The Uncharted movie is finally bringing the hit video game series to the big screen, but the first trailer for the film has revealed that it’s also making some big changes. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film stars Tom Holland as Nathan Drake, Mark Wahlberg as Victor “Sully” Sullivan, and Sophia Taylor Ali as Chloe Frazer, as well as a supporting cast that includes Tati Gabrielle and Antonio Banderas. Uncharted is scheduled to release on February 18, 2022.
When it comes to adapting video games, Hollywood doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record. A big reason why so many past attempts have failed is because they change too much about the core story of their games, leading to films that hold little appeal for new audiences or fans of the originals. Obviously, some things must be changed to make video games work on the big screen, but striking the balance of how much to alter and how much to keep the same is difficult to find.
Unfortunately, the new Uncharted movie trailer hints that the film may not be getting that balance right. There are a number of obvious retcons visible throughout, both in terms of character portrayals and the overall timeline of the franchise. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the film will be a failure, but it doesn’t bode well for those looking for a faithful recreation of the games. Here are the biggest retcons the Uncharted movie is making.
The Uncharted Movie Changes How Nate And Sully Meet
In the Uncharted video games, Nathan Drake meets Sully when he’s just 15. At the time, Nate’s in Colombia, making his own way through the world and trying to steal a ring that belonged to famed pirate Sir Francis Drake – something Sully also happens to be after. The two characters cross paths when they both make a play for the same treasure, ultimately starting a beautiful, lifelong mentorship and friendship. In the Uncharted movie, however, Holland’s Nathan Drake meets Sully quite differently.
The Uncharted trailer starts with a scene of Nate working as a bartender in an upscale New York City lounge. It’s there that he meets Sully. At this point in the story, Holland’s Drake appears to be around 20 years old, maybe even a little older. This change not only retcons how old Nate and Sully are when they meet and how their relationship begins; it also effectively erases all the events of Uncharted 3, which hinge directly on the heist that initially brings the two treasure hunters together. That indicates that the Uncharted movie exists in a completely different canon than the games.
The Uncharted Movie Changes How Sam Drake Disappears
Nathan Drake’s brother Sam remains hidden in the Uncharted trailer, but he’s mentioned several times. The treasure of Ferdinand Magellan that Nate and Sully are searching for also appears to be tied to Sam’s disappearance, according to a line from Sully in the trailer. As of yet, no actor has been announced to be playing Sam Drake in the Uncharted movie, but it seems possible that he could show up towards the end of the film in a sort of cameo. Either way, this version of Sam’s story is very different from that of the Uncharted video games.
In the games, Sam doesn’t go missing until he and Nate are both adults, and he’s actually believed to be dead until proven otherwise in Uncharted 4. Earlier in their lives, Sam did have a knack for disappearing for long stretches while working on one job or another, but he always came back. In Holland’s Uncharted movie, Nathan Drake seems to have been missing his brother for some time, but under notably different circumstances. It’s not a huge change, but given how significant Nate and Sam’s past becomes later in the games, it could have larger implications if an Uncharted sequel is ever produced.
How The Uncharted Movie Changes Sully
While not exactly a retcon, the Uncharted trailer shows some big changes to the character of Victor Sullivan. In the games, Sully is a gruff, cigar-chomping, cuss word-slinging Paul Newman type with a bushy moustache and a penchant for complaining. He’s a strong and distinct personality who brings a lot of fun energy to the world of Uncharted. Unfortunately, the Uncharted movie’s version of Sully seems to be lacking a lot of those defining traits. Wahlberg’s Sully has no moustache. He has no cigar. He speaks in low tones and has very little in the way of distinctive mannerisms or big personality traits. He appears, in all ways, unremarkable. That doesn’t inherently make him a bad character, but when the source material is so rich with catchphrases and iconic behaviors – none of which are present in the Uncharted trailer – it’s hard not to see the changes as harmful overall.
How The Uncharted Movie Changes Nathan Drake
Sony has also made some big changes to the Nathan Drake character in Holland’s Uncharted prequel, and not just in the character’s age. It’s true that, since the film has been positioned earlier in the overall Uncharted timeline, Nate is a good deal younger than audiences might expect, but that doesn’t explain the other ways in which the character has been altered in his transition to the big screen. He’s less snarky, less cocky, more naïve, and in many ways feels more similar to Holland’s naive MCU Spider-Man than to the Nathan Drake of the video games. That’s not necessarily the fault of the actor. Rather, it reflects less than favorably on Sony’s overall direction with the movie, which seems to be prioritizing general audience appeal over loyalty to the source material.
Even in flashbacks to his teenage years, the Uncharted games always show Nate to be tough, driven, street-savvy person. By contrast, the movie trailer includes a line where Holland’s Nathan Drake says he’s been “dreaming about this stuff” since he was a kid, indicating that this is his first real treasure-hunting adventure. In the games, he would have already been on several, having traveled around the world with his brother and learning the ropes. Overall, the movie seems to be changing Nathan Drake to fit his actor, rather than the other way around. It might seem like a minor change, but because Uncharted is already a pretty derivative story pulling from established franchises like Indiana Jones, removing the backstories and traits that make its lead characters unique seems like a big mistake.
- Uncharted (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
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