Liam Neeson Wants ‘Taken 3′ to End Franchise With a Bang
Liam Neeson is officially returning to his role as the butt-kicking dad no one should mess with, Bryan Mills, for Taken 3. The actor recently confirmed that not only will his character once again be taking down bad guys in the upcoming movie — which has since been rebranded as Tak3n – but that this could very well be the last installment in the franchise.
You would think that Mills would be enjoying some well-deserved downtime by now, having already saved his family from kidnappers and sex traffickers twice. Unfortunately for him, it just doesn’t seem like luck is on his side. In Tak3n, it’s the former CIA agent himself who is being chased, not his family — which is probably for the best, as even Neeson admits that the latter has already gotten into all the trouble they could get into. “This time, no more traveling,” he told USA Today. “If my daughter was ‘taken’ again on a trip, Bryan Mills would have to be certifiably locked up for bad parenting.”
Instead, the movie will follow Neeson’s Mills as he’s forced to go on the run after getting framed for the murder of someone close to him. “I have to go on the run, I’ll put it that way, from the not-so-lawful types and the lawful authorities,” the actor said. “Bryan Mills served his country faithfully, but now even they are after him. They must not like me.”
Maggie Grace, who plays Neeson’s daughter in the action flicks, has long since been scheduled to appear in the follow-up movie, becoming the first cast member to sign on for the project in March. Forest Whitaker will also be joining the series this time around, as an agent on the hunt for Mills.
It’s not exactly a surprise that 20th Century Fox is pushing a third Taken flick, given the commercial success of the first two. The original 2008 Taken film was a smash success, earning surprisingly positive reviews from critics and grossing over $225 million worldwide against a budget of just $25 million. It also helped cement Neeson as a full-on, bona fide action star: a persona the actor has continued to bank on with roles in other thrillers like Unknown, The Grey, and Non-Stop.
Taken 2, on the other hand, was nowhere near as well received critically, getting lambasted for its blatant predictability. Regardless, the sequel was also considered a studio win, surpassing its predecessor by taking in $375 million at the box office. With numbers like that on the line, most assumed it was only a matter of time before a third film was put into works.
Still, the confirmation of third film does beg the question: How many times can they possibly pull this off? Though Neeson clearly hopes that Tak3n will help refresh the franchise after the scathing reviews the last film reviewed, he also seems very aware that the films’ premise can only go on for so long. “It’s a rollicking good story. But I think this is the end,” he told USA Today. New co-star Whitaker though doesn’t seem as certain, stating that no big fight takes place between their characters, so it will “have to wait until Taken 4.”
In the end, the franchise’s future will really depend on how well the third movie performs at the box office. If its history is any indication, it seems like we should expect another hit. Either way, we can only hope that the studio will allow the series to end with a bang instead of unnecessarily dragging it out — or worse, creating a spinoff without Neeson. Here’s to wishful thinking.
Tak3n will hit theaters on January 9, 2015.