News out of the Berlin Film Festival suggests Luc Besson's EuropaCorp is moving ahead with a reboot of the Transporter action film franchise, promising an additional three movies!
If that's just got you excited, then my next sentence is about to pour some metaphorical cold water to your head: Unfortunately, the rebooted films will NOT be featuring original star .
According to ScreenRant, the rebooted franchise will once again feature Statham's original character, Frank Martin, although the role will instead be played by Ed Skrein. So far, the young British actor has only a handful of roles to his name, although he is probably most recognizable as playing the flirty mercenary, Daario Naharis, in Season 3 of Game of Thrones. The new Transporter trilogy is expected to re-establish a new origin story as opposed to continuing the already established sequels. Here's what EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert had to say about the casting:
We searched everywhere to find a fresh face who had the potential to become an action movie star and we’ve found the right match with Ed Skrein, who’s not only a great actor but also has enough charisma and physical stamina to play Frank Martin with brio.
It seems the rebooted Transporter franchise will be partly aimed at the new and emerging Chinese film market as Europa films will be producing the action movie in conjunction with Mark Gao's Shanghai-based Fundamental Films. By releasing the movie as an official Chinese co-production, the movie can expect to draw additional income from ticket sales in China — something normal 'foreign' movies cannot enjoy.
Therefore, The Transporter Refueled is the next movie in a long line of blockbusters which are increasingly turning their attention East. As I suggested in a recently written editorial, this wouldn't be an issue if the Chinese government didn't insist on co-productions featuring various story elements. To be considered a co-production, a film needs at least one third of the main cast to be Chinese and for the film to feature Chinese culture in a positive way. What is considered 'positive' is down to the Chinese powers.
Transporter 4 seems to be part of a wider deal between EuropaCorp and Fundamental Films. They have signed a multiyear output deal which states that Fundamental will release 15 EuropaCorp films in China in the coming years. We've known about this deal for sometime, but this is the first we've heard that Statham is not involved.
What do you think? Is a Transporter film without Jason Statham even worth it? Drop your opinion below.