Kratos’s next big adventure will be on the small screen, as Amazon and Sony are teaming up to adapt God of War into a series. The show is part of Sony’s push to make more adaptations of successful franchises like The Last of Us, whose HBO show is already receiving praise from critics. While the 2018 cinematic sequel/reboot and its sequel God of War Ragnarok will serve as much of the show's inspiration, the series can build out the story of Kratos by going back to his Greek roots in a way the Norse saga never did.
God of War gets the prestige treatment — 2018’s God of War was a radical reinvention of the original trilogy of games following Kratos. A series once known for over-the-top violence and sex mini-games was transformed into a somber and reserved meditation on parenthood and the relationship between a father and son in the wake of the loss of their wife and mother.
One of God of War (2018)’s biggest inspirations is clearly Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, a similarly cinematic game about a single relationship between a parent and child figure. The character-driven, cinematic storytelling of GoW (2018) makes it perfect for adaptation into a prestige television series.
While losing the long combat sections will help reduce the amount of story the series needs to cover, there are still many things it could expand on. Amazon Studios Head of TV Vernon Sanders said in an interview with Collider that the series will remain “true to the source material” and tell the story of the 2018 game.
The series is planned to last more than one season so it is likely it will tell the entire Norse saga, concluding with the events of Ragnarok. But in adapting the story Amazon can flesh out Kratos’s backstory in a way Ragnarok never capitalized on despite a wealth of story material.
Kratos’s tragic backstory — In our review of HBO’s The Last of Us series, Inverse highlights how the expanded world and space given for side characters and stories not fully explored in the original game is one of the series' greatest strengths. Similarly, Amazon’s God of War series can spend more time on Kratos’s troubled history covered in the original trilogy through flashbacks.
In the 2018 reboot, Kratos’s past is loosely referred to but rarely shown. The biggest link between the reboot and the original trilogy is the inclusion of the Blades of Chaos and a short encounter with the Goddess Athena, who plays a major role in Kratos’s Greek adventures.
While many believed that Kratos’s past would play a more important role in Ragnarok, this did not happen. While there were many gamers who knew the history of Kratos and had played the original trilogy, a TV audience will have even less knowledge of Kratos. There will be a greater need to inform viewers of Kratos’s backstory.
Despite its reputation as an action-centric gorefest, the original trilogy still has many important moments of the story that build out the character of Kratos and set the stage for GoW (2018) and Ragnarok.
The difference between Kratos’s angry, always yelling persona in the original trilogy and his reserved quiet personality in the reboot games is one of the important pieces of narrative that hint at how he has changed and what he values. Showing the viewer these moments of the old Kratos can be used to build a fuller picture of the character for audiences to be invested in. diving into his backstory is a chance to let whoever they hire as Kratos (though there really is only one choice) perform outside of the silent persona he has in the reboot games and capture viewers' attention.
With so much potential story left in the original trilogy, the Amazon series needs to take advantage of Kratos’s Greek origins.