Any fan of the Doom series of video games born after a certain year remembers the 2005 movie Doom starring Karl Urban and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. While not faithful to its source material in any way, the movie was at the very least entertaining and is one that can be very easily be thrown on during a party or a gathering of friends if they need a laugh or want to tear it apart like on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
It has, however, been almost two decades since that movie’s release. With the recent revival of the series with the release of the videogame Doom in 2016 and its followup, Doom Eternal, in 2020, interest in the series has reached a new high. High enough that most have forgotten about the 2005 movie and are likely ready to accept a new, and ideally much better made, movie adapting the adventures of Doomguy.
From a movie-making perspective, a proper Doom movie would probably be costly to make and likely require a lot of CGI. What’s more, the story of Doom is actually straightforward and does not require any thorough investigation of the source material to understand what it is. This is, ironically, likely why the 2005 Doom movie is the way it is, someone on the production team thought that there needed to be a deeper, more complex story where none needed to exist. The recent revival of the series with the 2016 and 2020 games did expand on what little lore there was in the original 1993 game Doom in their own way and ironically made the story they wanted to tell that much easier to understand.
There is a school of thought in movie making that believes that films need to explain everything that happens in them to avoid alienating members of their audience and, as such, get more bodies into seats. However, the popularity of the recent revival series shows that this is not necessarily the case, and that is this lesson that producers need to keep in mind when attempting to make a Doom movie again. That not everything needs to be explained.
The Saga of Doomguy
The protagonist of the Doom games is known by many names, including Doomguy, The Doom Marine, Corporal Flynn Taggart, BJ Blazkowicz III (not kidding), The Hell Walker, and most recently, The Doom Slayer, or simply just The Slayer. However, the thing to remember about all of these names is that at the end of the day, none of them matter. In theory, it could have been anybody under that helmet, which was always meant to be the case, that the Doomguy could be anybody. In the end, what this means is that who the Doomguy is does not matter nearly as much as what he does, and what he does is incredibly simple. He kills demons.
Doomguy’s actual story begins in the first Doom game in 1993, where demons from hell come out of a portal on a base on the planet Mars. When that happens, Doomguy takes it upon himself to kill all the monsters, but then in the game’s sequel, Doom II: Hell on Earth, the demons start attacking Earth, so Doomguy goes there to kill them all as well. What happens after that is left largely up for debate as the games released after Doom II tend to contradict each other.
However, the revival series picks up sometime after the events of Doom II, as the Doom Slayer wakes up from an extended slumber in a stone coffin to do, what else, kill more demons. Then in Doom Eternal, it is revealed that the Doom Slayer is, in fact, the same Doomguy from the original Doom games. The point of all of this is to illustrate that the story of Doom is an incredibly simple one. There is a guy whose name does not matter, killing demons. That is it. This simplicity is part of why the recent revival series works so well.
Due to limitations of what could be done with video games in 1993, the original Doomguy did not actually have any sort of character at all. He was just a guy killing demons. Fast-forward to 2016, when video games are bigger, better, and more expensive than ever, suddenly there is an opportunity to expand upon what little information, lore, and characterization there actually was. However, the developers of the 2016 Doom, id Software, chose to keep the spirit of the original game’s simplicity alive by going about this in a very peculiar way. When the Doom Slayer wakes up at the beginning of the game, the first thing he does is, what else, kill some demons. After doing so and gearing up to kill more monsters, a nearby computer monitor suddenly turns on. A voice then begins expositing the game’s story and what is going on. At least the voice tries to before the Doom Slayer punches a hole through the monitor in the middle of the voice’s explanation before killing more demons.
While there is a plot going on, the Doom Slayer himself could honestly care less than a grain of salt about it. All he is here to do is destroy demons. This is the type of character that producers need to get right if they want to make an accurate Doom movie. There could be a plot going on, but the Doom Slayer himself is not going to care about it unless it helps him kill more demons.
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