The answer, surprisingly, lies with Mel Brooks.
Assassin’s Creed, with its anthology based premise, has the perfect set up for a cinematic universe. So, it’s no surprise that the Assassin Creed film has been in development for a long time. Some would say too long, with some negative rumblings concerning the script over the years. However, the minute Michael Fassbender became a producer on the film in addition to taking the leader role things began to turn around. The director of the promising upcoming Macbeth adaptation, Justin Kurzel, was brought on and we have no doubt that the script was reworked.
Today, a new picture of Michael Fassbender was released along with details about the characters he’ll be playing and the setting they’ll inhabit.
Let’s see this new picture.
Here it is. It seems to be of the Assassin Aguilar, who lived in 15th century Spain:
So, he’s a new character?
Yup. As is Fassbender’s modern day character Callum Lynch.
It seems the filmmakers are pulling a Quantum Leap and using the same actor for different characters… which makes sense seeing as how Fassbender’s modern day character will be reliving his ancestor’s memories.
So, what will be going on in 15th century Spain?
The more pertinent question is… what went on in 15th century Spain that they can use in the movie?
The answer to that is: The Spanish Inquisition.
What is the Spanish Inquisition?
It was a movement established in 1478 by influential figures in the Catholic church designed to root out heretics in the church. You see, in the Medieval era religion really was the glue that held society together. Faith became the guiding star, so you were often judged by how pious and devout you were to Christ if you lived in Europe. So, when the Spanish Inquisition got started you can imagine how seriously people took it when it was really just a way for the Church to maintain control on the population through fear.
Of course, the whole thing got way out of hand. Torture was rampant, many were falsely accused, and people were forced to confess to crimes against the church they never committed. Jews and Muslims in particular were given horrific treatment. At the head of it for many years was Torquemdada, the Grand Inquisitor.
If you couldn’t tell, he’s probably going to be a Templar and the film’s villain.
If you have any more questions, you can get a real sense of it from this section of Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I:
What about the modern day stuff?
If the games are any indication, they’ll make up 30% of the total narrative and probably act as set up for the sequel. We’d be very pleasantly surprised if they actually did tell a self contained story, however. With the talent associated with the film it’s certain a possibility. If there was ever a video game movie that had a chance of actually being good… it’s this one.