Assassin's Creed, marketed as Assassin's Creed: The Movie, is an action-adventure film based on the award-winning series of the same name. It is produced by and stars Michael Fassbender as Aguilar de Nerha, a 15th century Spanish Assassin, and his present day descendant, Callum Lynch.
It is planned as the first installment in a trilogy.
They believe it contains not only the seeds of man's first disobedience but the key to free will itself.
If they find the relic and decode its secrets, they will have the power to control all human thought.
Only a brotherhood called the Assassins stands in their way...
Callum Lynch discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society through unlocked genetic memories that allow him to relive the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in the 15th century Spain. After gaining incredible knowledge and skills he's poised to take on the oppressive Knights Templar in the present day.
The bulk of the film takes place in the present day (65% present, 35% past).
In 1492 Andalusia, during the Granada War, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassins Brotherhood. He is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Knights Templar. In 1986, adolescent Callum "Cal" Lynch finds his mother killed by his father, Joseph, a modern-day Assassin. Gunmen led by Alan Rikkin, CEO of the Templars' Abstergo Foundation, arrive to capture Joseph, who convinces his son to escape.
In 2016, Cal is sentenced to death for murdering a pimp, but his execution is faked by the Abstergo Foundation, which then takes him to their research facility in Madrid. He is told that the Templars are searching for the Apple of Eden, in order to eliminate violence by using the Apple's code to control humanity's free will. Sofia, Alan's daughter and the head scientist, reveals that Cal is a descendant of Aguilar, the last person confirmed to be in possession of the Apple. She puts Cal in the Animus, a machine which allows him to relive (and the scientists to observe) Aguilar's genetic memories, so that Abstergo can learn what he did with the Apple.
In 15th-century Spain, Aguilar/Callum and his partner Maria are deployed to rescue Ahmed, who has been kidnapped by the Templar Grand Master Tomas de Torquemada, to coerce Ahmed's father, Sultan Muhammad XII, to surrender the Apple. Aguilar and Maria intercept the Templars, but are overpowered and captured by Torquemada's enforcer, Ojeda. Cal is quickly pulled out of the Animus by Sofia.
Cal encounters other Assassin descendants held captive at the facility, most of whom are suspicious of his motives, with the exception of Moussa, the descendant of an 18th-century Haitian Assassin named Baptiste and a key leader. Cal begins experiencing hallucinations, dubbed "the Bleeding Effect", of both Aguilar and Joseph. Cal and Sofia build a rapport during their sessions; she confides that her mother was likewise murdered by an Assassin, sharing his hatred of the Brotherhood of which his father is a member.
Back in the Animus, Aguilar and Maria are scheduled for execution but he manages to free them, leading to a rooftop chase in which they escape through an Assassin "Leap of Faith". Cal's mind reacts violently to the session and he is temporarily paralyzed. When Cal learns that his father is also at the facility, he confronts Joseph over his mother's death. Joseph informs him that the Bleeding Effect will allow modern Cal to possess Aguilar's combat abilities. He also learns that his mother was an Assassin, and she chose to die by Joseph's hand rather than be forced into the Animus. Unconvinced, Cal vows to destroy the Assassins by finding the Apple. Meanwhile, Alan is pressured by a Templar Elder, Ellen Kaye, to shut down the multibillion-dollar Animus Project because they have already "won ... people no longer care about their civil liberties ... they're content to follow", leading Sofia to question her father's true intentions.
Reaffirmed by his encounter with his father, Cal willingly enters the Animus once again, whereupon Aguilar and Maria ambush a meeting between Muhammad and Torquemada. They succeed in killing the Templars and retrieving the Apple, though Ojeda captures Maria in order to force Aguilar to surrender it. Instead, Maria chooses death, and stabs herself on Ojeda's blade. Aguilar kills him and escapes through another Leap, the force of which causes the Animus to violently malfunction. Aguilar gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, who promises to take it to his grave. When Moussa and the modern Assassin prisoners start a riot in order to escape, Alan orders the facility purged. Abstergo security kills Joseph and most of the other prisoners.
Cal stands in the Animus chamber and is met with the projections of a number of his Assassin ancestors, including Aguilar, Arno Dorian, Joseph and his mother, while Sofia glimpses the projection of an Assassin identical in appearance to her. Persuaded by his mother, Cal embraces his Assassins' Creed and, having fully assimilated Aguilar's memories and abilities, joins Moussa and two other surviving Assassins in escaping the facility.
Having retrieved the Apple from Columbus' burial vault, Alan and his followers converge at a ceremony in a Templar sanctuary in London to celebrate their triumph. Inside the sanctuary, a disillusioned Sofia meets with Cal, who has come to take the Apple, and she reluctantly allows him to act. Cal retrieves the Apple, but kills Alan to do it. While Sofia vows revenge against Cal, the Assassins depart, vowing to once again protect the Apple from the Templars.
- Michael Fassbender as Aguilar de Nerha/Callum Lynch
- Marion Cotillard as Sofia Rikkin
- Jeremy Irons as Alan Rikkin
- Charlotte Rampling as Ellen Kaye
- Brendan Gleeson as Joseph Lynch
- Essie Davis as Mary Lynch
- Michael K. Williams as Moussa/Baptiste
- Ariane Labed as Maria
- Brian Gleeson as young Joseph Lynch
- Matias Varela as Emir
- Carlos Bardem as Benedicto
- Denis Ménochet as McGowen
- Hovik Keuchkerian as Ojeda
- Javier Gutiérrez as Tomás de Torquemada
- Callum Turner as Nathan
- Michelle H. Lin as Lin
- Khalid Abdalla as Muhammad XII of Granada
Ubisoft began development of the film in May 2011, where it was confirmed for a 3D release. Later that year, Ubisoft was reaching a deal with Sony Entertainment to distribute the film. The terms and conditions surrounding the agreement were described by Hollywood insiders as "unheard of", with Ubisoft getting the final say on the budget, principal cast, script, release date and more.
The level of control is afforded to Ubisoft divided critics of both games and films, with many noting that while Hollywood insiders considered Sony's move to have killed the film before it had even begun, gamers considered the move to be beneficial to the franchise's future, as in recent years, game adaptations had tended to be of poor quality. Senior Vice President of International Marketing, Jean de Rivieres, echoed this sentiment, and claimed that the film will "reflect the brands accurately and consolidate our fan base."
Michael Fassbender came aboard to star and produce a year later. He explained "I met up with the guys from Ubisoft and they told me the story behind it, and I thought it was very interesting — the idea of reliving memories."
On 22 October 2012, it was announced that Ubisoft Motion Pictures had chosen to develop the film in close collaboration with New Regency, because they were "a talent and filmmaker-driven company, with the same independent and creative mindset that we have at Ubisoft Motion Pictures." The development of a screenplay began immediately, and the project was fast-tracked, while still allowing Ubisoft to maintain control of key elements of the film's creative direction. Ubisoft also changed their distributor from Sony Entertainment to 20th Century Fox, though the reason for this has not been made known.
It was decided that characters from the games would not be used, as the film was about "finding a character that was fresh."
Ubisoft hired English writer Michael Lesslie to pen the script for the movie, and Conor McCaughan to help Fassbender produce the film. In 2013, screenwriter Scott Frank (Minority Report, The Wolverine) was rewriting the script. Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, who wrote the original draft of Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings, were assigned to rewrite the script the following year.
In April 2014, it was reported Fassbender was looking to reteam with director Justin Kurzel, with whom he collaborated on the upcoming film version of Macbeth. In August, Fassbender confirmed Kurzel was attached to the project, as was his cinematographer Adam Arkapaw.
In February 2015, it was announced that the film had entered production. Costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ said, "I have much respect for the historical accuracy and vast characterization represented in each game. This has been a fantastic starting point to understand what is needed to be faithful to the artistic content and begin creating our film world. Bearing in mind this rich base, I have used our period of 15th century Spain, with its strong influences of Moorish deco, to give the Assassin's looks a nomadic warrior personification." Filming began on 31 August 2015 and took place in London, Spain and Malta. The movie has also been confirmed to be set within the same universe as the franchise's other media.
On 21 December 2015, Ubisoft tweeted a photo of Abstergo Industries CEO Alan Rikkin's business card. Fans emailing the address or calling the numbers on the card would receive a response: the voicemail was voiced by Jeremy Irons. The voicemail changed later to a different message from Rikkin which was followed by an electronic "hacking" type sound and then Callum Lynch reciting the tenets of The Creed. Sometime after the movie's release, the phone number ceased working.
Devin Graham of YouTube channel Devin Super Tramp worked previously with Ubisoft's support to make Assassin's Creed fan films. TeamSuperTramp was contacted to help with promotion of the film. After recording some of the creation of the film's principal production in Spain in December 2015, they returned the next month, after filming was completed, to film a promotion video with parkour stunts, Assassin's Creed Movie Meets Parkour in Real Life - Day in the Life of a Stunt Man, with Damien Walters separately, the stuntman for Fassbender. This was in case Walters had an accident which would normally hold up production. The precaution became justified when Walters tore ligaments in his left ankle on a bad landing, but the rest of the recording was able to be completed by working around the injury.
- The movie was released exactly four years after Desmond Miles' death in Assassin's Creed III.
- The original ending of the film had Callum as the lone survivor. He would then go on in subsequent films attempting to escape the Templars. Test audiences did not react favorably to this ending, so it was changed prior to release.
- In the deleted scenes, it was revealed that Maria was to have a descendant named Lara. Cameos from Baptiste, Shao Jun, Yusuf Tazim and Duncan Walpole, were also filmed but cut. Lynch was going to briefly perceive his fellow Assassins as their respective ancestors as a manifestation of the Bleeding Effect.
- In the video game Watch Dogs 2 (2014), also developed by Ubisoft, a poster of the movie can be seen.
- Arno Dorian, the protagonist from Assassin's Creed: Unity, briefly appears in the movie.