1971’s Shaft is one of the seminal Blaxploitation films of the era. 2000’s Shaft is a forgettable remake that did fine at the box office, pulling in a little over $100 million worldwide off a $47 million budget, but the fact that a sequel has taken over 17 years should tell you that no one was really rushing to turn it into a franchise. However, Paramount hopes that there’s still juice left in the character and they’ve moving forward with Son of Shaft.
Deadline reports that after searching for months, they’ve landed on Independence Day: Resurgence actor Jessie T. Usher to play the role of John Shaft II’s son. Additionally, Samuel L. Jackson is set to reprise his character of John Shaft II, and Richard Roundtree will return as John Shaft I, uncle of John Shaft II. Per Deadline, Usher “will play the son of the detective, who, after long being estranged from his father, finds himself teamed up with him. The young man is an FBI agent, a cyber expert, and the partnership with dad is an uneasy collision of old school meets new school.” So basically a mismatched buddy comedy, which is fine, I suppose.
But there’s reason to be hopeful. Even though director Tim Story isn’t the most inspiring choice to helm the upcoming sequel, the script was handled by black-ish creator and Girls Trip screenwriter Kenya Barris, so hopefully he has a fresh, interesting take on the character. Shaft is tricky because the character can so easily devolve into self-parody, but it’s not like he doesn’t have a place in present times. While the setup of pairing him with his son could lead to an interesting dynamic, I’m curious to see how socially relevant the film will be.
Production on Son of Shaft is set to begin later this fall.