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Duffer Brothers Adapting “Death Note” into Live-Action Series

Stranger Things 4 is about to wrap up its colossally viewed, streaming platform-breaking run on Netflix, and its creators, the Duffer brothers have their targets set next on Death Note. To be fair, the brother team of Matt and Ross Duffer has a whole lot of plans for their next projects and adapting one of the best animes ever made to live-action is just one of them.

Per Deadline, the Duffer Brothers have formed a production company called Upside Down Pictures and have a full slate of non-Stranger Things projects to continue working with Netflix, including a Death Note adaptation. Death note is definitely one of the best anime made EVER.

It is telling that the Duffer Brothers’ new production company lifts its name from Stranger Things, and it seems that they intend to keep working on thematically similar projects like a live-action Death Note series. The original Japanese manga Death Note was first released in 2003, appearing in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump until 2006.

Since then, it has been adapted to pretty much every medium ever. A 37-episode television anime version was shown in Japan in the early 2000s, and several different video games have been produced by Konami. There have also been four live-action Japanese films based on Death Note, as well as a television special. In America, Death Note is best known for a Netflix film adaptation that was released in 2017 (with a sequel in development). 

Basically, for a franchise whose basic premise is that there is a book that will kill people if you write their name in it (basically a journal-oriented Ring-riff), the series really captures the imagination. The minds behind Stranger Things are in an interesting spot, where they basically have a built-in audience for a Death Note adaptation that will definitely watch whatever is produced but will also most likely castigate them for whatever they have produced.

On the other hand, the Duffer Brothers have a lot of experience in remixing popular elements like Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and H.P. Lovecraft to both acclaim and criticism with Stranger Things, so they can probably make something work with Death Note.

The Stranger Things creators are also working on a number of other projects in addition to their live-action Death Note. They will be working with Amblin Entertainment (apparently Spielberg doesn’t mind his work being relentlessly homaged) and Paramount to adapt the fantasy science fiction novel The Talisman into a series. The novel was written by Stephen King (filling out the influence bingo card) and Peter Straub and will follow a young man as he crosses over between our world and a mysterious another place, which seems right up the Duffer Brothers’ alley.

Upside Down Pictures will also be producing a stage play set within the world of Stranger Things, as well as a much-speculated spin-off series that Matt Duffer says will not actually have anything to do with Stranger Things (which raises the question of how exactly it is a spin-off). The Upside Down Pictures is set to be run by producer Hilary Leavitt, who helped develop Netflix’s Ozark and Hulu’s The Great, among other series.