Following the recent theatrical release of Sword Art Online's most current anime film, Sword Art Online -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night, in Japan, a brand-new, entirely unique chapter in the hugely popular not-actually-an-isekai series has received a teaser trailer.
Outside of its tiny 20-second teaser, little else is known about the just released movie as of this writing, but SAO fans all across the world have expressed a lot of enthusiasm and conjecture about what it will cover. Having said that, here are some reasons why a movie with a brand-new plot would be the ideal continuation of Reki Kawahara's storied franchise.
Many fans are already aware of what to anticipate from SAO's progressive films and anime arcs.
The announcement of an original film gives Sword Art Online fans something new to look forward to and speculate on with no knowledge of what's actually coming. While this sounds obvious, it's especially important for SAO, a franchise in which the light novels have remained significantly ahead of the show. The anime's most recently adapted arcs, “Alicization” and “War of the Underworld”, have been completed since late 2020. Light novel readers and even anime-only fans who frequent social media or discussion forums will already have a strong idea of what to expect from the “Unital Ring” arc, which is expected to be the final storyline in the mainline franchise.
Likewise, SAO's most recent film releases – Aria of a Starless Night and its successor, Scherzo of Deep Night – are adaptations of the Sword Art Online Progressive light novels which are themselves a retelling of the franchise's popular “Aincrad” arc. As a result, despite an impressive amount of new content for anime watchers and novel readers alike, many already know what to expect when diving in to these releases. This makes the idea of a wholly original story highly appealing for fans from all corners of the franchise.
Sword Art Online's ability to deliver high-quality anime content was demonstrated by Ordinal Scale.
This as-yet-unnamed film will be Sword Art Online's second to feature an anime-original story, with the first being 2017's Ordinal Scale. While multiple factors have understandably made the anime as a whole rather divisive, Ordinal Scale was quite well-received by viewers and professional critics alike. With its focus on an augmented reality device rather than the usual VR, and a more compelling storyline than the "ALfheim Online" and "Gun Gale Online" arcs, the film delivered its own original story while also cementing its canonicity within the anime's timeline.
The proof is already in the pudding that an original on-screen adaptation for Sword Art Online can be done successfully. Here's hoping this mysterious next film can be a similarly refreshing entry for longtime fans who may be a bit starved for some truly brand-new content starring Kirito, Asuna and the rest of the gang in their next-gen adventures.