The Splinter Cell saga: from video games to TV series and cinema

The saga of Splinter Cell, based on the story of the iconic secret agent Sam Fisher created by the enlightened pen of Tom Clancy (to whom Ubisoft gave life in the form of a video game), it managed in its own way, in the early 2000s, to modernize the stealth genre, bringing many players closer to some mechanics seen in legendary titles such as those of the saga of Metal Gear Solid.
The ever-growing success of Splinter Cell it has also led to the development of numerous derivative products, including novels, and to the production of a film, announced about ten years ago but of which traces have been lost over time.
At regular intervals, however, news has been released on the net from time to time, up to the present day, in which the release date of the film (2022) starring Tom Hardy doesn't seem so far away anymore.
Given the numerous video games dedicated to the character, what should we really expect from the film adaptation to consider him fully successful?

Phantom Cell

Thanks to the first Splinter Cell stealth games have managed to find new lifeblood, with an excellent compromise between satisfying gameplay and elaborate plots with a strong political fiction flavor (albeit always cloaked in a great relevance to reality).
The games gave birth a charismatic and inflexible character, such Sam Fisher, able to carry out high-risk missions around the world thanks to his innate tactical skills and the constant support of the omnipresent Third Echelon division (part of the government agency NSA).
The titles of the series have gradually undergone a constant evolution, especially in terms of gameplay, with the seminal Splinter Cell to lay the foundations for a game based on infiltration and tactics.
In fact, despite some slightly woody settings linked to the controls, the first title of the saga managed to make the full-screen shootings and explosions more engaging than ever, as much as a game system based on a climate of constant tension made possible by a level of immersion really well packaged in the perspective of stealth dynamics.

The protagonist thus found himself carrying out very dangerous tasks by acting as a real ghost alone against everyone, making use of his technological gadgets (including the iconic night / thermal visor equipped with the three characteristic green lights) to save key targets, retrieve invaluable information or, in order not to miss anything, thwart the most disparate terrorist attacks. All while obviously being careful not to trigger any kind of alarm by hiding as much as possible in the shadows, turning into a real ghost that is impossible to see, hear and hit.

After a second chapter, Pandora Tomorrow, able to focus on the cornerstones of the franchise without innovating too much the general structure, with the third (and probably most loved by fans) Chaos Theory, the saga has met its definitive consecration, making Sam Fisher one of the most famous videogame secret agents in the entire media.
And it is precisely the growing fame of the saga and of the character that has gradually made the hypothesis of film adaptation more and more concrete, which for several years has been on the verge of taking off only to then disappear from the radar for an indefinite time.
But perhaps not having seen suddenly swooping Sam Fisher into theaters in the past decade it was actually a good thing, since not always (unfortunately), the film adaptations with a videogame background have managed to do justice to the source material.

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Darkness as an ally

Yet, also in view of Sony's expansion in the field of cinema, as well as the upcoming Mortal Kombat, in the coming years we will be able to start seeing films based on video games made with some care and, why not, just the adaptation of Splinter Cell could be useful to Ubisoft (after the half misstep made with the Assassin's Creed film) to carve out a prominent place in the seventh art industry.

In terms of expectations, perhaps the best thing would be precisely propose a Sam Fisher in its most classic dimension, that is, the one seen in the first three chapters, even if a film focused exclusively on infiltration sequences could be quite a risky move, especially if compared with a Hollywood blockbuster perspective.
The biggest doubt is in fact that relating to the fact that one of the most controversial chapters of the franchise (i.e. Convinction and its markedly action twist) could become the basis for creating a work along the lines of the various latest spectacular Mission: Impossible.
In reality, a filmic parenthesis set inside a maximum security prison (perhaps as the opening of the work) should not be excluded, referring in all respects to Double Agent, with Sam infiltrating none other than a terrorist organization.

In short, the paths that the film could take are many, especially in relation to the possible cinematic sequels.
In fact, immediately playing the card of Sam hunted by his own organization (perhaps winking at the Jason Bourne saga this time) could be an interesting operation in the short term but deleterious in the long term.
The videogame saga itself has in fact been at a standstill for several years. The last chapter released, Blacklist, has tried as much as possible to go back to the origins (giving life to an absolutely enjoyable title but unfortunately unable to generate the hoped-for earnings) symptom of how much the character of Sam Fisher is in fact tied to a specific stealth imagery rather than an exaggeratedly action and over the top dimension.
The key to the success (or failure) of the film will pass precisely from the will of the authors in sticking to the original material, trying to enhance its strengths as much as possible without cutting characters or key moments of life and career. by Sam.

The greatest danger, in fact, could be that of finding yourself in front of a work without the right bite, created only to leverage a name very dear to the entire videogame community but without its own precise authorial identity, instead essential for a solid IP like that of Splinter Cell.
Tom Hardy, however, could be able, both thanks to his stage presence and to his great acting versatility, to give a very marked introspective depth to the character, perhaps playing with the relationship with his daughter Sarah, another key element that we need to understand if and how it will be inserted into the film.
For now, all that remains is to wait with bated breath for the film, which will most likely be released after the dedicated TV series, the latter intending to return the entire franchise to its origins so as to make known the character of Sam Fisher also to spectators and next generation gamers.

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