“The Gray Man” is officially a franchise.
Just days after its premiere on the streaming platform, the Russo brothers-directed spy thriller has already locked in both a sequel and a spin-off. After “The Gray Man,” starring Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, debuted at the number one slot on Netflix, the platform has greenlit two new projects tied to the success. “The Gray Man” saw star Evans play sociopathic assassin Lloyd Hansen, who is hired to hunt down CIA mercenary Courtland Gentry, aka Sierra Six (Gosling), after a security breach.
IndieWire can confirm that “Netflix is cementing plans for the IP to become a major spy franchise,” starting with a direct sequel starring Gosling with directors Joe and Anthony Russo set to helm the project. The Russos and AGBO’s Mike Larocca will produce along with Joe Roth and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum for Roth Kirschenbaum Films. “The Gray Man” co-writer Stephen McFeely (“Avengers: Endgame,” “Captain America: Civil War”) is writing the sequel.
A separate “Gray Man” spin-off film is also in the works, written by screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (“Deadpool,” “Zombieland”). The installment is “set to explore a different element of ‘The Gray Man’ universe” with a logline still under wraps. There is no word yet if Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, or Regé-Jean Page will reprise their respective roles for either project.
“The audience reaction to ‘The Gray Man’ has been nothing short of phenomenal,” the Russo brothers shared in an official statement. “We are so appreciative of the enthusiasm that fans across the world have had for this film. 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.”
Netflix’s Head of Global Film Scott Stuber added, “With ‘The Gray Man,’ the Russos delivered an edge-of-your-seat spectacle that audiences around the world are loving. We’re excited to continue to partner with them and the team at AGBO as they build out ‘The Gray Man’ universe.”
“The Gray Man” is based on the bestselling book series by Mark Greaney. The feature was the third film from AGBO to premiere on Netflix, marking the company’s second consecutive debut at number one worldwide. AGBO is currently in production on a sequel to 2020’s “Extraction” starring Chris Hemsworth, set to premiere in 2023.
The Russos were already planning to expand the world of Gosling’s Sierra Six, as Joe Russo explained earlier this year. “We never want to jinx it,” Joe Russo said to Empire. “But we’re already thinking through where it goes from here. We like to build out worlds, and we would rather gamble on the upside and put the energy and time in to build out that universe prior to the release, so that the ideas are more germane and organic. That’s how you build out a more complex mosaic narrative.”
He continued, “The focus is to make ‘Gray Man 2.’ Our appetite is voracious and the intention is always to do more than we can.”
Lead star Gosling joked of the Netflix franchise, “This one is tough because there are nine books, I think. And I will be a ‘Gray Man’ if I do all of them.”