In 2013, 47 Ronin was unleashed unto theaters. The Carl Rinsch-directed genre-bender, blending elements of samurai action into a fantastical world, stars Keanu Reeves in medieval Japan as an outcast samurai who joins a rank of 46 other powerful samurai to vanquish the powerful Tadanobu Asano and his supernatural minions. The film was reviled both critically and commercially, becoming somewhat of a notorious box office bomb. But now, seven years later, the world of 47 Ronin will have new life. Per Deadline, a 47 Ronin sequel is coming to Netflix, with a new director and new time period in stow.
Ron Yuan will be directing the sequel, which will be produced by Universal 1440 and distributed by Netflix. You’ll be able to see Yuan as a performer in the upcoming Mulan, The Monkey King, and The Paper Tigers. Yuan, used to physical action in both the dance and martial arts space, has also directed the Step Up sequel Step Up China: Year for the Dance, and has action-directed titles like Wild Card and Black Dynamite. I’m into Yuan as the director on this picture; his choice reminds me of a Chad Stahelski or David Leitch moving into the bigger-budget action directing space based on their experience in the frontline, and I imagine he will give us some set pieces to talk about, whether or not Reeves decides to return like he did for Stahelski and Leitch’s John Wick.
If Reeves does return, there will be some explaining to do, as 47 Ronin 2 (48 Ronin?) will take a huge leap forward in time. Instead of the ancient past, we’ll be jumping 300 years into the future, with pronounced cyberpunk and even horror elements being added to the samurai stew. Cyberpunk horror samurai? Sign me the hell up! Yuan also spoke on this genre stew, saying, “I’m incredibly excited to be working with Universal and the producing team on this genre-blending, martial arts, action, horror and cyber-punk film. This will be a fun, intense, supercharged thrill ride for viewers globally.” If the Netflix successes of brutal actioners like Extraction and The Old Guard have shown us anything, it’s that the world may not have been ready for 47 Ronin then — but we just might be now.
For more on Mr. Reeves, here’s our interview with him on Constantine‘s anniversary.