'Salt 2' is in development: Could this be Angelina Jolie's next action franchise?

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Image Credit: Andrew Schwartz

Last year’s Salt earned considerable press long before it hit theaters because of a curious bit of gender-bending recasting: The titular CIA agent on the run was originally going to be played by Tom Cruise, but when Angelina Jolie expressed interest, “Edwin Salt” became “Evelyn Salt.” Since Jolie is essentially the only female action movie star, it seemed like a positively progressive maneuver — an indication that summer blockbusters didn’t have to resemble a frat house. Unfortunately, Salt itself was far from perfect — EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave it a B — and although it grossed $300 million globally, it underperformed compared to Jolie’s earlier, less expensive action-fest Wanted. Nevertheless, EW has confirmed that Sony has hired Salt screenwriter Kurt Wimmer to draft a script for Salt 2. Can the sequel improve on the original?

I’m actually cautiously — very cautiously — optimistic about Salt‘s possibility as a franchise. Evelyn Salt isn’t so much a character as a unique vehicle for Jolie’s onscreen star power — similar, in a way, to the Ethan Hunt character from the Mission: Impossible movies. The thing I’ve always enjoyed about the Mission: Impossible series is that each film tells a very different story in a very different style, with a different director at the helm of each entry. So M:I 1 was a twisty espionage thriller that let Brian De Palma film everything from a bizarre angle; M:I 2 was basically a stealth Notorious remake shot in perpetual John Woo slow-motion; and M:I 3 was a Bourne-inflected caper shot with as many shaky close-ups as possible. (And who knows what Brad Bird is cooking up for Ghost Protocol?) You might not dig all the movies, but there’s something undeniably exciting about such a multi-flavored franchise.

With that in mind, I’d want Salt 2 to take a step forward from the first film’s machine-like precision. The end of Salt (SPOILER ALERT) implied that Jolie’s character was planning to begin a renegade manhunt of her fellow Russian-trained double agents. Wouldn’t it be nifty if the search took her on a globe-hopping adventure, as she slowly hunts down all her marks? It’d be a little bit like Kill Bill, with Salt slowly checking off a list of of ever-more-dangerous double agents? A director like Matthew Vaughn — whose X-Men: First Class felt like a backdoor audition for the James Bond franchise — could give a global storyline like that some serious atmosphere. Conversely, since the first Salt slowly morphed into an incredibly cartoonish actioner, why not take things even more over-the-top and hire Fast Five‘s Justin Lin to direct? I envision some sort of chase where a train goes off an exploding bridge and then crashes into a boat, which then goes over Niagara Falls and crashes into a plane.

Readers, what would you like to see from Salt 2? Do you think this could be Angelina Jolie’s next action franchise, since she released two Tomb Raider films?

Follow Darren on Twitter for more chase-scene elevator pitches: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:
‘Inception,’ ‘Salt,’ and ‘Despicable Me': Do we want these turned into franchises?
Angelina Jolie and Lisbeth Salander have made the female action star the new normal
‘Tomb Raider': Who should be the new Lara Croft?

Comments (60 total) Add your comment
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  • Krystal

    I liked Salt. It definitely deserved that B rating though. I totally agreet that it could be a good franchise if made correctly.

    • Peyton

      totally agree, i thought Salt was pretty dope!

      • John

        I can’t wait for part 2.

  • Joyce

    Agreed! With the right story and director, it could be a great franchise for Angelina. She’s great in action movies, one of the few female stars you believe in an action role.

    • Maybe11e

      I read some time ago that Jolie was not interested in making another Salt movie and that the franchise was looking for a different actress. I hope they do make another as I hated it ended as a cliff hanger.

      • Sara

        I hope that’s not true! I mean, why star in a movie with such an obvious open ending if you’re not willing to make another?

      • therealeverton

        Maybe she was also dissapointed with how poorly it turned out.

  • The Internet

    This movie was -totally- horrible. I mean, it was legitimately bad and beyond unrealistic. And I -get- there’s a leeway for action films but seriously? Either the US is trained by nincompoops of Salt’s got magic punches and mystical bullets.

    • Really?

      A movie? Unrealistic? NO. How shocking. Yes, Avatar was not real, neither was Inception, neither was ANY movie last year. That’s WHY they are called movies
      and not CNN. So, go back to watching documentaries on PBS.

    • HAHAHA

      R U SERIOUS??? YOU MUST BE OUTTA UR MIND B KUZ THAT WAS AN AMAZING MOVIE AND ANGELINA JOLIE IS AN AWESOME ACTRESS!!! SO GET YOUR ACT OR WATEVA STRAIGHT!!!JERK.. AND WORD TO THE WISE IF UR GONNA SAY SOMETHING RUDE JUST KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!!!

  • DEXTERthinks

    Salt was totally entertaining and I think a sequel would be great. I would go see it, instead of the A- Y’ALL gave THOR….

  • Jamie

    I thought of Matthew Vaughn too since he studied the Bond films for XMen. Or Christopher Nolan since he’s always said wants to direct a Bond film. Or Nicholas Winding Refn. I think Jolie leans towards darker treatments so I would rule out Fast Five’s Jason Lin

    • maxinpains

      Jamie, I think you don’t know anything but believeing what tabloids are saying. So, based on what you learned from those data not gonna make any good movies. Please, stop posting craps on any Entertainment newses. Thanks

  • Jamie

    I like Angelina and I love action movies, but this movie was horrible and so predictable. Thumbs down.

    • maxinpains

      I think It’s just because you are FAT & Doesn’t have enough brains to understand what every movies are all about. Also, You should stop singing & lying to people around you. LOL

  • Bob

    I loved Salt. Of course it was preposterous but it comitted to it’s own ridiculousness fiercely by playing it harrowing and kinetic straight. Phillip Noyce after the two Harrison Ford Tom Clancy pics is a superlative action director–the set pieces were just realistic enough, exciting, perfectly paced and again kinetic. Jolie and her mysterious cheekbones expertly made you rethink her character’s loyalties many times over–she’s a spy, no she’s not, yes she is and so on. I hope they can keep up the quality but bring back Noyce.

  • Kristy

    I hope it’s another actress. It’s the same character Angelina played in The Tourist and that bombed. I think people want to see other actresses get a chance to play action.

    • therealeverton

      No it didn’t it made $278m, just a little less than Salt on a slightly lower budget. It may have hoped to do better but it was far from a bomb.

    • HAHAHA

      WHAT R U TALKING BOUT SHE WAS REALLY GEWD IN THAT MOVIE AND CHANGING THE ACTRESS WUD B WRONG AND THE MOVIE WUD SUCK!!!

  • Brett

    Don’t encourge that hack Vaughn. Going international defeats the whole premise, which was rooting out sleeper agents in the U.S.

  • markdamit

    She should do another Tomb

  • Ana

    Hopefully she’ll gain some weight so I’ll actually believe she can kick someone’s ass. She looked pretty skeletal in that first one.

  • MB

    “Salt” was just okay. If there is a “Salt II,” I hope they get what apparently the MI franchise doesn’t: a credible, heavyweight villain is as important as the hero.

  • therealeverton

    Salt was awful. It needed to decide what it was. It wasn’t over the top enough to be a mad action movie and it was far to stupid and dull to be a bourne style thriller. Result boring and idiotic, especially the endings.

  • California

    I loved Salt and can’t wait to see the sequel!

    • Sergeant

      I enjoyed “Salt”. I am waiting for “Salt 2″ mainly because everything else gets to have a part two. Aside from that, the “master” told us the first time that his creations were everywhere just waiting for instructions to take action. In the meantime, they are playing a role for your benefit as your neighbors, your teachers, your bus drivers, and more. For their excellent body of work, Ms. Jolie and Mr. Denzel Washington should be paired up to bring pure powerful action of revenge served cold. They should look normal and act normal with jobs and children until the end of day when the roaches come out to play. Then, it is simply action revenge gone wild. It only takes one drink too many to tell a story that was meant to be a secret. They invest the action to cut away the disease one town at a time until “hell” freeze over. But with grace and love, they eat breakfast as a family. Their village should consist of Mr. Washington’s mother, a trusted live in housekeeper, Ms. Jolie’s forced retired friend who let her go (that Black guy).
      That can mean at least a three-peat with several options of great stars to team up their body of work with Ms. Jolie such as Ms. Berry, Mr. Jones, Mr. Pitt, and more (this just a few of my favorite based on body of work). I will be waiting on the outcome. Thank you for this moment; good luck

  • therealeverton

    I don’t think Mila Jovovich would be impressed to hear that she’d not an action star, or not a woman? Whichever it is. HEr Resident evil movies are big, action business and a fair bit more profitable than Jolies recent efforts, of which only Wanted (an ensemble piece, grossed higher than the last Resident Evil film.

    • Tom

      As much as I like Milla, the Resident Evil films are low-budget efforts that are still seen as “genre” pieces, with all the (unfairly) negative things they imply. And they still don’t make that much money in the USA, which, no matter how global Hollywoods likes to claim it is, is the most “important” market. Another thing, Angelina is the only female action star that is also a movie star, period. I personally think that Milla has a very convincing screen persona as a badass chick, almost as convincing as Angie, but of the two, Angie is the one with the Oscar nods (and win), the incessant press, and the endless media scrutiny and big screen mistique. I enjoy Milla in action films, but she is not seen as a movie star or as a Hollywood A-lister, and Angie is. That’s why you will never see Milla being paid 20 million for a high-budget, high-stakes action film from an A-list director, even if those Milla films are relatively profitable.

      • dylan

        your crazy mila jovoitch has played in 0ver 30 movies playing as the main charicter or close to it shes on her way up and as much i love angie she on her way out so get used to it cause you might not see to many more action movies from ang i know one thing for sure well be seeeing more milla

    • Megan

      Jojovich is an action hero, but Jolie is an action hero/movie star, there lies the difference.
      Whether I think they deserve it or not, in the Hollywood pecking order, Angelina towers over Jojovich, by a long long shot.

    • Johnny

      Let’s be realistic therealeverton: Angelina is a movie star, Jojovich is not. And I actually like Milla in action films more than Jolie. I think both women kick ass as female action heroes, but I definitely see why EW said that Angie is essentially the only female action star. She’s the only Hollywood, and mainstream audiences consider one. Whether we like it or not, Jojovich is not a movie star. She may be an action star, but in the end, only in one franchise,(Ultraviolet was a flop) while Angie has had action film success with 4 different action films (Tomb Raider, Mr&MrsdSmith, Wanted, and Salt) which indicates that audiences believe her in those kinds of roles.

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