Stranger Things Creators Trying to Adapt Death Note for Netflix Again

Netflix is going to take another crack at Death Note.

You don’t create the biggest streaming show ever without getting further chances to try again. Stranger Things has gone from strength to strength, with the release of Season 4 Volume 1 reaching 7.2 billion minutes of viewing time in a single week. Season 4 Volume 2 dropped this past weekend and it’s likely that these final two episodes could break the record once again.

Matt and Ross Duffer, known by many as the Duffer Brothers, have decided to build upon that success. The pair have created Upside Down Pictures, a production company aimed at making further projects for Netflix. While they still need to finish the final season of Stranger Things, Upside Down Pictures does have a number of projects in the development stage, according to reporting by Deadline.

The first and foremost of those projects is another crack at Death Note. The original manga was written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata, about a young man named Light who finds a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written inside. The manga was about Light’s growing megalomania and his cat-and-mouse game with the secretive detective L. The manga was adapted into the wildly-popular anime series in 2006.

Netflix Death Note 2017

That success saw Netflix produce a live-action film adaptation in 2017, helmed by future Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard. Despite some interesting casting — Willem Dafoe as the shinigami Ryuk and LaKeith Stanfield as the detective L were both inspired choices — the final product wasn’t great. Critical reviews weren’t kind and audience reviews, especially from fans of the manga and anime, were worse.

It apparently didn’t go poorly enough for Netflix, which is willing to try again with the Duffer Brothers. The new adaptation will be a live-action series and an “entirely new take” on the material. No other production staff or casting was announced.

Given Stranger Things and its reliance on the adapted works of Stephen King, it’s no surprise that another project will be a direct adaptation of one of his books. Stranger Things co-executive producer Curtis Gwinn is working on The Talisman, an adaptation of a 1984 novel written by King and Peter Straub. The story is about a young boy named Jack Sawyer, who travels between New Hampshire and the mystical Territories. With the aid of alternate-reality doubles from Territories, he seeks to save his dying mother.

Death Note and The Talisman adaptations are joined by an entirely original series from Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance creators Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, a Stranger Things spinoff, and a stage play based on Stranger Things.

At the very least, the Duffer Brothers openly wear their love for the things that inspire them. Perhaps that love, combined with the extra space of a full season of television, will lead to a much better Western adaptation of Death Note. I feel like Death Note is grounded enough that I can see the path forward, rather than the rough road ahead of Netflix’s live-action One Piece.