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Michael B. Jordan Re-Teams With ‘Black Panther’ Writer for ‘Failsafe’

Jordan continues to demonstrate a keen eye for great stories and solid collaborations.
By  · Published on May 1st, 2018

Jordan continues to demonstrate a keen eye for great stories and solid collaborations.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe had very ineffective villains before Michael B. Jordan came along. In Black Panther, he portrays Killmonger, who in many ways ticks all the boxes of a requisite antagonist. Most importantly, the character doesn’t dissolve into the background the moment the movie ends. People left the theater at an ideological crossroads, asking whose standpoint do they align with, that of Killmonger or the protagonist, T’Challa. Such depth is so rare in your typical blockbuster, and it frankly cut deep.

Jordan plays a crucial role in depicting these crises of personal identity. But Black Panther writer Joe Robert Cole (also of The People v. O. J. Simpson fame) definitely had a hand in crafting Killmonger’s nuances too. Now, Deadline has announced that Jordan and Cole are teaming up yet again for an adaptation of the indie comic “Failsafe,” for which Netflix has won the rights. Jordan will produce the project while Cole is writing the script.

A relatively small title that was only first published in April last year, “Failsafe” is written by F.J. DeSanto and Todd Farmer and follows protagonist John Ravane, a legendary hunter caught up in a mess of allegiances. He lives in a world where “nanotech-enhanced super soldiers” exist thanks to the “haywire” Insurgence Program. Despite believing he has killed every last one of these insurgents and put an end to the program, Ravane is drawn back into the fold a decade later when he realizes that sleeper agents across America are activating and attempting to take over New York.

There’s no confirmation for whether Failsafe will be a series or a film, and as of now Jordan is not attached to the project beyond his producing capacity. However, Deadline notes that should Jordan decide to star in Failsafe upon reading the script, he has first dibs. Jordan has been in his fair share of comic book adaptations (including Fantastic Four), but I wouldn’t be opposed to him taking up lead duties in Failsafe considering that the comic’s protagonist sounds perfect for him. It’s just the right amount of moral grayness that it would fit in nicely with the rest of his most memorable roles.

Jordan’s ever-growing filmography has often carried the weight of unconventional characters that we happen to root for. From The Wire to Friday Night Lights, Fruitvale Station to Black Panther, Jordan challenges audiences with his work. His performances and the stories he champions as a whole are confronting. Indeed, some of them can feel rather dark and hopeless. Regardless, they certainly make for the most significant (or scarring?) of viewing experiences. If he is to play Ravane, the character should have that same ability to turn the tables on audience expectations.

For now, Failsafe proves that another facet of Jordan’s career is continuing to flourish: he really is picking the best projects as a producer. This won’t be Jordan’s first collaboration with Netflix, as he has another superhero adaptation in the works there centered on a single mom who finds out that her young child has developed inexplicable powers. He is also working on his directorial debut, a coming-of-age story about a boy learning to cope with his brother’s death in a gang-related shooting. Jordan is also on his way to changing the way we view World War II movies by bringing the 761st Tank Battalion to the big screen.

All of these projects are being developed via Jordan’s production company, Outlier, and they stand apart from one another by covering completely different genres and narrative concerns. The best part is that he hasn’t landed on the wrong foot with any of them. None of Jordan’s projects are even out yet but all of them already sound like hits in the making, which makes a Failsafe adaptation extremely promising.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)