Movie Reviews

I'm Really Curious How Denzel Washington Will Replace His $573 Million Franchise

Summary

  • Denzel Washington seeks a new franchise to replace The Equalizer.
  • Upcoming projects like Gladiator II, Hannibal the Conqueror, and High and Low may not replace The Equalizer.
  • Denzel Washington could join the MCU, Fast & Furious, or other major franchises.



Denzel Washington lost his biggest franchise last year, but he’s failed to replace it, and I’m curious to see how he will. Denzel spent most of his career resisting franchises and sequels, a move that allowed him to consistently make Oscar-caliber films and standalone genre films. Although some of his movies had sequel or prequel opportunities, it wasn’t until The Equalizer that he found his first franchise. His time making the three The Equalizer movies led to great success, as myself and others contributed to it becoming a $573 million hit series.

Denzel’s Equalizer movies might not be among the best action movies ever made, but they were consistently entertaining and successful. They helped turn him into a bankable action movie star. The success was even so great that discussions about The Equalizer 4 considered de-aging Denzel Washington for a prequel. I’m glad that he ruled out another return as Robert McCall, especially using de-aging technology, but he shouldn’t fully retire from action movies. The trilogy ending just means he needs to replace The Equalizer with some new franchise, and I’m really curious how he will do that.


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Denzel Washington Doesn’t Have Another Action Franchise After The Equalizer Ended

He Didn’t Plan Ahead

The Equalizer 3‘s release in August 2023 brought an end to Denzel’s time with the franchise, so it would have been expected for him to find other projects that could fill this particular void for the coming years. His next movie is a role in Gladiator II as Macrinus, a wealthy arms dealer that could put the actor in another villainous role. Denzel also has a new Spike Lee movie upcoming with their remake of High and Low. The actor is even working on a Hannibal the Conqueror movie with The Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua.


Hannibal will be Denzel Washington’s sixth time working with Antoine Fuqua

Each of Denzel Washington’s upcoming movies is quite exciting on its own merits. However, none of them are the type of action movie that he made a habit of starring in with The Equalizer franchise. Gladiator II is bound to have plenty of action, but not with Denzel as the focus. Hannibal the Conqueror could also feature some historical war action, which would be quite different from his time playing Robert McCall. Even if Denzel does get some action scenes in these upcoming projects, none of them lend themselves to becoming franchises that could replace The Equalizer.


Denzel Washington’s Earlier Action Movies Lack Sequel Options

He Can’t Return To Previous Roles

Denzel Washington looking up in The Book of Eli

A lack of upcoming action projects could mean that Denzel Washington looks at his previous movies for potential franchise opportunities. This is something that many of his peers have done, with Will Smith returning to Bad Boys, Eddie Murphy returning to Beverly Hills Cop, or Tom Cruise returning to Top Gun. Looking at earlier Denzel Washington action movies, the likes of The Book of Eli or Man on Fire held franchise potential when they were first made. The odds of those properties continuing with Denzel now seem lower considering both have reboots in development.


Making sequels to some of Denzel’s previous action movies does not get much easier with his newer titles. His 2013 action movie 2 Guns had sequel potential to pair him with Mark Wahlberg again. The follow-up film never made any progress, and it’s likely been too long now for interest to reignite on the studio front. Other modern films like Safe House or Unstoppable also would likely have trouble getting sequels or prequels off the ground after so much time has passed. With Denzel ruling out The Equalizer 4, his action movie future rests with new franchises.

Denzel Washington Could Join A Major Existing Franchise Next

Many Want Denzel Washington To Appear

Denzel Washington MCU Dr Doom Magneto

Denzel is a popular fan cast for the MCU


If Denzel Washington wants to find a new franchise to replace The Equalizer, the biggest one that could come calling is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As of 2018, Denzel confirmed that Marvel Studios has never contacted him about playing a part. Michael B. Jordan had ideas for him to be in future Black Panther movies, but that has yet to transpire. Whether playing a new version of Kang or tackling a new version of iconic villains like Magneto or Doctor Doom, Denzel is a popular fan cast for the MCU and the type of star the franchise should want.

It is also no secret that Fast & Furious wants Denzel Washington to join the family. He was originally approached to play a villain in Furious 7, but it didn’t work out. Multiple franchise stars have since reiterated their own hopes that Denzel could buckle up for an upcoming installment. With Fast & Furious 11 marking an end for the franchise, time is running out for the series to bring Denzel aboard the Fast Saga in a meaningful way. There is still time for it to happen, though, and give Denzel a major new franchise to play a part in.


The MCU and Fast & Furious represent two of the bigger options in terms of major franchises that could attract Denzel Washington’s services. But there are also plenty of other possibilities nowadays. If a true The Equalizer replacement is desired, action vehicles like John Wick, Bourne, or Mission: Impossible could be other alternatives. Sequels in the Creed or Dune franchises could also present him with great opportunities. Meanwhile, Transformers, Jurassic, Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars could always consider adding the megastar.

Why Denzel Washington Needs An Equalizer Replacement

He’s A Genre Star Now

(Denzel-Washington-as-Robert-McCall)-from-equalizer-3


It might not seem like someone as successful and famous as Denzel Washington needs an Equalizer replacement franchise to remain relevant, but it would be a poor career move not to find one. The three movies helped transform him into an action movie star, making him someone audiences believe as a credible lead in the genre and big enough to draw in crowds consistently. After already becoming known for delivering Oscar-worthy performances in headlining a variety of genres, The Equalizer trilogy showed me and others how fun it is to watch Denzel fight bad guys.

It would be in Denzel’s best interests to find another action movie franchise that can keep delivering these types of films. The MCU, Fast & Furious, and other known IPs would keep him in front of large crowds, but they might not offer the same experience as playing Robert McCall. The established trend of Denzel headlining an action movie every few years yielded great results, so it would be foolish not to keep doing them. Whether that means finding an original idea or rebooting a TV show again, I hope Denzel Washington finds his The Equalizer replacement action franchise soon.


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