Contrary to popular belief, not all mega-successful movies get an automatic sequel. Often, a pitched battle rages over the right to add a +1 on the end of whatever movie just made a gazillion dollars worldwide.
Take Taken 3. The addition of that “3” was no cakewalk. At first, Liam Neeson was adamant that the film shouldn’t be made, that a single family would suffer three takings to be completely absurd. “It’s just bad parenting,” Neeson argued. Then, Fox offered him $20M to change his mind. He did. But there was a catch: Neeson’s agreement meant Fox had to implement a strict “No Taking” policy for Taken 3. No daughters would be taken. No wives. Not a single Liam Neeson.
Which begs the question: what’s everyone supposed to do instead?
We don’t know much, but now we at least know something. Twin reports from Deadline confirm that both Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen have signed on for the sequel, reprising their roles as Bryan Mills’s daughter Kim and wife Lenore, respectively. Add in some previous talk of Forest Whitaker coming along, and you’ve got yourself a cast (the Taken flicks are not known for their massive ensembles — usually it’s just Neeson, kidnapped loved ones and a trail of nameless thugs who will be beaten until they reveal the next nameless thug).
So if perpetual kidnapping victims Kim and Lenore are on board (they are), and there’s to not be a single abduction in Taken 3 (there isn’t), then presumably Luc Besson and director Olivier Megaton have some other role in mind for them, a role that can’t possibly be “Well, we’ve been Taken again. When your father gets here, ask him what he wants for dinner.” Maybe the three of them will share some brutal vigilante justice family time, or maybe Bryan will instruct his daughter in the ways of rescuing missing persons and making criminals void their bowels via cell phone. It’s not an impossible situation. After suffering through the last two films, Kim and Lenore have probably developed their own particular sets of skills, skills they have acquired over a very long career, skills blah blah blah we all know how the line goes.
This is to be the final Taken, if the current reports are to be believed (who knows what might happen if Fox dangles another $20M under Neeson’s nose?). And though the last film ended with happy fun times and joking references to Bryan horrifically murdering his daughter’s boyfriend (har!), there are still several members of that same Albanian mob family that can’t wait to get their revenge on the Mills family.
Something tells me they’ll get their shot. And something else (probably the quote from Liam Neeson) tells me that it’ll weirdly have nothing to do with being kidnapped in a franchise that’s entirely about kidnappings. Hope that particular set of skills is still useful in a no-taking situation.