The second trailer for the Assassin’s Creed movie arrived earlier this week, pulling back the curtain a little more to show us more of the characters, settings, and breathtaking parkour stunts that await when the film hits theaters on December 21. We’ve gone through shot-by-shot to pick out interesting tidbits you might have missed- but before we get to that, here’s the full trailer if you haven’t already seen it:
The second trailer begins on a more subdued note than the first one, with Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) having a brief conversation with Father Raymond (James Sobol Kelly). It’s hard to miss how strongly the sketches on the wall foreshadow some of the Inquisition-era stuff we’ll see later.
After Lynch’s cell door opens, we then cut to a little settlement somewhere in the desert.
A hooded man walks outside. Nobody seems happy to see him.
The soldier at the center motions for the hooded man to get down, and he’s soon tackled by the rest. Meanwhile, the pickup truck and ribbon-covered fence at right seem to signal that this is an off-the-grid hermit-type desert village, rather than, say, a Middle-Eastern one.
Enter Alan Rikkin, as played by Jeremy Irons, speaking to an unknown character played by Charlotte Rampling. In case you have any doubts about his place in the story, the Abstergo pin on his lapel speaks volumes to Assassin’s Creed fans.
Lynch, now in full test-subject garb, gets cornered in a cell by orderlies. Note the fire extinguisher in the background – safety is important, even to Templars.
The orderlies don’t fare so well, as evidenced by the white shapes on the floor in the next shot. Security guards move in, giving Lynch an opportunity to generally go bonkers on them.
Of course, one uncooperative prisoner can’t really beat a squad of guards armed with truncheons, and Lynch is clubbed by the same guard he socked in the face a second ago.
We then get a view of the cornucopia of ancient weapons Abstergo keeps around the Animus. Take note of the tiny medieval smoke bombs and big Templar shield.
The shots of medieval weaponry in modern surroundings then lead to a view of a blacksmith’s hammer, possibly forging some more medieval weapons for the hooded figure in the background.
Cut to a mysterious room full of hooded figures. These could be monks or members of a strange secret society, but given the title of the movie, it’s a safe bet they’re Assassins.
It’s even safer when you factor in that the shot fades to the trailer’s first appearance of Aguilar (Michael Fassbender).
We next see Lynch being strapped in for his execution, a scene that mirrors his eventual first encounter with the Animus.
Speaking of the Animus, the reclining exam chair in which Lynch wakes up echoes the Animi seen in earlier Assassin’s Creed games.
Still wearing the clothes he “died” in, Lynch makes a break for it. (We don’t know for sure what the “DR” on his jumpsuit stands for, but our money’s on “Death Row.”) Also, note the group of test subjects to the right in the second shot below:
Lynch is stopped in his tracks by Abstergo’s lavish indoor arboretum, where we get our first glimpse of another test subject, Lin, played by Michelle Lin.
We also meet Moussa (Michael Kenneth Williams), who seems like he’s about to say something but won’t actually speak until later in the trailer.
We next do an aerial sweep over Abstergo’s facility, which looks appropriately futuristic.
The trailer then gives us our first full view of the Animus chamber, a dazzling mixture of future technology, medieval stonework, and cool mood lighting.
The new Animus isn’t as straightforward as those in the games; you need the proper equipment, and part of that involves Aguilar’s Hidden Blades, which we get an excellent look at here:
Aguilar’s aren’t the only Hidden Blades on display in this room, either, although this shot is too blurry to make out any familiar details on the others.
Also, while we’re not sure how necessary an animated Abstergo logo is as a belt feature, we can’t deny that watching it slide into place is a cool effect.
The test chamber’s mad-scientist vibe kicks into high gear as big spotlights swing into place, making sure Lynch is flawlessly lit as he relives the past.
We then get a look at these mysterious, circuit-board-looking devices, ready for action. Incidentally, immersing computer parts in non-conductive liquid is a pretty hardcore cooling method, implying that there’s some extreme computation (and therefore heat generation) going on here.
Hey, look what’s behind Dr. Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) for a second. It’s the Animus 2.0, first introduced in Assassin’s Creed II.
The device we see next seems intended to provoke a couple of different phobias, clicking into place with its vaguely insect-like “legs” and extending a needle into Lynch’s spine. Lynch doesn’t seem to like it, either.
Aguilar’s blade slides out for the first time, and we get our first real sense for how massive the robotic arm of the new Animus really is.
Alan Rikkin looks decidedly sinister as he watches Lynch’s confusion, and that red lighting only deepens his villainous aura.
From the looks of things, Abstergo probably could have prepared Lynch a little better for what was going to happen, but then we wouldn’t share in his surprise when the Animus abruptly yanks him into the air.
We’re then transported to 15th-century Spain, home of Aguilar and the Inquisition. The next shots are familiar, but worth re-examining anyway.
Smash cut to Assassins Aguilar and Maria (Ariane Labed) tearing across a rooftop at full speed. Judging by the bare, Hidden Blade-less arms of the person who crashes to earth right after them, his intentions aren’t friendly.
If you focus on the cupola at the center of this next shot, you might miss the silhouetted Assassins and guards brawling to the right.
We then get our first real look at the overlap between the Animus and reality, of what Lynch sees and what those around him see. Only time will tell if that sword is as real as his Hidden Blades, or just part of the simulation.
Cut to Aguilar starting a sprint and looking appropriately weathered.
Aguilar and Maria’s rooftop chase continues, and we’re treated to a death-defying free-running leap between rooftops, which doesn’t appear to be deterring their pursuer.
Make that pursuers, multiple, as this soldier joins in by taking shots at them with a crossbow.
It’s all a lead-in to an even-more-impressive stunt, as these conveniently placed steps give Aguilar the momentum he needs to plunge off this fortress wall and down to the relative safety of the slanted tiles below.
Not all death-defying leaps are defensive, as we learn when Aguilar performs an air assassination on this unsuspecting target.
The angle on this next shot gives the impression that Aguilar removed his ring finger, like the Assassins of old.
Cut to Lynch staring at the blade after the assassination. Is he Lynch right now, or is he still reliving the memory?
Next, Aguilar shows up in the Abstergo facility, a probable result of the Bleeding Effect that makes test subjects experience their genetic memories even when they’re not in the Animus.
Cut to a new angle on a scene we saw in the previous trailer: an auto-da-fé organized by the Inquisition, with Aguilar and Maria as the main attractions.
“They’re watching you,” says Moussa, “waiting to see who you are.” Meanwhile, it’s heartening to see that Abstergo has started organizing activities for its captive test subjects, like gardening, instead of just keeping them locked in Animus simulations at all times (like they did with Desmond Miles in the first game).
Back to the auto-da-fé! Puny chains aren’t enough to hold Aguilar, and he smartly flips away from the Inquisition’s attempt to stoke a fire under him.
At some point Maria breaks free as well, and in one of the trailer’s most eye-catching stunts, he yanks her out of the way of an executioner’s axe, which instead breaks her chains…
… and then tosses her up into a 270-degree forward flip, which she lands effortlessly.
Another stunning moment quickly follows, as a leap off a rooftop seamlessly incorporates a knife throw so fast, you might miss it if you’re not paying attention.
More stunts are incoming in the next shot, which shows Aguilar leaping from horseback to a guarded cart, which crashes seconds later.
We then learn that the Rope Launcher wasn’t necessarily a 19th-century invention. After Aguilar appears to free a captive from the next cart, he fires a length of cable from his Assassin gauntlet, which anchors to a nearby boulder.
The reason for this becomes clear in short order, as the cart plunges off a high cliff, leaving Aguilar able to swing to safety.
Rikkin’s really leaning into his villain role in this trailer. The high collar and Templar vestments might be his most sinister look yet.
Meanwhile, Lynch remains defiant, with some sort of cable dangling from his ear.
Speaking of defiance, it’s time for the test subjects – who by this point in the trailer have acquired insane combat skills from their time in the Animus – to openly rebel against their Abstergo captors. The head of security, played by Denis Ménochet, isn’t having it.
Show of hands, who thought it was a good idea to let captive test subjects develop superhuman combat skills near an arsenal of medieval weaponry? Anyone?
Lynch and his allies standing ready mirrors this next shot of the 15th-century Assassins looking out over the horizon.
While this Assassin sports Hidden Blades, he opts for a bigger, showier knife to kill this soldier in plain view, which was the preferred modus operandi of the historical Assassins.
Back to Aguilar and Maria and their acrobatic parkour! We’ve seen this shot in the previous trailer, but what’s new is the footage of Lynch mimicking Aguilar’s movements in the present,lifted into the air by the Animus arm.
Still in the present, we see Moussa set off a few smoke bombs in front of Abstergo guards…
… which mirrors this scene of Aguilar using the cover of smoke to take this guy out of the fight.
We then get another view of Lynch in full Animus synch. We’re going to assume that knife he throws is a figment of the Animus’ simulation, because otherwise the test chamber would be an extremely dangerous place to be.
These weapons definitely aren’t simulated, however, as Lin dispatches a guard…
… and Moussa literally flips out at a stunned Abstergo guard.
We’re close to the end, so new shots come fast and heavy. First, we get a creative angle on Aguilar and Maria’s free-running exploits.
Moussa and Lin run for freedom!
Aguilar and Maria don their hoods, looking a little nervous. Like they’re about to perform a Leap of Faith, maybe.
Speaking of Leaps of Faith, here’s another shot of the one Aguilar did to cap the previous trailer – which, as we’ve reported on, was a real, record-breaking free-fall.
Finally, a quiet moment. Sophia Rikkin and Lynch converse in a room filled with art and artifacts, and Lynch seems to be getting more confident about his stay at Abstergo – “I’m beginning to like this.”
Then, one last shot of Aguilar tearing across a rooftop, only to twist at the last second and toss a knife at his pursuer – and the audience.
Assassin’s Creed arrives in theaters on December 21. For more on the film, check out our previous coverage: