Netflix has grand plans to turn “The Gray Man” into a sprawling spy franchise.
Days after the $200 million-budgeted CIA thriller landed on the streaming service, Netflix announced plans to expand the series with a sequel and a spinoff, both of which are currently in development.
Ryan Gosling and directors Joe and Anthony Russo are set to return for the sequel. “The Gray Man” co-writer Stephen McFeely, whose credits also include “Avengers: Endgame” and “Captain America: Civil War,” is writing the screenplay. The Russos and AGBO’s Mike Larocca will produce along with Joe Roth and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum for Roth Kirschenbaum Films.
“The audience reaction to ‘The Gray Man’ has been nothing short of phenomenal. We are so appreciative of the enthusiasm that fans across the world have had for this film,” Joe and Anthony Russo said in a statement. “With so many amazing characters in the movie, we had always intended for ‘The Gray Man’ to be part of an expanded universe, and we are thrilled that Netflix is announcing a sequel with Ryan, as well as a second script that we’re excited to talk about soon.”
A spin-off film, from “Deadpool” screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, is set to explore a different element of “The Gray Man” universe. The logline is being kept under wraps.
Based on Mark Greaney’s best-selling book series, “The Gray Man” follows a CIA agent on the run from a sadistic mercenary after discovering corrupt secrets about his superior. Though the cast, which includes Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick and Regé-Jean Page, received praise, the movie received very mixed reviews from critics.
Variety’s Peter Debruge enthusiastically praised “The Gray Man” as a “Bond-level summer blockbuster.”
“‘The Gray Man’ exciting — and let’s not beat around the bush,’ he wrote in his review. “This is the most exciting original action property Netflix has delivered since ‘Bright.'”
Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press called the film “perplexingly bland,” writing in her review that “it’s hard not to think of the title when contemplating the overall effect of a film that spares no expense to entertain, yet ends up feeling a little aimless, perplexingly bland, and — what’s the word we’re looking for? Oh yes. Gray.”
ABGO, the production company led by “Avengers: Endgame” directors Anthony and Joe Russo, previously teamed with Netflix on 2020’s “Extraction” starring Chris Hemsworth. A sequel to that film is set be released on Netflix in 2023.
“With ‘The Gray Man,’ the Russos delivered an edge-of-your-seat spectacle that audiences around the world are loving,” Netflix’s head of global film Scott Stuber said. “We’re excited to continue to partner with them and the team at AGBO as they build out ‘The Gray Man’ universe.”