Rebooting the Saw Franchise: What Is the Way to Go?

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A wise man once said, there are only four things certain in life: life, death, taxes, and never-ending horror franchises. With that in mind, there was basically no surprise when news broke that Lionsgate might be secretly discussing the possibility of reviving one of the most lucrative, horror brands in recent memory. Sure, it might be a little to early to return to a franchise that the studio concluded only a few years ago, but money talks. However, if they do it, they should do it right! Plus, with the ten-year anniversary re-release hitting later this month, there is no better time to discuss the possibilities of a new SAW property.

The following suggestions are my thoughts for the future of the franchise.

1) THE SEQUEL
  

IDEA: With Hoffman seemingly left for dead, the police desperately re-organizing, and a community terrified: Dr. Gordon puts John's last game into motion. All the pieces will finally come together.
WHY: Sure, maybe this is the last thing that Lionsgate wants to do right now. The last few SAW sequels really left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths (myself included). But the fact remains; SAW 3D wasn't the final act that we were promised. Just because there is a circular feeling to the series doesn't mean that it's a decent book ending. If Lionsgate is going to do this they might as well get the old cast back together and give them another try at a decent ending.

WILL THEY MAKE IT: Interestingly enough, this seems to be the word on everyone’s lips. There have not been many updates since the news broke last November – even less after Leigh Whannell publically denounced the project back in March. It would appear that if Lionsgate is very keen on making a sequel with the original cast, they are looking for just the right story to develop.
SHOULD THEY: YES! It would be stupid to reboot such a lucrative and current franchise. Besides, old series have been given new life before with one great installment. This would be the perfect chance to give the fans the ending they deserve.

 

2) THE REBOOT
 

2a) JIGSAW: YEAR ONE

 IDEA: In this highly dramatized re-imagining of SAW, the audience follows John Kramer through the trials and tribulations that ultimately transform him into the villainous Jigsaw. We watch as a moderately successful businessman not only loses his child and go through a rough divorce, but also develops an inoperable brain tumor. After a failed attempt to end his own life, he discovers a new way of viewing the world around him. Although he can't explain it to those that refuse to see, he begins to establish an idea - an idea of a better world. The movie ends with his first victim being placed in a trap.

WHY: SAW is dramatic! It’s a mature horror franchise. One of the most compelling things about these films is the journey taken by John Kramer - learning just what made him do what he does. Forget about all the blood and gore. I wanted to get into the head of John Kramer. I want to know what makes him tick. Making a movie about a common man accepting the darkness inside him would be strangely compelling and overly enjoyable. Forget the blood and guts! Lets focus on character and drama!

WILL THEY MAKE IT: No! Sadly, the SAW name is a brand spelled out in blood and guts. I don't really see anyone at Lionsgate or Twisted Pictures shelling out millions of dollars to create a character study with little blood.

SHOULD THEY: YES! More than anything else I'll put on here. You want to re-imagine the franchise? You want to make everyone second guess themselves for not enjoy the rest of the series? Make a low budget quality movie that everyone can get behind. It doesn't have to be overly gory. It just has to be character driven!

 

2b) SAW: LEGACY

IDEA: Another highly dramatized concept that focuses almost exclusively on Amanda Young's character with little to no interaction with John "Jigsaw" Kramer. The film would begin with Amanda being brought in to give her statement on her involvement in the most recent jigsaw trap (much like the first time we met her character in the original film). The film would chronicle various events that made Amanda worthy of being placed in said trap.
WHY: This one is probably a little less interesting than the one focusing on Jigsaw. However, we don't really know a whole lot about Amanda's character – unless you’re a super fan. The fact that she is a fan favorite makes this idea seem a little appealing.

WILL THEY MAKE IT: This one is probably very unlikely without a very powerful twist at the end. Amanda might be a fan favorite character, but she was always more interesting when placed in direct contrast to John Kramer or Mark Hoffman.

SHOULD THEY: Amanda Young has always been one of my favorite characters. I personally think they did a lot to bring her character full circle in the sixth installment. I would really like to see her take center stage in a SAW film. Also, I’d like to see what more they can do to develop her character. How do you change her? What makes her tick? How did she get the way she is? It’s a great idea for a film, but it’s not something I think many people would flock to.

 

2c) SAW ONE
 

IDEA: Going back to basics. Start small and work your way up again!

WHY: Simple! If it isn't broken, don't fix it!

WILL THEY MAKE IT: Hopefully not, but I think the chances are pretty good.

SHOULD THEY: Absolutely not! If you want people to give the series another shot, there is no reason not to completely change the formula. Re-invent the horror genre again! Hell, switch genres completely! Do something besides the safest thing possible!

 

3) THE TELEVISION SERIES:
 

3a) JIGSAW
 

IDEA: I feel like this television show would be very much like Dexter meets Breaking Bad - in both dramatic intensity and gory goodness. The first season would focus heavily on Amanda’s philological torment, as John sits largely in the background. During the show, the audience gets a deeper looking into the relationship between Amanda and John, as they interact with one another – essentially boiling down to John’s attempts to swaying Amanda’s bloodlust towards a more

WILL THEY MAKE IT: The idea to make SAW a television show has always been around. Nevertheless, I don't think they will jump at the idea to make a show that deals directly with the Jigsaw character. 
SHOULD THEY: This is something that I would really like to see be explored. The best part about it is that it would be possible to focus much more time and energy on character building. We would even still have enough time to show all the gore that everyone seems to love. But please... lets focus on characters and relationships - PLEASE!

 

3b) SAW: POLICE STORIES
 

IDEA: A dramatic show that deals with the lives of the people responsible for tracking down the serial killer known as Jigsaw. The show would explore the villainous acts, of a deranged murder, that mirror the dysfunctional lives of those trying to find him. All the while, these men and women keep getting caught in the crossfire of these so called "games".

WILL THE MAKE IT: Something has always told me that this would be the exact format that would fit a SAW television show - for the general audience. I boil it down to the fact that it is harder to get people to back the killer... no matter how bad the good guys are.

SHOULD THEY: I'm not sure if I’d watch a show like this. It seems to much like Criminal Minds, Law & Order or NCIS to me, and I don’t like those shows. A show like this might illustrate a much bigger picture of the world within the SAW universe.  We would finally get to see how the cops interact with their families, their jobs, and their obsessions. Otherwise, there is nothing special about this concept.

 

3c) A THOUSAND WORDS

IDEA: In this newly re-imagined SAW universe, Adam Stranheight is a photographer who works for the police. After a series of elaborate murders, Adam becomes obsessed with the idea of Jigsaw and his unique methods for murder. Using his ties with the police station, he begins his own investigation to catch the infamous Jigsaw killer.

WILL THEY MAKE IT: Again... no idea. I believe this to be another interesting reimagining of the concept. This way, it isn't a complete police drama. The audience would be allowed to see all sides of this world, as Adam interacts with police, victims and Jigsaw himself.

SHOULD THEY: Think of it like a series structured in the same way as David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’ film. The person trying to solve the mystery is almost completely unrelated to the crime-solving world but gets pulled in further than anyone else. I think it would be an interesting new take on the SAW universe. I might even be enough to hold the attention of the general audience.

 

3d) THE SURVIVORS

IDEA: Focusing an entire show around the lives of Jigsaw survivors. We as an audience witness their previous lives, their traps (and how it mirrors their life style), and the aftermath of that experience. These individuals grow together and become stronger human beings.
WILL THEY MAKE IT: Probably not. This show even sounds boring to me. Honestly, I don't think anyone really cares about the survivors of Jigsaw's traps. That was pretty obvious from the treatment they received in SAW 3D. 
SHOULD THEY: I don't think very many people would be asking for something like this. I say no.

 

3e) THE SAW ZONE (AKA: AN AMERICAN SAW STORY)

IDEA: The biggest staple of the SAW franchise, besides the gore, is the twist. This is what made people fall in love with the series in the first place. So... there is an idea! Forget about Jigsaw. Forget about the drama or whatever might be plaguing a handful of characters for season upon season. Focus the show one season at a time. Make it an anthology series that is based around not only the scares, but also the twist (Kind of like An American Horror Story). Reclaim the Halloween season... just on a smaller screen.
WILL THEY MAKE IT: Chances are a big no! SAW is already a brand with an established story. There is no reason to walk away from it now. Besides, we’ve seen this before in the Halloween series and look were that got us. Something like this will never happen.

SHOULD THEY: I’m not very sure they could pull it off. Twists and turns are hard to pull off in a two-hour movie, but they are even more difficult in a television series. I’d watch the show, but I’m not sure it would grip me in the same way that the movie series did.

 

4) NOVELIZATIONS

IDEA: No need to reboot or change anything that has already been established in the movies. Simply craft a story around what is already in play and give the fans a truly meaningful ending. That is all we ask for.
WILL THEY DO IT: This seems like the easiest/cheapest/most profitable solution. SAW has a big enough fan base that will read the novel just to figure out what happens next. All it requires is a decent writer... that's it. This could have as many as three books just to wrap up the series.
SHOULD THEY: It seems like a win, win. No reason not to

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