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Netflix is turning The Gray Man into a cinematic universe

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50 shades of gray men

Ryan Gosling in The Gray Man.
Image: Netflix

The Gray Man just debuted on Netflix last week, but the streamer already has some big plans for it as a budding franchise. Today, Netflix announced not just a sequel for the thriller but also a spinoff, instantly turning The Gray Man into the company’s next cinematic universe. The company says its plan is to turn it into “a major spy franchise.”

Netflix says that the currently untitled sequel is in development and that star Ryan Gosling and directors Joe and Anthony Russo are all set to return alongside co-writer Stephen McFeely. There’s no word on when it might debut. As for the spinoff, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, best known for their work on the Deadpool movies, will serve as writers. According to Netflix “the logline is being kept under wraps” for now.

“The audience reaction to The Gray Man has been nothing short of phenomenal,” the Russos said in a statement. “We are so appreciative of the enthusiasm that fans across the world have had for this film. With so many amazing characters in the movie, we had always intended for the Gray Man to be part of an expanded universe, and we are thrilled that Netflix is announcing a sequel with Ryan, as well as a second script that we’re excited to talk about [it] soon.”

This is not Netflix’s first attempt at creating its own blockbuster movie franchise. The company scooped up the sequels to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and similarly commissioned sequels and spinoffs for Zack Snyder’s zombie movie Army of the Dead. Given that Netflix spent $200 million to make the first Gray Man, it’s no surprise that the company wants to turn it into something bigger than a solitary film.

Of course, this is all an attempt to emulate the sprawling success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was on full display at Comic-Con this weekend: Marvel announced multiple projects along with the next two phases of its narrative plans, which last through 2025.