end of the third game, in a last-ditch effort to save the world from certain destruction. In our eyes, it was a cheap deus ex machina to get them out of the corner they'd written themselves into, and in subsequent games Abstergo Corp. — the modern-day incarnation of the Templars — harvests his DNA and turns his ancestral memory into a playground for tourists, in some weird and twisted take on that Magic School Bus episode where Ms. Frizzle and the gang take a trip through the human body.

Our worry stems from how the subsequent memory sequences in the games all come from his harvested DNA, and thus keeps the plot continuous. With the introduction of a new character and a new protagonist, it's going to be really awkward not hearing any mention of the past events both in the modern era and the memory sequences, since all of them are so closely tied together.

Will Hollywood ever cast a woman in the lead?

The Assassin Order, in the game franchise, is very progressive in that both men and women serve the Order for the greater good. It took quite some time for the developers to allow it, but we finally got some female Assassins to play as in the games, starting with Aveline from AC3's companion game, Assassin's Creed: Liberation. We got to knife Templars in the neck in the swampy bayous of New Orleans, as a lady, and it was glorious.

Then there was Assassin's Creed: China's Shao Jun, a former concubine trained by Ezio when she pledges her life to the Order. She only got one side-game and we haven't heard from her since, but we're going to assume she's being a badass and also sticking Templars in the neck. Or how about Assassin's Creed: Syndicate's Evie Frye? Point being, women can assassinate just as well as men, and the series has proven this time and again.

For all the hype surrounding the franchise's creator being a woman, and with over 52% of the gaming community consisting of women, you'd think Fox would break the mold and cast a female character as a lead. Well, nope. From the trailer, it seems the only female Assassin will be regulated to some badass love interest who likely (as so many badass love interests do) bites the dust to further the plot and give Fassbender a reason to assassinate some more. We're yawning from all the excitement of how avant-garde that plot is.

Why isn't there more hype surrounding this movie so close to release?

It should go without saying that Assassin's Creed is a popular game franchise, to the point where the signature clothing is recognizable outside of game fandoms. However, with the development and impending release of the film this December, how is it there's not more hype surrounding it? We've heard nothing but rave reviews and dozens of commercials for movies like Doctor Strange and Rogue One, but very little about the Assassin's Creed film. That's a bad sign when a film for a major video game franchise doesn't get a lot of press, especially so close to its release date.

Our guess is that producers and executives are fearful that the movie will flop worse than Super Mario Brothers. Guess what? That's exactly what we're worried about too.