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Will Taken 4 Ever Happen?

Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson has become synonymous with high-intensity action flicks involving him kicking the tar out of bad guys who have wronged him or, in the case of The Grey, fighting packs of wolves. But Neeson's action star credentials are actually a relatively new facet of his career. Before the 2010s, he was mostly known for roles in prestige dramas like his Oscar nominated turn in Schindler's List, or crowd pleasing comedies like Love Actually. That all changed with the release and unexpected success of 2008's Taken.

The visceral thriller saw Neeson as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative who must rely on his training to make mincemeat out of a gang of human traffickers after they kidnap his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). While the movie got mixed reviews from critics, it did well at the box office and became a cultural phenomenon. Moments like Bryan's intense monologue to his daughter's kidnappers, where he lets them know the horror they just unleashed on themselves, became almost bigger than the movie itself. In a 2021 retrospective of that monologue in Thrillist, John Sellers calls it "a speech that we all now pretty much agree is the greatest 40-second action-movie monologue of the 2000s, and possibly of all time."

Of course, Taken was followed by two sequels, as well as a prequel TV series that ran on NBC for two seasons. However, since the 2018 cancellation of that series, the franchise has been dormant. It begs the question: Is another Taken movie ever going to happen?

Based on the way things are looking right now, it seems unlikely, but not impossible. Here's why.

Why it's unlikely that we'll see Taken 4 anytime soon...

For his part, Neeson has already commented on whether or not there will be a Taken 4. While making an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016 (via Entertainment Weekly), the actor was asked about the possibility of a fourth movie. He said definitely that there wasn't going to be one, adding, "There's only so many times your daughter can be taken [...] Actually if we do have another it will be, 'Please can you take my daughter?'"

That might be harsh for fans of the franchise to hear, but he makes a good point. As we saw with the TV series, even though the franchise continued, it did so by going back in time to find new setups to hook viewers. Critics were also apparently in agreement about Neeson's statement. The second and third movies got pretty lousy reviews, with some citing the contrived plots of those later installments as big marks against them. While an action franchise like Taken doesn't necessarily rely on good reviews from critics to keep itself afloat, when the third movie only gets a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, it certainly puts a question mark over the possibility of more releases.

And even though the show changed up the formula a bit, it also wasn't exactly met with critical praise, either. Worse still, although the pilot episode of the series was watched by 7.45 million viewers, putting it up there with The Bachelor and The Big Bang Theory, the second season premiere only netted a viewership of 2.79 million.

So, it's not entirely surprising that the Taken TV series was canceled and the film franchise was put on ice. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's dead and gone.

...but when it comes to Taken 4, never say never

The biggest argument for there possibly being another Taken movie is the fact that we're in 2021, the year that The Matrix 4, Top Gun: Maverick, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife are slated to release. Thanks to the entertainment industry's recent love of late-in-life sequels and reboots, even though Neeson and co. seem to have moved on from Taken, that doesn't mean there won't be another movie in the series.

With three feature films and two seasons of a TV show under its belt, the franchise has a plethora of characters and storylines it could draw from to launch a reboot, even if Neeson doesn't want to come back. While a Neesonless Taken movie might sound like blasphemy, it seems like the most likely scenario if the franchise does have a revival one day.

There's also the fact that while Taken 3 was panned by critics and didn't make as much money as Taken 2, it still brought in over $326 million against its $48 million budget. Based on those numbers, it seems like the reason we haven't seen a fourth Taken movie isn't because the franchise was flopping financially, which is potentially a positive sign for the future.

So, while Taken 4 may not be in the cards at the moment, it's not completely outlandish to think that we may get another sequel or reboot of the franchise sometime down the road.