Netflix’s The Old Guard is a film near and dear to my heart. It premiered in the summer of 2020 and garnered an audience of over seventy-two million in its first four weeks, according to Deadline. The same article also places The Old Guard as the sixth most-watched Netflix film of 2020, beating out Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. The film also made the director, Gina-Prince Blythewood (The Woman King, Love & Basketball), “the first black woman to direct a major comic-book film.” It was so successful that Netflix teased a sequel to premiere in 2023 at their 2023 Upfronts event. So, why does it seem like no one knows about it?
Centering around the heartwarming message that anyone can make a difference, The Old Guard keeps audiences engaged through intricate fight sequences and an intriguing plot. The group consists of four immortal soldiers who travel the world seeking opportunities to provide aid; often heading into deadly situations in place of someone without their healing abilities. When their secret of immortality is exposed, the group must find a way to hide while also tracking down an unexpected new addition to the team.
What makes this film unique is the inherently queer representation in both the characters and in the underlying themes of the film. Nile, (portrayed by Kiki Layne) must join the group after she’s abandoned by her friends when they discover she’s immortal. She’s quite literally forced to flee from her community and to find a home with people like her.
There are also four canonically queer characters out of the six immortals we meet in the film. The main character, Andy (portrayed by Charlize Theron) has an inferred relationship in the film with the lost immortal, Quỳnh (portrayed by Veronica Ngô). In the comic of the same name, their relationship is confirmed (although Quỳnh’s name is Noriko in the comic).
But the clear fan-favorites are Joe and Nicky (portrayed by Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli respectively). According to the film, they met on opposite sides of the crusades, killing each other, until they eventually fell in love and the rest is history. Unfortunately, we don’t learn more about their backstory, but there is definitely enough there for a mini-series. (Your move, Netflix.)
(Do yourself a favor and watch Joe wax poetically about Nicky while they are very much not in a position to be waxing poetically)
After the success of the first film, it was a no-brainer for Netflix to order a sequel, but the lack of marketing seems inconsistent with the streaming giant. For the now-hit show Wednesday, Netflix went all out. From billboards and bus ads to Wednesday on TSA bins and The Thing running wild in New York, Netflix spared no expense in Wednesday’s marketing campaign.
So, why the silence regarding The Old Guard: Force Multiplied?
Every year, Netflix holds an event called Tudum where they promote upcoming projects. The 2022 event boasted the return of hit shows Bridgerton and Stranger Things and new projects like Squid Game. However, the home page of the event doesn’t mention The Old Guard. In the live stream itself, The Old Guard was referenced during the “Action Panel”. The most fans have learned about the sequel was from the Tudum 2022 trailer. The only new update the event provided for the upcoming sequel was a one-minute eleven-second clip with the cast on set and in costume, providing little information about the film. There was no segment for The Old Guard sequel in the 2023 event.
Perhaps Netflix doesn’t believe they need marketing. The first film had very little publicity and was still well-received. However, with the success and popularity of Heartstopper, Nimona, Red, White & Royal Blue, and Bottoms, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of an audience eager and excited for more LGBTQ content?
What we do know about the sequel is that all of the original cast members are returning, along with Uma Thurman and Henry Golding in unannounced roles. Although Netflix and fans were hoping for a 2023 premiere, it now seems like the film has been pushed to a mid-2024 release date.
On the bright side, it’s not like Netflix can kill them.
You can watch The Old Guard now on Netflix. The Old Guard: Force Multiplied will be streaming on Netflix at some point in the future probably.