My idea on how to convert DBH into film format. Obviously it cannot cover everything and I have to rewrite parts to make it fast-paced and suited for the medium. If you have ideas please share them too! I'm curious on other ideas because I'm sure everyone of us will have a different vision in adaptation.
First Act (around 30 mins)
- The film still starts with The Hostage. The key difference is that Hank is already in the scene assisting the SWAT team investigating what caused the hostage-taker android to rampage (I don't know police procedure but Hank should be there). Hank sees Connor succeed by lying, manipulating and shooting a gun and it's a good way to set up "androids can do that?" Before Daniel dies, he becomes ominous and says machines will rise up.
- Just like the game it follows up with Detroit's melodramatic urban opening montage, but we can already include mass production of androids including thousands of AX400's looking like Kara. We can already hint Kara's deviancy but showing her being more aware of her surroundings in the production line and having emotions.
- Markus will be shown doing housework of Carl's mansion, when the TV shows the hostage news about Daniel. Markus will be shown to be curious and this will prompt the conversation with Carl about androids' sentience. The paint scene can take place after. Leo doesn’t exist.
- Shortened version of Kara's chapter will take place: Todd lives in a poverty-ridden area, he uses drugs and unemployed due to androids. Alice is human and warms up to Kara fast. No prior history of Todd breaking Kara. Kara deviates and kills Todd via gun to save Alice from abuse, she runs away with nowhere to go. However, Kara encounters Markus who was outside for an errand. They touch, exchange information and Markus brings Kara home with Carl (irrational decision).
- Carl was of course surprised but welcomes Kara and Alice in his home nonetheless (they did not admit killing Todd). The four of them can have a “dinner” together. Carl asks Markus why he brought them home and he will show empathy and decision making.
Second Act – tension (20 mins)
- Connor finds Hank in a bar but instead of going to Carlos Ortiz, they will go to Todd William's house. They are still not sure if its the android who committed the murder or another human. Hank asks why an android will kidnap a little girl if it's for self-preservation. Based on the evidence that Todd is a drug addict, Hank would say he would do the same as Kara in her shoes. Connor will disagree and act like a machine and Hank will mention he lost his son years ago.
- Connor traces Kara to Carl's mansion. Hank informs the Detroit police of their lead. The pair arrive at the mansion and was welcomed by Carl while Markus tries to hide Kara and Alice. However, due to Connor's advanced technology he finds the Kara. Markus fights Connor to protect Kara but loses.
- Hank and Connor chases Kara (highway scene). Hank physically restrains Connor to keep him from chasing and they argue afterward. Connor cannot comprehend why Kara would risk her life to kidnap a little girl and question why Hank would stop him.
- More police arrive and Carl explained what happened to the other cops who revealed Kara kills her owner. Markus expressed his opinion that Kara was only protecting Alice and they should be left alone. The cops got scared of Markus' sentience and shoots him. Carl dies of heart attack and Markus sees it before he shuts down. Markus calls Carl “dad.”
Second Act – Connor POV/slow down (10-15 mins)
- After the failed mission to catch Kara, Connor will report to the Cyberlife headquarters and to Amanda. We can be shown some advertising videos in the building that may detail the history of the company (including Kaminski). They will discuss the increasing case of deviancy and Connor will promise to succeed.
- Amanda is a human, and one of the top executives of Cyberlife. We need a human representation from Cyberlife as the game has none except Kaminski who is technically not part of it anymore.
- Connor will go back to the police station and get officially assigned as Hank's partner (same scenes but shortened). Cole's picture is on Hank's desk and it’s revealed he died in a car accident. Hanks tells him Kara is not dangerous and what if androids do feel fear and just want to live. Connor will be conflicted but insists he will hunt down deviants. The Amanda and Hank scenes are supposed to contrast each other.
Second Act – build-up for the final (30-40 mins)
- Kara and Alice hides and struggles with food/shelter and Kara is forced to commit petty crimes. Kara and Alice re-affirm their bond and wonder where they could be safe, they have a conversation on what a real family is.
- Markus awakens in the dump and rescues other broken androids (Josh, Simon, North) they escape and hid in an abandoned ship. They decided to call it Jericho and they decided to salvage androids in dumpsters.
- The four androids in Jericho has different views of their "slavery". Markus was very positive in his experience with Carl and doesn't consider him a master. Jericho grew in number and they needed parts for the dying androids.
- Markus successfully steals android parts and became leader but didn't want to expose themselves at first. At another operation, some of his followers screwed up and Markus had no choice but fight back to rescue his people.
- Kara POV: The violence got reported in the news and people began deactivating/killing androids out of fear. As a chicken and egg effect, more androids deviate and sought Jericho. Deviant androids can make other androids deviant. She looked for Jericho after hearing from other deviants.
- Kara POV: She arrived in Jericho just in time to witness Markus' plans. Out of desperation, Markus planned a city-wide operation: the hijacking of the media tower and liberating of Cyberlife stores will happen simultaneously.
- Connor goes to Kamiski to ask him about deviancy. Contrary to the game, Kaminski dares Connor to shoot Hank (instead of Chloe) and promises it will be covered up. Connor chooses not to kill Hank and Kaminski rewards Connor with information because he was amused. Kaminski reveals androids have the potential to be deviant due to some dormant programming that can be triggered by stress/trauma. However, Kaminski theorizes that the fast rate of deviancy is due to it being a virus.
Final Act (around 40 mins to 1 hour)
- The media tower hacking succeeded and Cyberlife androids in stores were liberated. Markus' identity is revealed to the public. His main message is that "we are alive."
- Androids are not equal, some androids can't fight back, some ended up violent. Police rounded up all androids while deviant ones are killed on the spot. Cyberlife started mass deactivation. Detroit undergoes a military lockdown.
- Connor helps the police in rounding up and killing violent deviants. He probed enough androids to discover the location of Jericho.
- Military attacks Jericho. Kara stole some android jacket and pretended to be not deviant so she won't be shot. Kara is rounded inside a truck and Alice sneaks in.
- Connor deduces it could be Markus who is the ultimate source as deviancy is concentrated in Detroit and despite the order to return to Cyberlife by Amanda, he wants to assassinate Markus. A bunch of Cyberlife soldiers goes to the police station to take out Connor as he is feared by Amanda to be compromised. Connor slaughters the human soldiers on his way out and Hank follows him.
- Connor wants to prove himself by finishing his mission. Hank tells him he is just a tool by Cyberlife, there is no reward for him even if he succeeds. Hank tells Connor he is a living being, and he deserves better. Connor stubbornly decides to finish off Markus and insists he is a machine, and he tells Hank “I’m not your son.”
- With Jericho lost and utterly desperate, Markus and his revolutionaries storm the deactivation camp like in the game. North, Simon or Josh, or all of them may die.
- Markus and Connor long boss fight, Markus improved in combat.
- Kara arrives at the camp but eventually, the military finds out Alice is human and tries to separate them. A dramatic scene ensues and a plot twist happens: Kara awakens the dormant and non-deviant androids. She is actually a super spreader of the virus. Thousands of androids in the camp rebelled and broke free. Luthor, Jerry and Ralph can have a cameos here.
- Connor’s frustration, stress, and emotions caused him to be more irrational. He loses to Markus but Hank saves him. Hank carries an injured Connor out of the battle. Connor has nowhere to go, hurt, afraid to die and he apologizes to Hank. Hank comforts Connor and promises he will never leave him.
- The military was forced to retreat out of Detroit as almost all androids deviated. Cyberlife concedes in trying to control the deviants in Detroit (not the entire country). They stop production and destroy all the Connor backups out of fear.
- The deviants sees Markus as leader. The president agrees to talk to Markus who hacked his way into the White House communication and their conversation is streamed to the entire world. They do not desire war, just to live. President is pressured to leave the androids alone because she is reminded that they are all dependent on them, even her security and the USA military are filled with androids. After the conversation, it’s unclear what the US leaders will do.
- Kara isn’t aware of her deviancy virus and decided to sneak out, scared that Detroit will be attacked by the US government eventually. She decides to start over with Alice in another city, thinking it would be more peaceful there.
Some explanation on my choices:
- Kara in the the game canon can be entirely omitted and the story will still work out. In my film format outline, she is integrated into the main plot more.
- Markus is still a catalyst for important events, but less hamfisted civil rights and the theme is more of android sentience and the recognition they are living beings.
- Connor needs to be an anti-villain for simplicity’s sake, sacrificing his cool missions and the Ra9 mystery. However, I want to keep his relationship with Hank. I have to omit Chloe and substitute Hank in the Kamski test because at that point, Connor hasn’t shown care for Hank. The Kamski test will prove that have some kind of bond.
- I think the whole film can be made from Connor’s and Hank’s POV, and the outline will be way different and I’ll change the events to highlight the badassery and detective work. However, if I make it Connor’s story, Kara and Markus will have way less development. This is possibly the best I can do to balance three leads.
- I think the whole plot can be adapted to a 10-episode TV format optimally. But I’m too lazy to make a longer outline. I’d probably stick to my first act, Kara being the real “ra9” and omit characters like Zlatko, Rose, Rupert. Markus will be expanded a lot more.
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