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November 14, 2017

‘John Wick’ Creator is Developing a ‘Hitman’ Series

Hulu has secured a deal to revive Agent 47.

Hitman is coming to screens once again. Deadline has reported that Fox 21 and Hulu have teamed up for a television show based on Agent 47 in a new series from John Wick creator, Derek Kolstad.

“Hitman” is originally a popular series of stealth video games developed by IO Entertainment, with nine games released in total. The general premise of the “Hitman” games revolves around a high-skilled cloned assassin-for-hire simply named Agent 47, who carries out missions in association with the mysterious Agency.

The games were originally adapted into two films. The first was an eponymous 2007 movie directed by Xavier Gens. Hitman was more loosely based on the games, which involved trained orphans instead of cloned assassins, and was set in a different continuity where the Agency had a different name (the Organization). A 2015 reboot, Hitman: Agent 47, was directed by Aleksander Bach. Agent 47 introduced the character as an enhanced supersoldier played by Rupert Friend. Both films were written by Skip Woods.

Time and time again, video game adaptations have proven to be more misses than hits. Try as studios might to option games and turn them into the next franchise hit, most game adaptations don’t actually become a hundred Resident Evil movies (and might I add that those films greatly vary in quality too). But even that series is already getting the reboot treatment, with Constantin Films tapping acclaimed horror director/producer James Wan as executive producer to develop an entirely different six-film franchise.

Compressing games into 2-hour long packages is tricky, to say the least. Novel-to-screen adaptations face a similar dilemma, in that film and television provide different benefits when it comes to transferring a source material from one medium to another. In the case of games, storyline, and mythology tend to be as vast and sprawling as that of your favorite series of novels, which can be difficult to adapt without watering down at least some part of it. And it goes without saying that the act of playing video games is also integral to the experience. Taking that hands-on perspective away from the audience can be jarring and distancing, and simply not as impactful.

Television, on the other hand, could provide a more flexible narrative format for a game of potentially flourish. Shows inherently have the luxury of time, and could feasibly flesh out plots and characters more fully. Of course, quality also could depend on how long a show runs for; shows that don’t have a foreseeable endpoint can grow frustrating and void of narrative significance eventually.

According to Deadline, Hulu is aiming for Hitman to become a flagship series at the streaming service, with a goal of creating an even more accurate adaptation of the game series than previous onscreen incarnations have afforded. Whether that means they’re planning for something long-running is still up in the air, but at least the content feels like it’ll be in good hands. This won’t be the first time Kolstad has dealt within the confines of the hitman action genre. Is it the most adventurous move on Kolstad’s part? No, but John Wick is a fantastic series, with the third part in the trilogy due out in 2019.

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