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Does The Fugitive Have A Sequel?

It takes a certain kind of film to permanently leave an imprint on pop culture, but 1993's The Fugitive is one of those films. The movie's fast-moving plot, talented acting, and memorable quotes rendered it one of the definitive thrillers of the nineties, leaving audiences breathlessly rooting for Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), who is wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, and must lead a desperate effort to track down the real killer while simultaneously evading the clutches of Senior Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). 

Surprisingly, few of those that were involved with the making of The Fugitive realized just how excellent its reception would be. According to The Atlantic, both Ford and Jones expected it to flop. Instead, The Fugitive rose to become the third highest grossing film of the year, as well as earning a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Today, the film continues to be refenced in everything from TV shows, to video games, to casual conversations ... which makes it all the stranger that, unlike other classic action films such as Die Hard and First Blood, it never spawned a sequel.

Or did it? In fact, the answer is a bit more complex than that. Because while there never was a "The Fugitive 2: Fugitive Again," or anything silly like that, the universe created in the film did continue, via a spin-off.

Tommy Lee Jones's Gerard returned in U.S. Marshals (1998)

When you look back on The Fugitive, there's one scene that sticks out above all others — and that's the confrontation in the dam, between Harrison Ford's Dr. Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones' U.S. Marshal Gerard. When Kimble desperately tries to convince Gerard that he did not kill his wife, Gerard bluntly replies with a verbal gut-punch: "I don't care." 

This line, amazingly, was improvised by Jones. And sure enough, Jones was a pivotal ingredient in the movie's success, bringing the same gravitas that he does to every film lucky enough to have him in it. While Warner Bros. didn't make the mistake of trying to produce a direct Fugitive sequel that simply replicated the tropes of its predecessor, it's not too surprising that they continued the story in a spin-off film featuring Jones, titled U.S. Marshals. The latter film, which hit theaters in 1998, was connected to The Fugitive only through the character of Gerard — here depicted as pursuing yet another fugitive, following the murder of two DSS agents in a United Nations parking garage. 

Given that very few people remember the existence of U.S. Marshals, you can probably guess that it didn't exactly thrill audiences. Reviews were mixed, and it didn't earn the box office nor accolades of its predecessor. That said, the acting earned high marks from critics — after all, the film boasted a cast that not only included Jones, but also Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and Joe Pantoliano — and they also credited it for having some noteworthy set pieces. 

Looking back, the film is mostly just seen as a novelty for Fugitive fans. However, while U.S. Marshals is the only other movie that exists in the same continuity as Harrison Ford's Dr. Kimble, it's certainly not the only version of The Fugitive

There's more than one version of The Fugitive out there ... and Harrison Ford's wasn't the first

1993's The Fugitive was such a lucrative success that, to this day, many casual fans are unaware that it was actually just an adaptation of an old TV series — and clearly, one of the most successful TV-to-film translations to date. 

The original Dr. Richard Kimble was played by David Janssen, who starred in the 1963 version of The Fugitive (which was, itself, inspired by true events)The series, created by Roy Huggins, ran for three seasons, and depicted Janssen's Kimble racing across the country to evade his own Gerard (Barry Morse) while pursuing the one-armed man who'd murdered his wife. The TV show was every bit as influential as the film it would eventually inspire — 1977's The Incredible Hulk, for one, owes the series a debt of gratitude — and as Vanity Fair points out, the finale crafted the blueprint for how almost every popular TV show ends today, by delivering closure instead of leaving Kimble on the run forever.

In the years since the Harrison Ford film, The Fugitive franchise has been revived a few times, to varying success. The 1995 Indian film Nirnayam was a close adaptation of the American movie, and the year 2000 saw CBS air a rebooted TV series, starring Tim Daly as Kimble, which was cancelled after one season. Most recently, in 2020, Quibi aired their own new version of The Fugitive, with new characters facing a similar situation.

So if you're looking to get more of The Fugitive, it isn't hard to find — but really, the 1993 version crafts a pretty complete story.