Rattlesnake Remake: Anticipation and Expectations


The buzz surrounding the news of Charles Okpaleke’s acquisition of the rights to Rattlesnake—a film by the late legendary filmmaker Amaka Igwe—for a remake, has been one of delight and sweet expectations.  This comes as no surprise considering how well received, critically and commercially, the 27-year-later sequel of Nollywood classic, Living In Bondage (executively produced by same Charles Okpaleke) was, by both Nigerian and international audiences. This precedent gives reason to trust that the remake of Rattlesnake would be worth it. It fits to mention that Charles Okpaleke employed the brains behind Living In Bondage: Breaking Free, for the Rattlesnake remake: Nicole Asinugo as writer, and Ramsey Nouah as director. The film is scheduled to be released sometime in November 2020.

Here are my expectations/anticipations of the remake:

The Story

My first expectation is that the RattleSnake remake would be centred around Ahanna’s story. Obviously. The remake is titled Rattlesnake: Ahanna’s Story. It is expected that while the remake would try to compress the events of the film’s part 1 and part 2 (The Last Operation) to fit into a less than three-hour screening for the cinema, the events of the later sequel, part 3 (Ahanna: The Acts of The RattleSnake) would completely be eschewed.

For one, part 2’s ending—Ahanna’s Waterloo—makes for a better climatic end. For two, the Telemundo-ish plot of part 3 focused on Ahanna’s return from the dead and vengeance mission on Peter and the other Armada crew is implausiblely told. The only necessity of part 3 would be, filling the plot void in part 2 on what happened to jilted Amara and her pregnancy. This, I expect, will be dutifully handled to fit well into this remake.

Better Technicalities

Better sound, better picture, better cinematography, better editing. Better technicalities. With the new and better technology that now pervades Nollywood, it is surely expected that the remake would do better in the areas of technicality. As earlier mentioned, the part 1 and 2—spanning over five long hours—would have to be compressed to fit into a duration suitable for cinema screening. This compression allows for better pacing. While the film is engaging, for the most part, it took a while for the film to pick up in its attempt at character development. To achieve this, I expect that Ahanna’s father’s life and death and the time leading up to his uncle Odinaka’s betrayal, might become a sort of backstory for his plunge into the life of crime. 


The film is mostly set in Lagos and has a few scenes in a village in eastern Nigeria. I expect that the remake would follow in the same vein. However, I’m more interested in the time setting. While the film was produced in 1994, the storyline is set a few years before that. It begins in 1981 and chronicles Ahanna’s life to the present. The essence of remakes sometimes is to give the original film a more modern look and feel, hence, it is possible that the RattleSnake remake would be set sometime in the early 2010s till we arrive years later to the present. Or perhaps, since the film is based on a true-life story and its specificity in beginning in March 1981, the remakers might choose to respect it, and we’d have a reconstruction of the past. Surely anticipating that.


There are three scenes that I trust would make it to the remake because they make for good cinema and I expect that they’d be replicated the best way possible:

Ahanna’s Father’s Burial Scene
Funerals are grand occasions in Nigeria, grander than weddings sometimes—especially if the dead was aged and led a grand life. While Ahanna’s father cannot be said to have died aged (in fact, he died in his prime) nor lived a ‘grand’ life, he was loved and revered in his community and was given a burial befitting of one loved and revered in his community. The burial scene portrayed vividly how the dead are laid to rest in Igbo society. From the matching attires worn by the bereaved to the music, dance and masquerade displays, it’s expected that the remake would replicate this sorrowful yet glorious occasion.

Post-Burial Scene
The scene where Odinaka harasses Ahanna for the money comforters had given to him. That scene also portrays the communal living in most Igbo villages where extended families live together and everyone’s business is everyone’s business. What makes the scene powerful is how evocative it is and the strength of Nkem Owoh’s performance. The directing ensures that the camera is dissolved so that everyone in that scene is simply just mourning, comforting or fighting.

The blood oath scene
More than a hundred candles were lit in this scene. All I want from the remake is for this scene to be reproduced the best way possible. Grander. More chilling. Maybe a thousand candles this time. Also interesting is how intimate it is; the procession observed in utter silence, scored with some eerie sound and in the end, they say their gang name, Armada, again and again.

Another scene that should be replicated is the where Ahanna kills his Uncle. Striking is the manner at which he does it: multiple stabs as though he were releasing all the anger and hatred he’d stored in heart, one by one. For dramatic or better, horrific effect, it’d be nice to have the blood from uncle’s body spattering on his face, and him licking some off his lips to show a devilish satisfaction.


For nostalgic rush, a rendition of the film’s melancholic original theme score by Sergio Raphael for the remake would warm so many old hearts, fans of the original Rattlesnake that’s been dubbed Nollywood’s first action film. 


There’s been some noise on social media since the announcement of the remake over who would play Ahanna, the eponymous RattleSnake in the remake. Recently calls were made for virtual auditions and days later, Instagram was swarmed with audition videos of young talents seeking to score a place in this soon to be hit film. Are we to expect a new face to take on the role? Who would play young Ahanna as gracefully as Francis Duru did. Okey Ndibe took over the baton as older Ahanna and gave it the emotional, physical and mental strength it required. I expect that in the remake, the makers would gun for an actor who shares semblances with Okey Ndibe. Of all Nollywood actors, my picks are Gideon Okeke and Blossom Chukwujekwu, who are as rugged and charismatic as Okey Ndibe was. Swanky JKA, breakout star from the Living In Bondage sequel, also shares some physical resemblance with Okey Ndibe. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s cast as Ahanna.

Also based on looks, for Peter who was played by Ejike Methuselah, I’d like to see Kelechi Udegbe or Uzo Arukwe take on that role. Amara, played by Ann Njemanze and later by Stella Damasus, could go to Uzoamaka Aniunoh or Belinda Yanga. Chief Maduoko Olisa’s character, AKA the Godfather, would sit well with Kanayo O. KanayoTina Mba could be Peter and Amara’s mother. But the character I am most interested in is Odinaka, Ahanna’s uncle, played by Nkem Owoh—who embodied the villainy of that role with as much dreadfulness as humour.  I’d like to see Nkem Owoh reprise his role in the remake. Thanks to the good Lord for modern technology as age is no longer a factor. Let de-aging technology be put to good work and let Nkem Owoh murder one more time. Haha

Film Language

The original was entirely an Igbo film, as much as I desire this for the remake, I doubt that the remake would be a complete Igbo film. I anticipate that the dialogue track would be both in Igbo and English. Instead of the 30:70 ratio of Living In Bondage’s sequel, Living In Bondage: Breaking Free, I anticipate a balance this time. 50:50.

A Sequel?

There’s always room for the possibility of a sequel with Nollywood hits and the RattleSnake remake appears to be a possible one. In addition, Charles Okpaleke purchased the rights to the entire RattleSnake series, which extends to parts 3 & 4. Yes, the movie stretches even to a Part 4 (Ahanna 2: The Acts of The Rattlesnake). Although, I’m not sure if it was ever released.

Trash all I said earlier about the film’s third part being unnecessary and keep your fingers crossed.

See you at the cinemas in November! Or Post-Covid.

Watch the original Rattlesnake here:

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