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The Old Guard director on plans for a sequel

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WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE OLD GUARD!!

Netflix very, very rarelyy gives out viewership numbers, so comparing a new movie’s success to a traditionally released feature is a bit tricky. What we can see though are Netflix’s own top ten rankings. And currently leading that chart from the moment it dropped on Friday is The Old Guard.

The Charlize Theron-led fantasy-action comic book adaptation – which follows a group of immortals whose world-saving adventures have put them in the crosshairs of some shady Big Pharma ne’er-do-wells – has quickly become a hit with audiences (including us) for its combination of visceral action choreography, introspective character work, and wider world-building. The film is also rather unique in that original comic book writer Greg Rucka actually adapted his own screenplay, and as such the movie is very faithful to its source except. And that includes it’s very big setup for a sequel.

Throughout the film we hear that Theron’s Andromache (aka Andy), the oldest immortal we know of, once had an immortal companion named Quynh, who fought by her side for hundred, if not thousands of years. However, Quynh was thought to be a witch due to her inability to die and so was sentenced to a living hell by being trapped in a metal box on the floor of the ocean, condemned to drown, die, and come back to life over and over again for over 500 years. A fate that would drive anybody mad. A fate that she apparently escaped when she shows up looking pretty well put-together in the film’s final scene.

Many fans immediately thought this was director Gina Prince-Bythewood and co prematurely counting their proverbial unborn fowl to try and launch a franchise, as Hollywood studios are wont to do. But speaking to Collider, the director reveals that this was all part of Rucka’s original story.

It was part of the graphic novel, and I always loved it because I felt there would have been a hole, if it didn’t end the way it did. There’s always a fear because you don’t want to annoy an audience. I know how I feel when things are left open, but for me, we told the story. It does have a beginning, middle, and end. And then, there is a hint and a possibility of more, but that’s absolutely up to the audience. Greg has always envisioned this as a trilogy. I know where the story is going and it’s pretty dope. So, if the audience wants more, there’s certainly more story to tell.

So if a sequel is greenlit by Netflix, where is that story potentially going? Obviously Prince-Bythewood isn’t spilling too many details now, but the filmmaker did give Gamesradar some strong hints.

In terms of what Greg has written, Quynh has reared her head, and that causes some issues, absolutely. But also, there’s a very grounded story tackling problems within the world, which again brings more villains that are not with immortality, so it’s a really cool balance between the two, in the graphic novel.

So could that mean that Andy – who has now lost her immortality, and blames herself for Quynh’s death – will face off against her former companion who is still very much an immortal, along with some other villains? I would definitely be down for that. Prince-Bythewood may not be though. Maybe.

The filmmaker broke into Hollywood by making small but very successful indie films such as Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights. She then got tapped to write and direct Silver & Black, Sony’s planned Spider-Man spinoff focusing on Silver Sable and Black Cat. Prince-Bythewood spent years developing that movie, plotting, designing action beats, storyboarding, etc., only for Sony to pull the plug as the studio changed tactics thanks to its co-production deal with Marvel. Prince-Blythewood would use everything she learned on Silver & Black though in bringing together the mix of awesome action and character in The Old Guard – one of the changes she made was by giving Kiki Layne’s Nile and other characters a more developed back story – but this was also a very heavy commitment of effort and time. And she’s just not sure she can do that again. Not immediately, at least.

I would really have to think about that. It’s been two years, and just coming out of it now, I’m eager for a rest. I would probably feel two ways about it. If it continues on, I was the first that established it, but it would probably also bug me and I’d be like, “Nile doesn’t do that!” So, I just don’t know.

I have a feeling that given the success of The Old Guard, Prince-Bythewood is also about to get very busy fielding offers from major studios. One of them may even be Sony having a change of heart. Whatever happens though, I would like Prince-Bythewood to return and continue this saga she and Rucka started.

Last Updated: July 14, 2020

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