Is the New ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Movie Connected to the Old Ones?

So we shouldn’t “call [them] ‘angel.'” Yet, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the upcoming Charlie’s Angels movie. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the new film — much like the 1970s TV series and the 2000s films with which it shares its title — follows a trio of crime-fighting private detectives. But is the 2019 Charlie’s Angels a straight reboot of the franchise, as some fans feared? Or does it acknowledge the history that’s come before?

Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott
Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott | Taylor Hill/WireImage

The 2019 ‘Charlie’s Angels’ has a whole new cast

Despite sharing a title and that classic theme music, the new Charlie’s Angels introduces three brand-new characters into the mix. Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska headline the film, with Banks herself as their handler Bosley. Rather than a direct sequel to 2003’s poorly received Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, the film sets out to tell its own original story.

In fact, Charlie’s Angels makes a few fundamental changes to the previous films. Firstly, the Angels are back to using guns, after the last two releases opted for “wire fu” instead. Given the dated nature of wire-assisted martial arts, reverting back to firearms for the action sequences makes sense.

But the biggest change from previous incarnations involves the Townsend Agency the film’s heroes work for. In this Charlie’s Angels, numerous teams of Angels — each led by their own “Bosley” — are located all over the world. The new film simply follows one of them during a single case. And, yes, it does serve as a continuation of the TV series and the 2000s films.

Elizabeth Banks pushes the franchise forward

With this more global focus, Banks’ film aims to build on the simple premise that started the franchise. Earlier this summer, Men in Black International attempted something very similar. Both properties serve as soft reboots of a beloved series but still honor the successes of the past.

With Charlie’s Angels, the 2019 version sees the Angels’ operation go to the next level. From the TV series to the initial movies, it seemed like Charlie (voiced in both by the late John Forsythe) only had a single three-woman team. Apparently, he got way more ambitious after working with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu.

There’s no telling whether the new film will explain how the Townsend Agency grew so much in the last couple of decades. But we can count on Banks’ film to better reflect the world of today than previous versions. According to Stewart, the film does so without sacrificing the property’s “kitschy” edge.

Drew Barrymore returns as executive producer

Perhaps the best indication that the updated Charlie’s Angels will still please fans of the 2000s films is Barrymore’s role as executive producer. Her production company, Flower Films, helped shepherd the 2000 film and its sequel. So it very well might retain the playful spirit which worked so well before, particularly in the first film.

While Barrymore’s co-stars aren’t involved in the new Charlie’s Angels (barring a surprise cameo), Liu has voiced her approval of the project. She believes “there’s a reason why there’s many iterations” of the franchise. After all, we haven’t even mentioned the short-lived 2011 TV series.

Banks, for her part, is looking to bring an empowering message to the franchise with the new film. With any luck, Charlie’s Angels 2019 will kick off a whole new big-screen future for the series. We’ll find out when the film hits theaters on November 15.