Note: This article contains heavy spoilers for the Death Note anime and Netflix movie.
It's only been a couple of weeks since Netflix's live-action adaptation of Death Note hit the streaming service and yet it's already received so much attention across all modes of social media with the majority of fans pouring hate upon the film while some have tried to stand by the movie and defend it and the people involved, particularly director #AdamWingard.
But despite the negative buzz surrounding the film, both Wingard and #Netflix already have plans to make one, potentially two, sequels as long as the viewership numbers justify spending more money on expanding the franchise. Though they started off this potential new franchise with their own take on the source material, it would be smart of Wingard to hew more closely to the source material and tell a story that haters of the first film could get on board with.
Let's take a look at some of the plotlines from the original manga that can — and should — be adapted for the next sequel(s) to course-correct for purists.
Light And L's Tentative Team Up To Stop Kira
This might be one of the hardest plotlines to adapt for a sequel based on how the first adaptation sent them both on paths that seemingly put the nail in Light's coffin for L believing he's Kira. However, if the writers could find a way to bring this important part of the story from the manga to life for the screen, it would be one of its biggest redeeming factors for haters of the first film.
In the manga and anime series, L was endlessly suspicious of Light in his connection to Kira and, even after numerous instances in which Light was proven "innocent," kept surveillance on him to try and prove his theories. But in one bold move that heightened the tension for the story, L revealed himself to Light and recruited him to help the Kira task force track down Kira. L's motivation for doing so was to keep a close eye on Light and helped Light get closer to L and eventually end his foe's life.
Though the task force and L's cooperation was severed at the end of the Netflix film, L's discovery of the hidden #DeathNote page inside Mia's calculus textbook and the continuation of Kira murders during Light's coma will not only reconfirm L's suspicions, but also drive him to get the task force reinstated and resume surveillance on the intelligent killer.
With a more emotional portrayal of L in the American adaptation than the manga, audiences were treated to an even more determined L than the manga whose sole goal was to bring Kira to justice. Though fans might have complained about this change, it actually helped humanize him and made it easier to connect to him. But this emotional drive will cause him to want to keep Light as close to him as possible after discovering the page, and the team up from the source material could come to fruition to portray one of the greatest battle of wits ever conceived.
For those not familiar with the anime or manga, this might come as a shock, but evil does in fact prevail in the battle between Kira and L. After successfully tricking Rem, the Shinigami owner of Misa Agami's Death Note, into believing Misa's life was in danger and killing L would be the only way to save it, Rem uses the Death Note to kill L. The last thing L sees as he dies is Light admitting to being Kira and standing over him in victory.
Now, seeing as how the first Netflix film ended with L discovering evidence that could end Light's run as Kira, as well as Light's life, it might seem hard to accept killing off this main character so quickly into building this story. However, L's death was a major element to the story, as his death was a major victory for Light and led to major side effects felt around the world, including Light adopting the L persona and leading the task force to hide the truth about Kira.
This sudden end to one of the primary characters would also prove to be a much better story element for a sequel that would put it back on track with the manga's events. Diehard fans would come to appreciate the filmmakers for not holding any punches in who they kill and who they let live, and L's death is certainly one of the biggest testaments in the source material to having no qualms about killing off someone important.
The world following L's death in the #manga was a dark and tense time where the only law was everyone's fear of Kira, and though people believed Kira was still being hunted, there was one group of people who doubted the new L and worked on their own investigation to bring Kira down.
Near And Mello Join The Mix
Following the death of L, two young successors to the detective, Near and Mello, are introduced as new opponents both to Light and to each other. Raised in the same orphanage for the intellectually gifted as L, Near and Mello both took very different paths of life, with Near staying on the side of law enforcement while Mello joined the mafia.
In the manga, both Mello and Near proved to be worthy adversaries to Light and his efforts to conceal the truth of being both L and Kira. Mello consistently tried to retrieve his own Death Note for personal gain, kidnapping both the director of the Japanese police and Light's younger sister to obtain his own as a ransom. Near, knowing Mello was behind these events, tried reaching out to his former co-orphan to try and team up with him to bring down Kira, only for Mello to be killed by Kira before accepting Mello's offer.
With the introduction of L's origins at the Wammy Orphanage in the first Netflix film, true fans knew that the possibility of Near and Mello's introductions were imminent. If Netflix decides to let Wingard make two sequels, debuting them at the end of the first sequel, whether in the film or in a post-credits scene, it would be the strongest jump into the #anime source material. Near and Mello were always intelligent adversaries whose actions and motives were always a thrill to watch, and seeing them come to life in a live-action sequel would make it all the more fun and silence the haters for returning to a more faithful telling.
Although no news has been announced yet whether or not Netflix and Wingard will partner up again for a sequel to the American adaptation, the director did post a mysterious tweet a few days after the film's debut hinting that a decision had been made. While the tweet has since been deleted, it read:
Just had a great call with Netflix about the weekend that made my day. Thank you for watching!
With no official announcement made, fans will just have to wait and see what the streaming service decides for the potential future franchise.
Do you think a sequel will be good for the American Death Note? What would you like to see from the manga in potential future sequels? Let us know in the comments below!