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Digging deep into the historical secrets of the Assassin's Creed trailer

Let's talk about the Spanish Inquisition

I'll admit it: My first reaction when the Assassin's Creed movie trailer dropped was to run screaming in the other direction. I didn't watch it until days after it went up because I was so nervous about whether I would like it or not. I know I was being irrational, but "irrational" describes my love for Assassin's Creed in a nutshell.

Video game movies have a history of not being that great (understatement of the century). I also hadn't been particularly swayed by any of the previous promotional materials for the film. Compared to the optimism and relative cheer of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the Assassin's Creed film looked, and still looks, pretty grim.

This is all to say that I am a fool! I forgot how cool it is to look into a trailer and get a glimpse of what the filmmakers have in store for us.

I finally sat down and watched the damn trailer and didn't hate it. After that, I started researching the upcoming film.

Images that we absorb passively—like those of Michael Fassbender's Aguilar escaping from chains while things are on fire—gain a lot with historical context. That scene portrays an auto da fé, or "act of faith." That's a fancy way of saying the Catholic church of Spain really wanted to light heretics on fire. Because hey, if they were really faithful, they probably wouldn't burn, right?

We all know that heretical burnings like that happened, but in the split-second scene shown in the trailer, we might not grasp what’s really happening. I certainly didn't the first time I watched it.

Daisy-chaining together bits of information like this led me to some cool discoveries.

If you want to learn more about the major players and events, check out the video guide I made to the Assassin's Creed trailer. I dug deep into the historical setting, finding some sweet easter eggs amidst the gory details. It's clear that the film is set in a rich historical period, full of turmoil and religious tension—much like the early Assassin's Creed games.

We've learned now that only 35 percent of the film will actually take place in the past. Most it will be set in the present day, focusing on Callum Lynch’s time with Abstergo Industries. But with such a fascinating historical backdrop as the Spanish Inquisition, I'm actually more intrigued than ever to see how Assassin's Creed plays out.

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