Chaos Theory: What we want out of the Secret World Legends TV show

Wow. So I had no intention of crafting another Chaos Theory this week. I had plans. Other plans. But then the Secret World Legends announcement hit the airwaves on Monday and all other thoughts left my head as I sat there, stunned. I just couldn’t think of anything else. Could it be real? Was SWL really going to be made into a television series? Holy guacamole, it is! A pipe dream I have wished for five years is actually announced and in the works.

I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I want more story from SWL. Story is what this game does so right, and I just can’t get enough. I’ll probably never get enough! There are so many characters I want to know more about, so much history in locations that I’d love to delve deeper into, and so many fascinating events that we know only know the aftermath of that I’d love to witness firsthand. The IP is so rich with possibilities. I knew that the game would never, ever be able to sate my appetite for more, so I had wished long and hard that other avenues might present themselves: short stories, graphic novels, movies, and yes, television series. I can’t even describe how excited I am for the development of more story from this world. Is there risk? Yes, I get that. But the possibility of so much greatness is there! I seriously can’t wait. Imagine it, 30 to 50 minute cut scenes!

With so many possibilities, what could/should the TV show focus on? I have my opinions. Here are some specifics I’d love to see developed further for our viewing pleasure.

Characters

There are some characters that are simply too amazing to pass up. These folks have completely entranced us just from their dialogue chains and their cutscenes. It would be a serious disservice to not incorporate these amazing personalities into the show, or at least dedicate an episode to them.

Hayden Montag

The headmaster of the Innsmouth Academy was my first thought for this show. The events he alludes to in-game about his past would make for enjoyable entertainment, and I am sure so much more could be discovered about him. I’d love seeing him just running the school! The one caveat is that Jeffery Coombs has to play him; no other voice could ever, ever be Montag!

Said

Everybody’s favorite mummy totally needs some air time. Just think of how many centuries of material you have to work with! You can focus on anything anywhere along his lifetime. Of course, a montage of his business dealings would be pretty interesting. Said’s personality is just begging to be larger than life (or undeath) on a bigger screen.

Nassir

There’s so much seriousness and darkness throughout the IP, and Nassir brings some genuine fun. With his pop culture quips and his dancing, how can he not be a fun sidekick? He’d be especially good paired up with Said; heck, we’ve already got a taste of them as a team.

Andy and Moose

I know many folks have been interested in seeing more of the story of Andy and Moose. Andy is such a sweet guy who sees the world in a way that still gives you hope for the human race, and Moose is such an even-keeled fellow who can McGyver the heck out of stuff. Talk about a fun combo. And of course, there’s the interaction between the two that would be great to see developed further than the little hint here and there.

Just please, do not make me watch the kittens. Please.

Edgar

There are just too many great personalities I’d love to see in a supporting role, like Edgar. He’s an absolute hoot! He’d be great comic relief when you need something to break the darkness and tension of the rest of the show. I want to see Edgar finish his bus and go barreling down the highway with those folks he’s trying to save. Plus? We’d get Tango and Cash.

Ricky Pagan

There’s plenty of room for a second musical character — especially an Elvis impersonator! Ricky doesn’t need to be a main character, but why not put him in a supporting role or on a stage in the background singing? He and his crew would be fun to watch. And there are motorcycles and leather jackets. Win!

Carter

Quiet little Carter… who could blow the school up with her powers. We know scant little about Carter’s life before (or even at) the school, and both areas are ripe for storytelling. All those times her family had to move because her powers manifested themselves. How does a family cope? I think there could be some very endearing drama in this. And then there is life after she makes it to the school.

John

Need I say more? I won’t spoil anything, but for those who know, John could make an entire series. No matter what, John should be in it somewhere. Or everywhere…

Locations

Solomon Island

Secret World Legends is loaded with creepy real-world areas to mine: Egypt, Transylvania, and even Tokyo. But as far as locales for the television show, I don’t think any of the others hold a candle to Solomon Island! Seriously, I think setting the show anywhere else would be a travesty. Oh yes, you can have some time off in other places like the faction HQs, but the bulk of the story I think would be best playing out in Kingsmouth, Savage Coast, and Blue Mountain. That could be because all of the best events transpired there, and I want to see and experience these events for myself. Plus it has the bulk of all the best characters!

I know some folks are reluctant for a focus here because they really do not want “just another zombie show.” Well good news: You don’t even need zombies! Yes, there are plenty of them in the game, but you don’t need them. The filth infected and the various Draug are creepy enough creatures to fill that role. And then add in Jack O’Lantern, ak’eb, and the other critters of legend and lore and you have plenty of monsters without a single reanimated undead. (Well, except for Said, of course; that mummy can stay.)

Innsmouth Academy

Boarding school trope with the best twist! I’d love to see life at this occult institution of learning in its heyday. Think of the fun of a high school show with classes focused on applied paranormal science and the like. Carrie at the prom? I bet that was nothing compared to the Halloween ball there at Innsmouth. Of course, you also get Carter and Montag, which makes the whole idea exponentially awesome.

Amity House

One of my all-time favorite missions was the Templar’s Virgula Divina. Why? Because you are introduced to the Amity House. You only walk through and get glimpses of what all happened in that laboratory — just imagine getting to experience everything that happened there! Creep-tastic!

The Nursery

A companion to the Amity House, there’s The Nursery in Transylvania. This is a place that is begging for a shot at a deeper story. Again, we just see the aftermath, the very creepy aftermath. I’d love, love, love to see the inner workings of this facility in its day. Just watching the nannies take care of all those special children…

Fear Nothing Foundation

A final location that could be a show unto itself is the Fear Nothing Foundation in Tokyo. Without giving too many spoilers, I’ll just say that this whole boarding school-esque environment is ripe for deep story-telling — everything from what it was from inception all the way to the catastrophe.

Events

The fog

One of the events I want to witness the most is when the fog rolls in to Solomon Island.  I want to see the beginning of the story. I want to meet all the residents of Kingsmouth and get to know them and their lives… and then see that all get ripped away in mayhem and madness. I want to see the horror of people changing and the intensity of trying to figure out what is happening. Can you just envision Norma Creed’s no-nonsense reaction as she rolls up her sleeves to face this disaster head on? And what about getting to see Jack Boone and John Wolfe in action, with the nonchalant way they look at things? Oh, and Boone brings in a pretty fun old west feel.

As a bonus, just think how much artistic license you can take here with an entire town/island to populate? The showrunners can add so many new personalities and storylines (just please be sure to keep some of our favorites as well; you’ve got pretty much all the best characters here to utilize).

The History of Franklin Mansion

One mission in-game gave us a little taste of the history of the Franklin Mansion. And I want more! You can do a whole miniseries on the different decades of this habitation. Billy and the artist commune? Check. The Devore family? Check. And I am pretty sure a whole slew of other stories could be added in to account for the many ghosts. You could even tie in the whole Blue Mountain mine stuff to the Devore era.

Atlantic Island Amusement Park/The Park

Who here wants to see the construction of and short operation of this amusement park? I do! Who would love to see a live-action version similar to The Park? Yes please! We know some of the framework, but details and action sequences — and plenty of horror and suspense — to add in. For a slightly different angle, you could focus on the life of our The Park heroine after that fateful experience as she worked with the Venetian Council.

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38 Comments on "Chaos Theory: What we want out of the Secret World Legends TV show"

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O Ra

I want to them hire neil gaiman immediately.

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Sorenthaz

This could either be really awesome, really poor, or possibly just a big ‘eh’.

Really hope they do the series justice, but they should hopefully learn from Defiance’s blunders and not try to force ‘transmedia synergy’ stuff. Then again maybe it could work since SWL isn’t a half-baked game that was rushed out just to line up with the TV show’s schedule.

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Briar Grey

If done right, this could be so awesome. You could even do a different focus each season – one season could be Innsmouth Academy, one could be the fog coming in, one could be Said’s story, etc. Or you could do it more traditionally and just really bring in a lot of the different elements. Now, I hold out no hope that they will actually take the time to be true to the IP and do it right, but you certainly COULD.

I want more on those NPCs the article listed and the monster hunting society and so many other things!

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I really very much hope they end up working closely with the people who have written most of the original story lines of The Secret World. You can’t just hand this off to someone else and have it be anywhere near the same, especially people who are only slightly vaguely familiar with what it’s about.

Those people know how to tell a story. If you hand this over to a group of writers who write the same old TV tropes again and again who just know a little bit about the lore, this will be a big mess that pours filth all over fans.

I’ll try to stay optimistic and will give the show a chance either way, but I’m also very ready to be disappointed as well. I’d hate to get my hopes up too much at this point.

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Dread Quixadhal

I hope the writers are fans of shows like Supernatural. The Secret World has plenty of space for season long (and multi-season) story arcs, as well as quick episodes.

I’d really love to see writing at the level of Babylon 5, where the author adds in enormous amounts of foreshadowing, but is clever enough that you don’t realize it was there until 2 seasons later, when it all clicks and makes sense.

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Tanek

B5 was great at not only adding in the bits of foreshadowing, but following through on other little things almost as a thank you to people who remember the reference. Don’t find much of that around on TV.

Vir: “I’d like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favours come with too high a price. I would look up at your lifeless eyes and wave like this. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?”

xpsync
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xpsync

Great read.
This will be a very cool show if done with good writers and high production values. It’s almost hard not to pick fascinating characters to include, but you have picked some of the standouts for sure, and i can easily come up with half dozen more right off the top of my head.

The game is engrossing on so many levels and if you take it in on all of them. which i have, there is no reason to bother with anything else once you’re home. Most of us have been doing what for so long? Searching, bouncing from game to game trying to find a new home in the wake of wow, finally here is one which doesn’t cookie cut and ironed out the combat to form probably the finest mmo in a very long, long time.

Finally, time to hang the hat and enjoy.

ernost
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ernost

I’m not sure how accurate this quote is, but if true my interest in this is gone:

the show will revolve around a team of undercover agents as they attempt to take on a group of secret societies threatening to take over the world, including the Templar, the Dragon and the Illuminati.

Source: http://comicbook.com/gaming/2017/08/14/johnny-depp-s-infinitum-nihil-bringing-the-secret-world-to-tv/

It is clear that whoever wrote that has only a vague understanding of the game’s lore. The secret societies aren’t “threatening to take over the world”, they already run it. Also, going by that they have made every player’s character into a one of the bad guys.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Oh my. That sounds… horrible. That’s not in line with what our stories are here at all. I hope like the other reply says, this is just a starting point. The agents discover what is really going on and that it’s not these groups trying to take over the world but trying to save it and fix what’s going on.

I have a bad feeling about that quote but will still try to keep some hope.

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Tanek

Actually, that might not be a bad starting point for a series. Since you would hope that more people would watch than are familiar with the game, having the initial perspective from a “normal” person just learning about the societies could set the bait on the hook.

Have the first couple of episodes follow them trying to fight against these secret organizations. Then in the third episode, the undercover agents are infected with the filth and perspective shifts to the real cast as they take care of the problem and are shown to be the (somewhat) good side. :P

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Let us hope that’s just a starting point. That sounds like people who have no clue what the actual game is about. We need the original TSW writers heavily involved. Let the world see what great stories they can construct. Don’t hand it over to the same old Hollywood “let’s do the same thing again” TV tropes fans posing as writers that we see again and again for shows.

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ogged451

How about something easy like “the protagonist speaks” ?
A show about mutes throwing fireballs won’t make it halfway to season 2 😬

ernost
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ernost

There is a show revolving around something similar to Innsmouth, The Magicians. When I did those missions, that was the first thing I thought of.

One of the events I want to witness the most is when the fog rolls in to Solomon Island. I want to see the beginning of the story. I want to meet all the residents of Kingsmouth and get to know them and their lives… and then see that all get ripped away in mayhem and madness. I want to see the horror of people changing and the intensity of trying to figure out what is happening.

So like this?

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Tanek

Heh. Yeah, that would make it hard to start with the fog without fighting the comparisons.

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enamel

Transmedia synergy.

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Crowe

The idea of a TSW TV show sounded interesting but then I read that Depp was involved and lost interest. With the last 4 or 5 things he’s done being crap, I think this project should just be scrapped. When I checked his IMDB page, it becomes apparent that the last “decent” thing he did was his 2012 cameo in the 21 Jump Street movie. (before that, I have to go back to the original PotC in 2003 to find something I watched that wasn’t totally awful) I know he’s just a producer but… he produced the Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows, and Mortdecai. So… full stop!

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A Dad Supreme

“I know he’s just a producer but… he produced the Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows, and Mortdecai”
===================
I think there’s a big difference between directing and writing, and I see others making this mistake too.

If you’re saying those movies were badly directed, I’d have to disagree. I think the writing and basic story of the shows weren’t that good to begin with.

The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows were going to be compared to classics… TSW isn’t a classic and the story is pretty wide open. I mean, how can you make Tonto, a racial stereotype who barely spoke English in the original as a sidekick.. interesting as the lead in a remake?

It all depends on what they want to use as the point in TSW and that’s where the directing comes in.

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Crowe

Nope, I never said anything about directing or writing. However, I do agree that they were poorly written. Tonto from The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) was about as well handled as it could be. I had hoped for something along the same lines. But this remake was so bad that I’m doubtful I’ll see another in my lifetime.
Anyways, what I was trying to say is that I think most of Depp’s decisions over the past decade were pretty freaking bad and I fear for any project he is attached to… especially one with as much potential as TSW has.

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Denice J. Cook

Wow, I wonder if the show will ever pull a Game of Thrones and go so far beyond the original game writers’ stories that they’ll effectively give up, too! :P

…Not that G.R.R. was ever going to cough up another book anyway, though….

astald
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astald

Dimir Farm is one place they really have to go to in the show for entertainment value. Although I’m also interested in what monsters will appear in the show as well. Filth creatures obviously but I’m hoping for the Little Ones/Gaki maybe even an appearance from Flappy.

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wratts

I hope whoever does the production realizes that it’s the side characters who absolutely make the world. In a way, I’d almost hope they go mature-animated rather than live action. Jeffrey Combs is great, and obviously the in-game character was patterned off him, but I don’t know how many of the other characters were.

Seems to me that going animated would get around the problem that sci-fi TV always has with cheap special effects, and would let the producers bring in as much of the original voice talent as possible. Go with an updated, stylized look that would be familiar to the built in audience, and I think you could do some really cool crossover events. Lots of potential

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haakon_tangvald-pedersen

Yes, this bears a thorough thinking, because the atmosphere is just as important as the NPCs in the game. Not even a master actor can save cheesy special effects from ruining the atmosphere. I’d PREFER real life filming, but then they have to be absolutely sure to get the monsters and atmosphere right.

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Hirku

I think animation is a better way to go, too, and it fits with the whole comic style the game has had with content issues.

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Hirku

I actually have no interest in the show myself, so the only thing I want is a whole lot of other people to watch it and then go play the game.

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Rottenrotny

Certainly a lot of great potential.
Would loooooove to see Jeffrey Coombs! His voice and demeanor are unmistakable.

I’m cautiously optimistic. Hope they don’t blow it.

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BalsBigBrother

I don’t care anymore I think me and SWL just had a parting of the ways moment. /sigh

Hope you all continue to enjoy the game where ever it ends up going or in whatever form it takes.

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thickenergy

If you don’t mind me asking, what was the trigger? Personally, I had about a week break from the game while moving and realized that I just don’t find the game play compelling enough to go back.

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BalsBigBrother

The latest snafu with the Funcom to Aurum points transfer and a date gated restriction that they have only just got round to telling us about.

Funcom are veteran mmo developers they should know better but they are running this whole thing like a rookie start up (apologies to rookie startups.) I can forgive a few hiccups if they learn from them but I keep seeing the same mistakes and I have had enough.

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A Dad Supreme

I think most of the people listed above, while our favorites, are “bit players” in the overall scheme of the lore and story of TSW.

The real meat/potatoes as far as a series will (should) be

1) Templars
2) Illuminati
3) Triad.

Why? It should be obvious: those are the organizations that are a constant through every episode/zone while the people we like as players are only ‘quest hubs’. You cannot flesh out, say Carter’s story, because she’s really not even a “B” player in the game. Carter would be more like a spinoff or a one show appearance with maybe some cameos. Even someone like Wicker is more important story wise.

The backbone is surely The Filth and the organizations investigating it, the main factions and to a lesser extent, the Phoenicians and the Council of Venice.

Think of a show like The Magicians (excellent btw). The story is about magic but the show revolves around the organization of the school and those headmasters as much as the students.

Sure, they could focus the show on any aspect they want since it’s so large a story and we all know even books aren’t faithfully translated into shows (Game of Thrones), but if they spent a major part focusing on things like Nassir, Said, and Innsmouth rather than the scheming relationships between the factions (who all speak ill of each other) and their constant attempts to fight each other AND the Filth , I would be highly disappointed.

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Hirku

Did you seriously just call the Dragon “Triad”? Hmm, I don’t think your part of the equation is going to turn out well. ; )

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A Dad Supreme

LOL yeah. For some reason whenever I think of them, that name comes to mind.

Granted I have only played through Templar and Illy, but I guess that tells you what I’ve thought of them over these years when I couldn’t even remember that faction’s name.

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Tobasco da Gama

I think a really smart way to structure the show would be to use a newly-inducted Council of Venice agent as the point of introduction to everything. Being new lets them be out of the loop with regards to the details of all the Secret Societies (giving an excuse to explain things for the audience) while being in the CoV justifies why they’re able to go everywhere in the Secret World to investigate things and solve problems. A Templar agent might not get an invite to Illuminati HQ, for instance, but a CoV agent might, if the Lumies needed the Council’s help with something.

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Tobasco da Gama

I think this would make a pretty good story outline, too.

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