Not even two weeks since its theatrical release, Russo Brothers-helmed action flick The Gray Man has been green-lit for a sequel and spinoff, sparking what might become Netflix’s next big action-thriller IP.

The film, which stars Ryan Gosling as a rogue CIA operative, pulled in average reviews across the board, while still packing in fun action set pieces and good performances from its star cast, which also featured Chris Evans in a much-lauded antagonist role, Ana De Armas, Tamil actor Dhanush, Jessica Henwick, Rege Jean-Page, and many more.

“The audience reaction to The Gray Man has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said the Russo Brothers.

“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.”

It was revealed that Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Deadpool, Zombieland) are set to pen the screenplay.

With the films largely based on Mark Greaney’s series of bestselling novels, there’s plenty of speculation to be made. So, let’s dive right in.

Where Did The Gray Man Leave Us?

Netflix The Gray Man

Cutting a long story short, The Gray Man explores the life of a CIA assassin, codenamed Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling). After discovering incriminating evidence against leading CIA official Denny Carmichael (Rege Jean-Page). Six finds himself hunted down by a set of bloodthirsty mercenaries, foremost among them being the psychopathic ex-CIA killer, Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans).

By the end of the film, Hansen gets the upper hand on Six, only to be shot dead by Carmichael’s subordinate, Suzanne Brewer (Jessica Henwick), who plans to use Six for her own ends. Six escapes custody, setting the stage for the sequel.

Where Do The Books Take Us?

Mark Greaney The Gray Man

Author Mark Greaney has written plenty of Gray Man novels, 11 to be exact, with the latest hitting shelves back in February 2022.

This gives plenty of space for sequels and spinoffs to take place, especially considering that the series plays around with time skips, flashbacks, and references to a wide variety of espionage organisations, fictional mercenaries, and geopolitical events.

Assuming that the Russos will take things forward linearly, we can assume to see Gosling play out the events of the second novel, titled On Target.

Released back in 2010, On Target is set four years after the events of The Gray Man. By now, he’s known by that very name, as a mysterious, elusive, and highly-successful assassin on the payroll of several shady organisations, primarily a distasteful Russian arms dealer. When an old comrade he thought dead returns to haunt him, his own life is put in the crosshairs.

The Man is tasked with a mission, with one crucial catch to his orders: Instead of a difficult assassination, the job will entail a near impossible kidnapping — and he must return his quarry to the very CIA team that turned on him. With old allies and his former colleagues out for his blood, it’s hard to see how The Gray Man will manage to slip away this time.

While the 2022 film takes liberties with its own source material, we can assume the same will happen with its sequel. Chances are that Dhanush’s character ‘Lone Wolf’, who played something of an antihero, will return as the ‘old comrade,’ giving us an exciting clash between the two.

Some fans have speculated that Chris Evans might return from the dead. Although, given that his character spends what seems like several hours bleeding into a fountain, I think that’s unlikely.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the wildcard in the Russos’ plan to turn The Gray Man into their next MCU-esque megaseries.

With four years between the first and second books, we have time to explore when it comes to Ana De Armas’ character Dani Miranda, who finds herself working under an increasingly corrupt CIA, yet holding all the cards when it comes to critical information she can use against the agency’s head honchos. This might lead to an interesting spy-drama as Miranda works to keep Six concealed after his escape, perhaps making some dangerous alliances in the process.

Netflix The Gray Man

So, an unstoppable killer for hire, and a CIA operative wielding dark secrets over the world’s deadliest intelligence organisation. Seems like the Russos have their work cut out for them, and we can’t blame Netflix for being interested at all.

Just that, they could avoid some of the cliches this time around.

(Featured Image Credits: Netflix)