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Ocean's 9 - Will It Ever Happen?

The "Ocean's" films are beloved by fans and critics alike as some of the best heist movies of all time. They've done it all, stealing money, artwork, and jewels from the most secure facilities on the planet, everywhere from Vegas casinos and European museums to the Met Gala. They get what they want and they never get caught, all the while getting revenge on their enemies and forming bonds that'll last a lifetime.

Not only do they manage to hit every box on the heist movie checklist, but they do it time and time again, with more than five renditions of the franchise produced to date. This legacy dates back to 1960, with the original Lewis Milestone film "Ocean's 11" starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The film was remade as "Ocean's Eleven" by Steven Soderbergh in 2001, with George Clooney replacing Frank Sinatra as Danny, and carried on with "Ocean's Twelve" and "Oceans Thirteen." In 2018, after a decade-long hiatus, the franchise was again revived for an all-women reboot, "Ocean's 8," with Sandra Bullock inheriting the crown as Debbie Ocean, Danny Ocean's sister.

This is a franchise with a long history, one that seems to be defined by extension and continuation. Given that the most recently released edition was counted down to eight from eleven, the filmmakers have deliberately left room for more movies to be made. It's ripe grounds for a sequel, and fans are waiting, so where is it?

Why isn't Ocean's 9 happening yet?

When it comes to expected sequels not being greenlit, one of the first possible conclusions to jump to would be that the original film wasn't successful enough. Bombing at the box office on the first run is an almost guaranteed nail in the coffin for continuation. While there was some uncertainty about how well an all-woman reboot of this traditionally all-men franchise would be received, with some actresses expressing doubts that it would even get made in the first place, the returns on "Oceans 8" were substantial. The film made over half of its money back in its opening weekend and even has the record for highest-grossing weekend box office sales of any of the films in the entire "Ocean's" franchise.

If it's not money that's stopping "Ocean's 9" from being greenlit, then the next logical conclusion would be that the cast simply doesn't want to make another movie, but again, this doesn't seem to be the case here. Several actresses from the film have expressed wanting to push forward with the franchise, but have also alluded to troubles with coordinating schedules. Given the star-studded lineup of cast members, and the busy nature of their work, this is an understandable roadblock to production. Then again, the original "Ocean's" movies also had big names attached to the cast, and they made it happen, so hopefully the "Ocean's 8" crew will be able to find some open slots in their schedules sometime soon.

What Sandra Bullock has said about Ocean's 9

When doing press earlier in 2023 for her film "Lost City," Bullock was asked what she thinks needs to happen to get an Oceans 8 sequel, and she was immediately ready with a full list of demands. She noted that the cast is all part of a designated "Ocean's 8" text chain, and that chat is still very active. This is great news for fans, but before anyone gets ahead of themselves, there are still issues to be worked out. Bullock mentioned that coordinating schedules and availability is definitely something to be addressed, and that's really just the tip of the iceberg.

Beyond availability, Bullock noted that for "Ocean's 9" to happen, there would need to be some big changes. In addition to coming up with a fresh and unexpected story that fans don't see coming, and only women could pull off, there would also need to be a female writer and director. This would mean replacing Gary Ross, who directed and wrote the screenplay for "Ocean's 8."

While not overt, there is a slight suggestion here that perhaps Bullock or other members of the cast are unhappy with the way Ross handled the film, or at the very least want to go a different direction should a sequel be greenlit. To get "Ocean's 9" off the ground, we're going to need women behind the camera, not just in front of it.

What Sarah Paulson has said about Ocean's 9

When asked by E! News in 2019 if she would be interested in reuniting the "Ocean's 8" gang for a sequel, Sarah Paulson was raring to go. She remarked that she, like fans, had been wondering whether or not it was going to happen. While there was no official word, and she didn't know exactly where her fellow cast members stood, she was all for it. She had a great time filming "Ocean's 8," and she was positive the second time around would be just as fun.

A year later, when doing press for her show with "Ocean's 8" co-star Cate Blanchett, Paulson reaffirmed these feelings. She maintained that she would still love to do a sequel, but this time, she appeared to have some updates as to logistics. She half-joked that the gang was ready to go for round two, but that they were waiting on one major star, Awkwafina, to be available. According to Paulson, she's just too famous now, and she's leaving the "Ocean's 8" gang in the dust.

She was obviously more kidding than serious, but given that Sandra Bullock has also mentioned availability being an issue, and lacking any other confirmed reasons as to why the sequel is taking so long, there's probably some truth in this. She did also suggest a workaround: Getting Sandra Bullock to star in "Ocean's One." It wouldn't be as satisfying as "Ocean's 9," but it might tide fans over for a bit!

What Cate Blanchett has said about Ocean's 9

While her co-stars Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson have been very explicit about their interest in starring in an "Ocean's 8" sequel, Cate Blanchett has been a bit more reserved in her speculation. When interviewed by Digital Spy prior to the film's release, she had stated that it would be "hubris" to say anything of substance regarding the prospect of continuing the franchise. At the time, it was unclear whether "Ocean's 8" was going to perform well, so it's understandable that she would err on the side of caution. You don't want to jinx things or get ahead of yourself with follow-up projects before you even know how you did on the first go-round.

However, that was back in 2018. The film has been out for several years now, and its success is no longer in question. It was a hit at the box office, and it's no longer unreasonable or premature to consider the future of the franchise. Regardless, Blanchett has not made any further comments regarding the standing of "Ocean's 9," or possible reprisals of her role as Lou Miller. Given that her co-stars have expressed interest in a sequel, though, and since Blanchett has expressed loving getting to work with these other wonderful women, it's safe to assume that should the opportunity present itself, Blanchett would likely be on board.

What could be explored in Ocean's 9

Obviously, this franchise has an established formula that proves itself time and time again. "Ocean's 9" would, without a doubt, be structured around some new, genius heist masterminded by the brilliant Debbie Ocean. However, there are still several threads from "Ocean's 8" that could be incorporated into a sequel.

At the end of the film, Debbie sets Claude Becker up to take the fall for the heist, so it's possible he returns in a sequel to exact his revenge. It's also highlighted that Detective John Frazier has a vendetta or at least some history with the Oceans, and he's not fully buying the Becker cover-up, so there is a possibility that he returns to put Debbie away once and for all. Speaking of being gone for good, there's always the question of whether Danny is really dead or not. It does seem like his death is real, and Debbie is definitely going through a genuine process of grief in the film, but then again, with the Oceans, you can never really know what to believe.

Another thread a sequel could pull on is the relationship between Debbie and Lou. There's a lot that's alluded to in "Ocean's 8" regarding their past, so we might get some elaboration on what exactly unfolded between the dynamic duo. Many fans have noted the chemistry and potential queer undertones to their relationship, so who knows, maybe we'll see a romantic arc for the two in "Ocean's 9."

Who would star in Ocean's 9?

The "Ocean's" movies are a very ensemble-cast-centric franchise. The films revolve around core groups of key players with very specific roles, and so a sequel would necessitate all, or at least most, of the original cast coming back. However, these aren't your run-of-the-mill casts, with one or two big stars: They're stacked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. "Ocean's Eleven" boasted big names like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, and "Ocean's 8" arguably went even further, with an A-List call sheet including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, and Helena Bonham Carter.

An "Ocean's 9" could prove tricky to execute with so many big names to re-sign. While several "Ocean's 8" actresses would likely be happy to return, and many have said as much, you really need the full lot to make a bona fide sequel. You don't just need them to sign on, either, you need schedules and availability to align, which is bound to be difficult with such an active group. It's not impossible, just complicated, and then there's still one more thing to address. In addition to the original cast, the roster would kick up from eight to nine, so you would need to add one more big star to the cast.

Who might this new addition be?

Beyond the speculation about whether "Ocean's 9" is going to happen, the question on everyone's mind is who would join the cast to become the ninth member of the gang. While pretty much any well-known woman in Hollywood is a strong contender, there are some names that stand out a bit more than others in this arena.

One possible addition could be Elizabeth Banks, as many entertainment publications had reported that she was originally attached to the production. She did not materialize in the film, and it's unclear whether she had to drop out, or if her casting was purely speculation, but either way, the buzz generated from the initial reporting of her involvement could kick-start getting her drafted to the team. It had similarly been rumored that Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie were supposed to be in the film, so they would also be reasonable additions, though Margot Robbie is reportedly supposed to be in an upcoming "Ocean's" prequel, so that might get confusing.

Other possibilities include Dakota Fanning, as she appears briefly in "Ocean's 8," or one of the many celebrities who make cameos as themselves during the Met Gala scenes, including Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Serena Williams, Katie Holmes, Gigi Hadid, Olivia Munn, Anna Wintour, and Hailey Baldwin. A true bombshell wild car throw-in would be Oprah Winfrey, as she actually expressed interest in joining the cast. Surely any of these women would be a great fit!

Who do the Original 8 think should join the cast?

Every "Ocean's" fan likely has their top picks for who the sequel addition should be, and there's certainly a long list of possibilities. But this role requires more than just a name or a familiar face to lure audiences in. What's really important when it comes to finding the right person for the job is chemistry and teamwork, so maybe we should leave it up to the other castmates to find their missing link. Many of the original "Ocean's 8" actresses have expressed having a few ideas of their own rattling around, so let's hear them out.

When asked about who could join the cast for a sequel, several of the core stars had a lot of ideas as to who to throw in the mix. Sarah Paulson suggested bringing on someone who could create an age rift within the group, an older woman or possibly even a youngster, and Sandra Bullock suggested a transgender woman. A few specific names were thrown out, with Bullock getting excited about Laverne Cox as a possibility, and Mindy Kaling suggesting the likes of RuPaul or Sterling K. Brown. There's an adamance here that whoever this new addition is, they should fold into the films' principles of diversity and inclusion, and the ladies of "Ocean's 8" will be sticking to their guns with that demand.

Could Ocean's 9 bring in some Ocean's Eleven vets?

Any sequel or spin-off worth its weight has to include at least a few shoutouts to the originals, the ones who made it all begin. You've got to pay them their due, and "Ocean's 8" definitely lived up to that obligation. They brought in The Amazing Yen, the original "Ocean's" ex-circus acrobat, for a brief cameo as their own flexible grease man, as well as the iconic Reuben Tishkoff, who makes a cameo in the film when Debbie goes to visit Danny's mausoleum. Elliott Gould, who plays Tishkoff, actually said that he hopes to see more extensions to the franchise, so he would likely make another cameo in "Ocean's 9" if given the opportunity.

You can't just bring back the same stars twice and call that a cameo surprise, though: You need to keep the ball rolling with more additions. A real treat for audiences would be that Danny's death is a fake after all, and George Clooney will get a chance to have his Ocean's spotlight once more. Fans can keep their fingers crossed, but this is definitely a long shot. A good consolation prize would be a cameo by Matt Damon, as it was reported that he was supposed to appear in "Ocean's 8," though this fell through. He could make it up to fans with an appearance in "Ocean's 9," but really, a cameo from any of the "Ocean's Eleven" crew would be the cherry on top of this long-awaited sequel.

An Ocean's Eleven prequel is reportedly in development

While there's been no official news on an "Ocean's 8" sequel being greenlit, there is reportedly an "Ocean's Eleven" prequel in development. Word has it that Margot Robbie will be starring in the film, which will be directed by Jay Roachset, whom she worked with previously on "Bombshell." Robbie is rumored to be starring alongside Ryan Gosling, which would be interesting given that they are also starring in the upcoming "Barbie" film together. It's unclear what the exact nature of their roles may be, but to assume that one or both of them are in some way related to Debbie and Danny Ocean would be a safe bet.

While not many details are known about the film yet, it's supposedly set in Europe during the 1960s, so it would also be reasonable to assume that it may borrow a lot from the 1960s version of "Ocean's Eleven," directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. The film wasn't a flop, but it also wasn't a hit, much outshined by Steven Soderbergh's 2001 remake. While this is the version most fans are familiar with, it wouldn't be surprising if the prequel paid homage in some shape or form to the very first edition of the franchise. Without a doubt, they'll be fabulous sets, stylish flare, and a heist for the ages, but beyond that is anyone's guess. 

There have also been been rumors of an Ocean's Fourteen in the works

It's been over 15 years since the third and last installment of Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's" series, "Ocean's Thirteen," hit theaters. In 2007, following the film's release, the "Ocean's" stars had sworn that there would be no fourth movie. They were out, done, finished. However, these things have a way of rising back to the surface, and in the years since, rumors about an "Ocean's Fourteen" have been circling, and some stars seem to be going back on what they said.

In 2021, while doing press for his film "Stillwater" on "Good Morning America," Matt Damon said that if George Clooney and Brad Pitt were signed on, he would be interested in continuing the franchise. According to Damon, whether or not "Oceans Fourteen" happens is totally in the hands of director Steven Soderbergh. If those men could get on board, then the movie would have a solid chance at production.

However, Damon did concede that there's still the issue of coordinating everyone's schedules (which also appears to be the primary roadblock for "Ocean's 9"), as well as the fact that several of the original "Ocean's" cast have now passed away (an issue which "Ocean's 9" thankfully doesn't have). Don Cheadle, who plays explosives expert Basher Tarr, has said in the past that without late cast member Bernie Mac, they would be no "Ocean's Fourteen," but Damon thinks it could happen — they just need to square away a few things.