Fans of the Assassin's Creed video game series have a lot to get excited for right now. Not only will they get the chance to rub shoulders with legendary pirates like Blackbeard and Anne Bonny when Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag arrives on current and next-generation game consoles later this year, but the series is going to be getting a big-screen movie adaptation in theaters just two years from now.
The film's development has been pretty slow, and at our last estimate we said that it would be unlikely to hit theaters until 2014 at the earliest. Michael Fassbender, whose decision to produce and star in the film was a major boost towards getting it made, is also committed to play Macbeth in a new adaptation that is set to begin filming at the end of this year, and is currently shooting X-Men: Days of Future Past.
It's looking like Fassbender will start shooting Assassin's Creed more or less as soon as he's done with Macbeth. Twentieth Century Fox will distribute the movie through its partnership with co-producer New Regency Pictures, and has set a Memorial Day release date of May 22, 2015, according to a report by Coming Soon.
[Update: We've confirmed with Ubisoft that this is the official release date.]
It's a lucrative and important summer date to go for, and for the time being there's no other competition in that slot, though there's a possibility that Assassin's Creed will find itself bunking up with Star Wars Episode VII since all three prequels opened the same week in May. By the time the movie actually arrives, two more Assassin's Creed games will have come out, according to Ubisoft's current annual release plan for the franchise.
Though Michael Fassbender has been attached to star in the film for a long time, it's unclear at this point which character he'll be playing. Logically, you'd expect the film to start in the same place that the games did, which would mean switching between the modern setting and 12th century Syria and Israel, but the studio could also choose to base the film on Assassin's Creed II and the two following games, which were set in Renaissance Italy and Constantinople. It's also possible, though pretty unlikely, that they'll jump straight into Assassin's Creed III's American revolution story or Assassin's Creed IV's pirate setting.
Fassbender could be playing modern protagonist Desmond Miles, 12th century assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, or Italian playboy Ezio Auditore da Firenze. He could also be playing all three, since the characters had the same facial models in the game. At 36, Fassbender is about ten years older than any of the primary characters in the franchise, but the film doesn't necessarily need to be a precise adaptation of any of the games, so long as they keep the central conceit of people reliving the memories of their ancestors, and the ongoing war between Templars and Assassins.
Movies based on video games don't exactly have the best reputation, and after the Disney adaptation of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time fell flat both critically and commercially, the newly formed Ubisoft Motion Pictures is taking no chances with creative control. It was reportedly the video game company's protectiveness of the brand which led to Dreamworks, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures all turning down the option to distribute it, and may have been what led to Sony abandoning the project as well.
With distribution organized, a release date set, funding in place, a star attached, screenwriter aboard, and the game producer's keeping everything in hand, Assassin's Creed seems to be on the right path, and could shape up to be one of the statistically rare instances of a video game movie that actually turns out well.
Assassin's Creed is out in theaters on May 22, 2015.
Source: Coming Soon