New Altered Carbon Featurette Delves Into a Weird Cyberpunk Immortality

Image: Netflix
Image: Netflix

Netflix has begun to lift the lid on its reportedly grand adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk classic Altered Carbon, but one area it’s yet to really dive into is the mysterious technology that brings its protagonist into a seedy cyberpunk future. This new featurette starts to unpack that tech for those unfamiliar with the novel.


Released through USA Today, the featurette mostly revolves around the “stacks”—handheld tech capable of storing the entire consciousness of a human being, which can be transferred into a new body called a “sleeve,” ensuring practical immortality... for anyone who can afford it, at least.

It also delves into the plight of the main character, Takeshi Kovacs. He starts out as a revolutionary, played by Will Yun Lee, who wants to bring down the stack technology and end artificial immortality. But he’s captured, transferred into a stack of his own, and uploaded into a new body hundreds of years later (played by Joel Kinnaman) at the whims of a rich man looking for someone to solve an attempted murder of one of his “sleeves.”

Whether Altered Carbon will be able to escape some of the criticisms that vehemently dogged Ghost in the Shell’s handling of an Asian protagonist in a white body remains to be seen. At the very least it seems to address Takeshi’s jarring reaction to being in a new body that isn’t his own, and it’s baked into the original story as part of the character’s development, unlike the “gotcha” reveal of GitS. Hopefully that’s an indication it’ll be handled better.

Altered Carbon hits Netflix February 2.

[USA Today]

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!



> who wants to bring down the stack technology and end artificial immortality

Future luddite is a pretty bad take on Kovacs.