Video: Whether it’s the manga; the anime; or this new, American-made live-action movie, Death Note has always been about a young man with a god complex who uses a magic book to go on a murder spree with global ramifications. But in this newest clip for Netflix’s upcoming adaptation, we’re taken to the very beginning — the fateful moment where the death god Ryuk (Willem Dafoe) first meets Light (Nat Wolff) and explains to him how he can use the Death Note to punish the wicked.
While Light goes on to become Death Note‘s truest villain, Ryuk is fascinating here. Beyond Dafoe’s well-known talent for playing incredibly creepy, fantastic villains, you can see that, at least on some level, Ryuk isn’t simply acting as the impartial arbiter of mortality that he’s supposed to be — he wants Light to use the Death Note. His reasons as to why aren’t readily apparent, but it’s clear that Ryuk gets more than a little bit of a kick out of seeing humans enacting their revenge on one another in general — and corrupting Light on particular.
Death Note premieres August 25 on Netflix.