If you listen very carefully right now, you might hear a distant wailing and gnashing of teeth. That sound is countless fans of Tsugumi Ohba’s manga and Tetsuro Araki’s anime Death Note receiving news that Netflix has commissioned a sequel to 2017’s Adam Wingard-directed adaptation, considered by most to have been a direct slap in the face to the manga. Despite the fanbase’s revulsion about the film’s Americanization and perceived dilution of its themes, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has described the live-action adaptation as a “sizable” success.
As a philistine who’d never read the manga or seen the anime but knew the basic premise (a boy gets a book that kills anyone whose name you write in it), I found myself having a pretty damn good time with the movie. Sure, my expectations weren’t sky high, but I was a big fan of You’re Next and The Guest, and while we’ll ignore his wobbly take on Blair Witch, I’ve always felt Wingard’s a director to keep an eye on. And so it proved, with the film ending up as a daffy and demonic high school supernatural drama with more than a hint of Final Destination.
But with Wingard currently hard at work on Godzilla vs. Kong, which will be his biggest release to date, it remains to be seen whether he’s got time in his schedule for Death Note 2. Presumably, the cast will have some kind of clause in their contracts about sequels, so I’d expect to see Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield and Willem Dafoe all reprise their roles.
As for a plot, we can expect the film to develop the cliffhanger dropped on us when Death Note ended, namely that our hero’s dad has discovered his son’s power and that L has a page of the Death Note that he can use to enact revenge against Light. No doubt Netflix are hoping that this could be their own lucrative horror franchise, so I’d expect to hear more about Death Note 2 sooner rather than later.