Hollywood is a crowded place and there are plenty of young actors for the entertainment industry to hype up. That said, Michael B. Jordan of Black Panther and Creed fame is undeniably special. The blockbuster star is not only keeping himself busy with new acting projects constantly. He has also made a veritable name for himself as a producer over the past couple of years, too, thanks to his production banner Outlier Society.
Jordan’s success basically comes down to his ability to mine a good story both in front of and behind the camera. He easily transitions between indie and big-budget movie markets. That’s exactly why FSR regularly keeps his tag updated.
However, with new projects seemingly announced every few months for the past few years and after a couple of first-look deals, the time has come to collate everything we know about Jordan’s career, from the latest news to the oldest. There can never be too much excitement, anyway, so let’s dig in.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Outlier Society and Warner Bros. have sealed the deal to turn Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James’ newly published fantasy epic into a movie. As reported by Variety, Black Leopard, Red Wolf will be the first project made under the first-look deal struck between the companies in January 2019.
Regarding James’ novel, it’s not enough to hear the phrase “fantasy epic” and draw easy conclusions to Game of Thrones (even if the publishing world has). Drawing from African mythology and history, Black Leopard, Red Wolf serves as the first installment of the Dark Star trilogy. It follows a hunter named Tracker whose acute sense of smell aids him in his covert missions.
Although the character usually works alone, he becomes part of a ragtag crew after being hired to find a mysterious missing boy. The eventuating crusade across a rich, otherworldly Africa sees Tracker meeting a myriad of fantasy creatures including vampires, shape-shifting human-animal hybrids, and witches. And along the way, more questions about the boy’s identity and the truth behind his disappearance are unearthed.
The Silver Bear
Jordan gets a John Wick moment with this Outlier Society-Lionsgate vehicle, which was announced by Deadline in late 2018. The Silver Bear will see Jordan fill an assassin’s shoes in a potential new franchise based on a series of crime novels by Derek Haas, who previously found fame as the screenwriter of films such as 2 Fast 2 Furious and the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma.
To say that the hitman Columbus is excellent at his job seems like an understatement. Touted as “natural killer” by his mentor, he largely remains unaffected by the psychological ramifications of his brutalities. That kind of efficiency and immunity is what earned Columbus the moniker of “Silver Bear” from his fellow criminals.
However, his latest target muddies professional and personal waters considerably. When Columbus is tasked to kill the Speaker of the House — who also happens to be a leading candidate in the presidential race — the long-lost family ties of his nightmarish, pre-assassin life begins to unravel.
Without Remorse and Rainbow Six
Paramount is banking on Jordan’s leading-man charisma to bring another classic Tom Clancy character to the big screen after Jack Ryan found a well-received resurgence via Amazon. Movies based on the novels Without Remorse and Rainbow Six are currently in the works with Jordan poised to star as CIA operative John Clark.
In the past, Clark has been portrayed by the likes of Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber as a secondary character in Ryan’s adventures. This isn’t unlike how he was first introduced when he debuted in Clancy’s The Cardinal of the Kremlin, either.
That said, Without Remorse uncovers Clark’s grisly backstory, while Rainbow Six tracks the multinational counter-terrorism unit that he co-founded. There is a definitive sense of darkness to the second-most popular character in Clancy’s espionage literary universe, who will really get his due with Jordan at the helm.
David Makes Man
Jordan stays behind the camera as an executive producer of this OWN drama series, which unveiled a teaser trailer at the Sundance Film Festival (you can watch it below). Set in South Florida, David Makes Man revolves around a 14-year-old prodigy struggling with poverty and violence on his home turf. There’s a chance that he could break free from his life in the projects should he pursue academia, but it’s a difficult choice for the teenager nonetheless.
The series was created by Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), who bases its events loosely on his own childhood. It will be showrun by Dee Harris-Lawrence (Chicago P.D.) with a prospective premiere date sometime in summer 2019.
The classic courtroom drama is combined with the grit of true crime for some socially-conscious soul-searching in Just Mercy. The film, which marks the next directorial effort of Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), will center on the lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson (to be played by Jordan), who has long dedicated his career to representing the most disenfranchised clients. Through his work, Stevenson advocates for “compassion in the pursuit of true justice” amid the unfair machinations of the American justice system. The film is due out January 17, 2020.
Jordan will re-team with Black Panther scribe Joe Robert Cole for yet another comic book adaptation. This time, he’s intent on producing Netflix’s on-screen take of the indie book Failsafe. The plot features enhanced supersoldiers that suddenly awake from a decade-long slumber and attempt to take over New York. Enter protagonist John Ravane, who once believed he had wiped out every single one of these agents. Now, he must deal with the deep-seated corruption that led to the activation of these sleeper soldiers in the first place.
One of the all-black regiments of the US Armed Forces — the 761st Tank Battalion or the “Black Panthers” — will take center stage in this action-drama chronicling the unit’s heroism. Jordan elects to produce the feature rather than star in it. Regardless, The Liberators centers on yet another historically significant topic that could effectively add to the underrepresented African-American demographic in World War II-centric films.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
I’m actually hoping that The Stars Beneath Our Feet makes it to the screen sooner rather than later because we’d finally get to see Jordan’s directorial debut. In this adaptation of the eponymous David Barclay Moore novel, 12-year-old Lolly takes solace in Legos and the power of imagination to find hope and inspiration in the aftermath of his older brother’s untimely gang-related death. This is but another instance of Jordan repeatedly training the camera towards African-American youth in recent years…
…And it is certainly not his last. Not with the superhero origin story Raising Dion on the way. The 10-episode Netflix series, which is based on Dennis Liu‘s preceding comic and short film of the same name, centers on single mother Nicole Reese’s attempts to raise her son Dion as he starts manifesting superpowers. Certain bad guys are out to exploit his newfound abilities. So, in order to keep Dion safe, Nicole must first keep him hidden.
Apart from producing Raising Dion, Jordan will actually treat us to an onscreen appearance in the show. He’s set to play Dion’s ill-fated father, though. That’s bound to hurt.
A Bittersweet Life
According to Deadline, Jordan will reportedly collaborate with Jennifer Yuh Nelson (The Darkest Minds and the Kung Fu Panda sequels) to remake the 2005 Korean film A Bittersweet Life. This project will notably serve as one of the many Shawn Levy projects in development, as well. Jordan is slated to portray a seasoned mobster whose allegiances are tested when his nefarious criminal employers entrust him with a task to kill a mistress he particularly likes.
Even prior to the release of Black Panther, another Coogler/Jordan feature was already put into development. The duo returns to a more grounded dramatic territory with Wrong Answer, tackling the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal that affected 44 institutions in the state of Georgia. Jordan will depict one of the teachers caught in a whirlwind of ethics in which educators are accused of correcting exam answers to ensure improved standardized test scores among their cohorts.
The Thomas Crown Affair
MGM, the studio behind the Creed films, is making a second reboot of The Thomas Crown Affair, and they’ve wanted Jordan to star as its smart, suave protagonist since 2016 (succeeding Steve McQueen and Pierce Brosnan before him). Despite considering himself a master robber who has engineered the perfect heist, the eponymous protagonist of the film meets his match and falls in love with an insurance investigator who’ll stop at nothing to catch him.
At the time of its announcement, no other producer, director, or writer had jumped aboard The Thomas Crown Affair. Anthony and Joe Russo of Marvel fame eventually joined the project as producers, so the film could still be on the table.
Men Who Kill
Almost five ago, in a pre-Fantastic Four era, Jordan was tapped to star in a Greg Berlanti-produced picture for Fox. Men Who Kill is briefly described as a CIA thriller via Variety. Nevertheless, with no news about it since, I’m not optimistic that it will still see the light of day.
In conclusion, we’ve been waiting for some of these ventures for a long time, and there’s no telling when or if they’ll eventually see the light of day. There are even more rumors to contend with, such as Jordan’s supposed potential reappearance in the Black Panther sequel. Yet surprisingly, there isn’t actually a Michael B. Jordan film or series that I’m not excited for.
The uniqueness of the stories he chases comprises a vital representative value for black audiences in particular, and that is precisely why they feel so fresh and much-needed. Jordan has a demonstrably good eye as a filmmaker and his very full slate is more than a testament to that.