Following massive viewership numbers and an end-credit scene suggesting the story isn’t finished being told, it would seem a sequel to the Netflix and Skydance action pic The Old Guard is a foregone conclusion. As the studio figures out next steps on where to take its team of immortals, it also appears to be true that fans of the first film shouldn’t expect another installment any time soon.
Sources say no talks have occurred with the film’s writer Greg Rucka, who also created the original graphic novel series, to return, but they add those talks could happen soon, with either Rucka returning or possibly a new scribe to take over. Either way, with multiple storylines from which to draw in the comic series, the real reason fans will have to wait a while before a sequel pops up on their Netflix queue has less to do with who is writing the sequel to the July 10-released Old Guard and more to do with the schedule of its star Charlize Theron.
Netflix would also love for director Gina Prince-Bylthewood to return, and while her development slate could hold up the next film, it’s Theron’s future schedule that will decide when a likely sequel would go. Similar to the situation Netflix has with finding time for Will Smith to do a Bright sequel, Theron is an A-lister who is always in demand and has a number of films in development at any given time — including a sequel to 2017’s Atomic Blonde in which Netflix is also involved.
Theron also has tried to avoid doing back-to-back, action-heavy films over the years given the physical training that goes into those roles and would more likely look for something more character-driven like Lionsgate’s Bombshell, which earned her an Oscar nomination.
The other factor that isn’t as timely but just as complicated is the likely contract renegotiation Netflix will have to go through with Theron.
Netflix contracts are already lucrative and complicated the first go-round with A-list talent, as they factor in not just upfront money but back-end and other residuals that talent couldn’t get if something went to theaters. Everyone from Ryan Reynolds to Dwayne Johnson to Ryan Gosling have been landing hefty contracts of at least $25 million to cover the money they would be missing out on by the project not ending up in theaters.
Netflix has been able to get sequels to smaller films like The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, whereas the big-budget event films have been harder to turn around. The studio has never had a problem spending money on its big-budget movies in order to attract top talent, but execs still want to be fiscally responsible, and sequels to tentpoles in the industry almost certainly go up in budget with each installment.
Part of the reason they always seem to rise is the eventual contract renegotiation for the stars involved. In the cases of Smith and now Theron, both have serious leverage in getting significant raises as their roles in Bright and Old Guard, respectively, were big factors in audiences showing up in the first place.
Having said that, the Oscar-winning Theron is bringing her starpower today to Comic-Con@Home at 10 AM PST in a prerecorded panel entitled “Evolution of a Badass,” where Old Guard will certainly come up.
Occurring virtually this year due to coronavirus concerns, Comic-Con@Home runs through Sunday.