Last week, word came out that actor Jason Statham was officially bowing out of Luc Besson’s Transporter franchise. Though the trilogy of films undoubtedly helped Statham make his mark as a big time player in the modern action movie landscape, the series hit an extremely low point with its dismal third entry back in 2008.
Besson, who wrote and produced all three Transporter movies, has decided to reboot the franchise with a prequel trilogy that explains how the character of Frank Martin became the badass driver we know. I’m not completely against the idea of prequels (or even reboots, in the right circumstances), but this is a great example of a series that doesn’t need more explanation. Statham brought a straight-faced, stoic quality to the ass-kicking Martin, and part of the reason the first two movies work is because his backstory is only hinted at and never fully explained. So what does Besson want to do? Go back and explain every little thing about how the character came to be. Sound familiar? *Cough*Star Wars prequels*Cough* Sorry about that. Had something in my throat.
Anyway, Variety has the newest news on the project, which is that former “Game of Thrones” star Ed Skrein – who played the pretty-boy warrior Daario Naharis on the HBO series’ third season – will step into Statham’s slim black suit in Transporter 4. Yes, they’re still calling it Transporter 4, even though it’s an origin story. And that’s not all – plans are in place for Transporter 5 and 6 if this one performs well enough at the box office. I’m guessing we’ll see Skrein’s version of Martin formulate his famous list of rules, but I wish the filmmakers would change directions here and count this new trilogy as direct sequels to the original instead of going backwards. I understand that the franchise is still a viable business option – the studio just needs an ass-kicking leading man and some cool stunt driving, and they’ve found at least one of those things in Skrein – but taking away the mystique of Frank Martin sounds like a bad idea to me.
But hey – Luc Besson is certainly not immune to bad creative ideas. Taken 2, anyone? While Skrein is busy transporting, you can catch a glimpse of the new Daario Naharis by checking out these photos from Season 4 of “Game of Thrones.”
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