Last summer saw the exciting announcement that Netflix had begun development on an anime series adaptation of Ubisoft’s hit stealth shooter franchise Splinter Cell and now writer/executive producer Derek Kolstad has opened up with details regarding the highly-anticipated project.
In a new interview with Collider for the upcoming action thriller Nobody, which he penned, Kolstad confirmed that the first season will be eight episodes long and that he’s in the process of “finishing up” the bible for the season before sending it off and diving headfirst into the writing process. While plot details are currently unknown for the series, Kolstad confirmed that the plan is to produce 16 episodes at the very least, which will all run for 20 to 30 minutes as he enjoys the idea of the shorter runtime.
“I like the idea of following two different timelines, and being introduced to a character both upon inception and where he is now… [because] it just leaves the audience wanting more,” Kolstad said. “It’ll be 12:40 at night and you’re like, ‘Ugh, I kind of want to watch another one. Oh, 24 minutes? Cool.’ I just want to render it down to simplicity. And I know I’m a writer, and I’m supposed to say, ‘you should really read my dialogue,’ but I like the unspoken narrative. And [with] animation, it’s incredibly powerful when you can do a sequence of events and just have music. And it’s all character moments. And so Splinter Cell has been a joy in that regard.”
Though the streaming platform has yet to announce the animation house behind the project, Kolstad promised that revelation would be “coming soon” and praising the format as “fucking cool” as it allows for more creative freedom in the look of the series live-action doesn’t offer.
“You send in a script and they make it,” Kolstad said. “It isn’t a matter of casting this, this, this, or that. It’s like, ‘What do you want to do, Derek?’ ‘I think this would be cool.’ ‘That would be cool!’ We start it. Now, it takes forever because it’s animation, but still, that kind of playtime is fun. They came to me with the animatics going, ‘Hey, this is what we want to do.’ I’m like, ‘That’s cool, let’s play.’”
In talking about when audiences can expect to see the series, the John Wick creator opined that a 2021 debut is likely out of the question as “these things, from inception to execution” run roughly 18 months to two years and while he says the first two seasons will call for contained storylines, he revealed he is open to develop more if made sense from a creative standpoint.
“Every season is going to be self-contained, outside of the evolution of the main character,” Kolstad said. “I like having one big, bad, one overarching story and one background story, with the A/B of it all, and yet, I look at everything I do — well, almost everything — especially in film and TV, as the best Westerns. He rides off into the sunset because he’s going to do the same fucking thing the next town over until he dies doing it. And with these characters that we get to have fun with, you want to see what their next step is. I remember back in the day, you see a sequel for something, you’re like, ‘Ugh, really?’ And then you see it and you’re like, ‘Kind of think that’s better than the last one. They took a little bit of a U-turn.’ And I think that kind of stuff is fun.”
Featuring the official endorsement of bestselling military and espionage author Tom Clancy and inspired by Hideo Kojima’s hit Metal Gear series, the Splinter Cell franchise was spawned in 2002 with the game of the same name and received rave reviews from critics and gamers alike and was a major commercial success for Ubisoft. The stealth franchise, comprised of seven mainline titles and seven tie-in novels, centers on former U.S. Navy SEAL Sam Fisher as he is recruited by the NSA to work for the secretive sub-division Third Echelon and the various operations.
A film adaptation of the flagship franchise has been in development for 15 years now, with Tom Hardy (Venom) signing on for the central role in 2012 and having been attached the project since, with various writers and directors attached including Eric Warren Singer (Top Gun: Maverick), Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), Joseph Kahn (Detention) and Frank John Hughes (Justified), though sources report that project is considered to be inactive after three years of no movement.
In addition to the John Wick franchise, Kolstad most recently co-wrote the Quibi action-comedy Die Hart starring Kevin Hart and John Travolta and contributed to the Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe series Falcon and the Winter Soldier and was signed by Square Enix to pen the long-in-development film adaptation of Just Cause, which will be helmed by Stuber director Michael Dowse.