Seven years after the first film failed to light the box office on fire, Universal is going back to the 47 Ronin well. A new report from Deadline reveals that a quasi-sequel is in the works with none other than Mulan actor Ron Yuan set to direct the untitled film. Calling the film a sequel seems like a stretch, as the trade notes the project is "a fresh, re-imagined take on the original feature" which also happens to be set three hundreds years after the original film's 18th-century Japan setting. The project is set to be produced by Universal 1440, the direct-to-DVD and blu-ray branch of Universal Pictures, and will be released on Netflix. The release of this 47 Ronin follow-up on Netflix marks the latest collaboration between the streaming service and Universal 1440 as most of their originals debut on the platform.
“I’m incredibly excited to be working with Universal and the producing team on this genre-blending, martial arts, action, horror and cyber-punk film,” Yuan said in a statement. “This will be a fun, intense, supercharged thrill ride for viewers globally.”
This film will reportedly explore an "exotic cyberpunk world," while also incorporating horror and "modern samurai and ninja elements." John Orlando, Share Stallings and Tim Kwok will produce the feature. Productionis reportedly eyeing a first quarter 2021 start date. There's no mention if Keanu Reeves will appear in the project in some form, but given his busy schedule with the John Wick franchise and the direct-to-Netflix approach of the sequel it seems incredibly unlikely.
Yuan's directing credits come primarily as a second-unit or "action" director on films including projects like Black Dynamite, Ed Brubaker's Angel of Death, and the Jason Statham film Wild Card. His sole-directorial credits include Unspoken: Diary of an Assassin and a Chinese spin-off of the Step Up dance franchise, Step Up China.
The original 47 Ronin was a trouble production and was first announced in 2008 with Keanu Reevs attached to star. Cameras didn't roll on the film until 2011 with the studio eventually demanding costly reshoots the next year and reports circulating that director Carl Rinsch had been kicked out of the editing bay. The film was finally released on Christmas Day in 2013 and brought in just $151.8 million at the worldwide box office after a reported production budget of $175 million. The film was labeled one of "Hollywood’s Biggest Box Office Bombs" for the year by Variety,