Agent 47 will be taking his lethal skills to the small screen, as the character is due to appear in a Hitman television series for Hulu. The Hitman video game franchise began in 2000 and follows a genetically engineered assassin codenamed 47. The games - which are now solely being developed by IO Interactive since splitting with publisher Square Enix - allow players the freedom to choose how they will assassinate targets; they can sneak around using disguises and engineering tragic "accidents," or they can go in guns blazing.
Despite being an amoral, emotionless killer, a considerable fanbase has built up around Agent 47 and the franchise itself. Two movies based on the games have also been produced; a 2007 version starring Timothy Olyphant and a 2015 reboot called Hitman: Agent 47 with actor Rupert Friend. Despite both films turning a profit they both failed to launch sequels and received weak reviews.
Now the character will be trying his luck on television in a longer-form story. Deadline reports a Hitman series is being developed for Hulu. The pilot is being written by Derek Kolstad, who wrote the original John Wick, making him something of a natural choice. Kolstad will produce alongside Adrian Askarieh and Chuck Gordon. It’s still early days for the potential series, with no actors currently attached.
Television is a better fit for the Hitman franchise as it’s an episodic game by its very nature. Each new level typically finds Agent 47 in a different location chasing a new target, and while the games have overarching storylines and recurring characters, they commonly take second place to the gameplay itself. There's a lot more room for stealth, development, intrigue, and more planned out assassinations like the games in this format.
The biggest challenge for a Hitman series will of course be adapting the character of Agent 47. While Olyphant is a fine actor, he felt completely miscast in the 2007 Hitman movie, and the film made the mistake of giving the character quippy one-liners and a love interest. Hitman: Agent 47 fared better with Friend’s portrayal, who gave 47 just enough depth and dry wit to be likeable, but without making him a hero. Both movies leaned too heavily on noisy action and set pieces though and lacked the suspense and tension of the games.
Neither movie was well received by the fanbase either, so the television series has nowhere to go but up in terms of quality. Hopefully, third time will be the charm for this franchise when it comes to live-action, as Agent 47 is a great character and the concept has a lot of potential if executed properly.
Hulu’s Hitman doesn’t currently have an airdate but we’ll keep you updated as more information arrives.