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47 Ronin Sequel - What We Know So Far

"The hotly anticipated sequel to 47 Ronin is finally on its way!" isn't exactly news anybody familiar with the 2013 Keanu Reeves-starring flick would expect to hear. While the original movie certainly had style, with its high fantasy take on 18th century Japan, it was torn apart by critics and largely avoided by audiences. In fact, the movie was a notorious box-office bomb when it limped into theaters after a troubled production. Surely after all the problems it caused for the studio, Universal wouldn't be eager to greenlight another film in the franchise.

And yet, here we are in the year 2020, announcing that a sequel to the movie is in production and will reportedly debut on Netflix, according to Collider. Deadline first broke the story, along with the fact that Ron Yuan will be taking over directorial duties. Yuan is mostly known as an actor, and will be appearing in Disney's upcoming live-action Mulan. However, he does have several short films and Step Up China (a.k.a. Step Up: Year of the Dance), a spin-off to the popular dance competition film franchise, under his belt as a director.

Based on what we know about the upcoming sequel so far, Yuan has a strong vision that will take the movie in a very different direction from the original. Considering how the first one fared, that's likely a good thing. Let's dive right in and get into everything we know so far about the 47 Ronin sequel.

What's the release date for the 47 Ronin sequel?

2013's 47 Ronin had a famously troubled production that resulted in the movie's release being delayed by over a year, as recounted by The Wrap. As of right now, no release window for the untitled sequel has been announced. We (and the studio) are hoping that when a release date does drop, the sequel doesn't succumb to the same extensive delays as the original.

The announcement for the movie didn't make any mention of when production was expected to begin, so it's hard to make a prediction as to how long we'll have to wait to see the film. This is all further complicated by the fact that things are still a bit up in the air with film and TV productions in general. With all that information in mind, we're not expecting the 47 Ronin sequel to be released until late 2021 at the earliest. More likely than not, we'll see the movie sometime in 2022.

What do we know about the cast of the 47 Ronin sequel?

Despite its reputation as a failure on most fronts, 47 Ronin boasts an impressive cast mostly made up of Japanese performers. Hiroyuki Sanada and Tadanobu Asano are veteran actors of Japanese cinema, while Rinko Kikuchi was nominated for an Academy Award for her searing performance in Babel. At the head of the cast was Keanu Reeves, in the midst of his post-The Matrix, pre-John Wick period. While having Reeves return to the new film would certainly be interesting, it might also be one that generates more derision than excitement. Casting Reeves as a samurai in a movie that takes place in 18th century Japan wasn't a great look, and is (hopefully) something a studio would shy away from today.

As of now, no casting announcements have been made. What we do have is some information about the premise and setting for the new film that makes us think it's unlikely that anyone from the original will be returning.

The plot of the 47 Ronin sequel is making a big leap into the future

While we don't have a specific plot synopsis yet for the 47 Ronin sequel, we do have some information about the general premise of the movie, and it comes straight from Yuan himself. The actor and director told Deadline, "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."

Genre-blending, martial arts, and action all feel accurate to the original, but horror and cyber-punk are new ingredients to the mix. Collider reports that instead of 300 years ago, the sequel will take place 300 years in the future. All of that is a pretty large departure from the original film, and has us wondering exactly why this new project is considered a sequel to 47 Ronin at all.

Our best guess is that the sequel will draw inspiration from the same source as the original. Although it introduced many new fantasy and plot elements, 47 Ronin is actually based on a historic event that has since been used as the basis for a variety of films, plays, music, and other artistic endeavors. Perhaps the new film will be telling a similar story, just in its radically different setting.

Of course, given the fantasy elements at play in the first film, maybe the new one is a direct sequel that will see characters traveling in time, or being resurrected in some kind of cyber-punk fashion. Either way, we'll have to wait until we have more information about the 47 Ronin sequel to learn more.