New Line Cinema is finally putting a sequel to the 2000 Shaft reboot into production, and star Samuel L. Jackson is reportedly in talks to return to the iconic role.
The sequel is to be a proverbial "passing of the torch" installment, with actor Jessie T. Usher (Survivor's Remorse) in talks to play Shaft's son, who would potentially take over the franchise going forward.
Variety reports that Fantastic Four and Barbershop's Tim Story is in talks to direct the Shaft sequel, with a script from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.
No word on a release date yet, though it definitely sounds like New Line is moving forward with development at a steady pace. As for how this approach to a Shaft sequel will work? Well... that's a bigger question.
The 2000 Shaft movie that introduced Jackson to the role was also technically a "passing of the torch" storyline. In that film, Jackson played the nephew of the original John Shaft from the 1971 film, actor Richard Roundtree. The storyline of the movie saw Jackson's John Shaft as a police detective who became disillusioned with the badge after a murder case involving a wealthy and racist murderer (Christian Bale) failed to get proper justice in court. That film ended with Jackson fully embracing the life of a private detective, alongside his uncle.
Paramount and director John Singleton found solid success with that approach to a Shaft movie reboot; the film earned $107 million worldwide, with $70 million of that earned domestically. More importantly, the fact that the film offered fans a "passing of the torch" storyline didn't detract from its enjoyment, but of course, there is a catch.
That catch is in the choice of lead actor; Samuel L. Jackson was a fan-approved choice to inherit the Shaft mantle, right from the start. He was also the type of name that drew viewers to the theater. Jessie T. Usher has found some breakout success thanks to Starz' Survivor's Remorse series, but he's far from the movie star or spiritual successor to the role that Jackson was.
We'll keep an eye on how the Shaft sequel takes shape.