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Netflix Potential: Lady Death

If you could remake a movie, how would you do it?

The Goddess of Death deserves a better movie! - Comics Binding

If you could remake a movie of your choice; which would it be and how would you go about re-adapting it?

Last year I did an article on the Top 5 Comic Book Films which deserve a second chance. The feedback I got was fantastic and one comment in particular stuck out to me asking about who would play the leads in these remakes.

So, a few months back I took to social media and asked how someone would go about remaking the Lady Death film. One answer that I got was that a Netflix style reboot along the lines of Castlevania would be a better idea.

I've had a few ideas over the past few months and figured I'd share them.

Before that, however, who is Lady Death?

From Comic Book to Underwhelming Film: Who is Lady Death?

The film adaptation was bad but... - AnimeBlurayUK

Lady Death was created by writer Brian Pulido and artist Steven Hughes and printed by CHAOS Comics around the time that the Comics Code Authority was somewhat discontinued.

She got her start in Evil Ernie: Youth Gone Wild in 1991 as the perceived hallucinations of psychotic teen killer, Ernest Fairchild. She promised eternal love for him—the catch being he had to kill everyone on earth... yikes.

The character got her own solo story in 1994 with a 3-issue miniseries; the Reckoning. From 1994 this lovely lady we love, hate, and even fear graced comic book readers with buckets of blood and a ton of dark humor until 2002 when CHAOS Comics had to file for bankruptcy. 

Crossgen Entertainment purchased the character from CHAOS Comics and ran a short series titled Medieval Lady Death until filing for bankruptcy in 2004. That same year, ADV Films released an animated movie, Lady Death: the Motion Picture. The film was a critical and commercial bomb and while Brian Pulido has established a company of his own to publish her stories, there hasn't been a film of Lady Death or any other CHAOS Comics characters since.

Let's look at a few basics.

Lady Death leads an assault in Hell - misterneil.blogspot.com

Here's a question to start us off: what will the story be? Well, this is kind of tricky to answer—taking into account that the Chaos Comics run of Lady Death stories alone spanned 11 years or so from the Reckoning (1994) to Dark Alliance (2002).

The CHAOS Lady Death stories include:

  1. Lady Death: the Reckoning
  2. Lady Death II: Between Heaven and Hell
  3. Lady Death III: the Odyssey
  4. Lady Death IV: the Crucible
  5. Lady Death: Death Becomes Her
  6. Lady Death Monthly 
  7. Lady Death: the  Rapture
  8. Lady Death: Judgement War
  9. Armageddon
  10. Lady Death: Dark Millennium

There are several other stories from the CHAOS run of the character that the series could go with. There are also stories from Crossgen Entertainment and Avatar Press that could be used.

What about the length per episode? I'd say about 30 or 40 minutes per episode would be a good length. In terms of an age restriction, I'd say anywhere from 16 to 18 but that's just me. Ultimately that's up to the MPAA or whoever deals with that kind of thing.

Series Structure: 2 Arcs

Goddess Returns was the penultimate CHAOS Comics series for Lady Death - comicsextra

Okay so, how would the series be laid out? Well, this is kind of tricky because many of the CHAOS stories are in 2 or 3 issue miniseries—now that's not a bad thing; it just makes things a bit more...complicated.

The 2 main storylines in the CHAOS run are: Megadeath and Dark Millennium.

Megadeath is obviously enough the end of the world when all life is extinguished from Earth. You could start off by having the Reckoning be the pilot episode and build towards the inevitable occurrence of megadeath in the 1999 Armageddon miniseries. This would conclude the first arc/season of the show.

The second arc/season would start off with Dark Millennium, the first followup to Armageddon. The show would then detail the aftermath of Armageddon as the world is reborn (I think) and Lady Death has to figure out what's happened and why—something the writers of the comic never really explained...

Alternatively, the series could go a completely different direction and adapt a different Lady Death title (i.e. Lady Death: Apocalypse from Avatar Press). Another alternative would be an all-original storyline featuring Lady Death and her many CHAOS! Comics co-stars.

So, who would voice the characters?

Casting the Series: Who would play who?

Lady Death thrashing her nemesis Purgatori in Lady Death II: Between Heaven and Hell - bloodgoddess

In order to bring a series like this to life, you need actors and actresses who can play these characters believably. The trick is to find actors and actresses who can portray every aspect of each character; a feat in and of itself.

So... who would I cast to voice these characters and why? Let's say, hypothetically speaking, we use Lady Death: the Reckoning as the pilot episode or even the full first season. This makes the casting a bit easier as we only really need to worry about a small handful of characters. Those characters are:

  • Hope/Lady Death
  • Mathias
  • Lucifer
  • Pagan
  • Cremator
  • Niccolo

The best part is that since this is an animated series we're looking at; all that we really need to focus on (apart from the obvious contractual stuff) is which voice suits which character.

Mathias - Charles Dance

Charles Dance in Underworld Awakening - underworld.fandom.com

I haven't seen much of Dance; he was in Dracula Untold and Underworld Awakening. I've also seen him in a few episodes of Game of Thrones beyond that I haven't seen much of his work.

Casting him to voice Mathias just seems right. He's got the right blend of menace and charm. He can play up the tyrannical nature of the character perfectly.

Who better to play this role than Tywin Lannister?

Lucifer - Ian McKellan

Gandalf the Grey as Lucifer? - Syfy Wire

Sir Ian McKellan might seem like an odd choice to play the Lord of Lies but if you think about it he may actually be perfect.

I've only seen him in two roles, the saint-like but unpredictable Gandalf the Grey/White in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies and the villainous Magneto in the X-Men series. In fact, his portrayal of Magneto is a fantastic example of why McKellan should play Lucifer.

Magneto is calm and calculated, everything he does has a purpose and he has a way of making even the most heinous acts sound justified—sometimes.

Pagan - Tom Hiddleston

Who better to play a trickster than the Norse god of mischief?

For those readers who haven't read the Lady Death comics, Pagan is the court jester and the resident pain in the neck trickster of Hell.

So, I'll ask you a question: who better to play a trickster than the Norse god of mischief? Tom Hiddleston's Loki is both a serious threat and a lovable pain in the neck. The actor himself has a fantastic sense of humor and could pull off this role with relative ease.

What do you guys think?

Cremator - Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen could be a really good choice... - Daily Express

Okay, time to really make a fool of myself for a second; I thought Michael Madsen was Cremator in the 2004 ADV films adaptation. Rob Mungle, the guy who actually voiced Cremator in the 2004 film, had such a similar-sounding voice that I thought he was Madsen.

Silly of me, I'll admit; but an honest mistake just the same. Anyways, on the off chance that we actually do get a Lady Death series on Netflix; I think Madsen would be brilliant as Cremator. He just has this gravelly voice which I feel suits the character just fine.

Niccolo - Josh Hutcherson

Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth in Red Dawn - Movieweb

The love interest of Hope/Lady Death, Niccolo only appears in one story—the Reckoning—and his sole purpose is seemingly to be the token love interest character and cause some sort of emotional distress for Lady Death when he dies at the end of the story.

This role was kind of difficult to cast and you could argue that since Niccolo is a once-off character anyone could play the part. You'd be right too, the character has little to no real purpose and, as previously stated, he dies at the end of the Reckoning. That said, I've often wondered at the slight resemblance between the character of Niccolo and Ernest Fairchild (Evil Ernie).

From what I understand, Hutcherson likes to play different roles in different projects so this could be something right up his alley—so to speak. He's able to make every character he plays at least somewhat memorable which, in this case, would be very helpful to the character of Niccolo.

Hope/Lady Death - Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington in Game of Thrones - NME.com

Danaerys Targaryen started out as a doormat in Game of Thrones, to the point where I got frustrated whenever the character was on screen. Then came the scene where she threatened her abusive older brother:

"the next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands!"

That was a cool moment in and of itself and her watching her brother get what he deserved at the hands of Drogo was where she really started to come into her own as a character. A big part of this is actress Emilia Clarke's portrayal.

Clarke made this character bearable and while I haven't watched Game of Thrones beyond season 01; I hear Daenaerys has become quite a badass. In a way Daenaerys mirrors Hope/Lady Death; both start out vulnerable and weak and grow into these badass warrior women.

There's potential here.

Lady Death reassuring her Valkyrie half-sister - TV Tropes

The biggest problem with this series is that Lady Death is largely unknown. Unless you've read the comics or seen the film, you probably wouldn't know who she is. This is admittedly kind of depressing because she's a fantastic character and it's sad that she doesn't really get much recognition anymore.

There's a lot of potential here and I'd like to see if anything does happen with this idea. Although, whether or not Netflix will do an adaptation at some point I don't know but one can dream.

I've had a blast with this article so maybe I'll do another one—maybe on Lady Death's nemesis Purgatori—what do you guys think?