Warning: Spoilers for The Old Guard ahead.
Netflix’s The Old Guard may not be the typical comic book movie, but its ending still sets up an all-but-inevitable sequel. And the director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, is already on board.
“Greg Rucka had always envisioned the story as a trilogy ... I know where the story is going and it’s pretty amazing, so if an audience wants it, there’s absolutely more story to tell,” she told Refinery29 days before the film's release. But aside from her optimism, the film itself is practically promising a next chapter.
Adapted from the graphic novel series by Greg Rucka in collaboration with artist Leandro Fernandez, The Old Guard follows a group of immortal mercenaries led by Andy (Charlize Theron), a 6,000-year-old who is growing weary of fighting. The team is sent on a mission by former CIA operative Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) which turns out to be a trap to expose just how immortal they are. Merrick (Harry Melling), a Big Pharma CEO, wants to know just what makes this group so immortal. Meanwhile, Nile (KiKi Layne), a young Marine, makes the startling discovery that she's immortal after she dies in combat and rises again. She and Andy both dream about each other, prompting Andy to scoop her up as they battle Merrick’s company.
There’s an unmentioned divide between the four original immortals. Andy and Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) are tired of fighting and consumed by their centuries of grief, forging these never-ending paths on their own while Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), a couple who met during the Crusades, have each other for eternity. Before Nile there were two other immortals viewers didn’t meet: Quynh (Veronica Ngo), the first immortal Andy found, and an unnamed one whose healing eventually stopped, proving someday they will all die.
Andy and Quynh were captured during the witch trials when they were trying to free the accused. Andy escaped and eventually stopped searching for Quynh, but still feels guilty for it. “I made Quynh a promise and I broke it,” she says. Andy later finds out Quynh’s fate through Nile’s dreams: Nile is being haunted by visions of Quynh trapped in an iron coffin under the sea, furiously beating against it in an attempt to escape. While Quynh herself doesn’t appear much in The Old Guard, her mere existence proves significant in the movie’s final moments — and where it goes from there.
Joe and Nicky are the first two immortals captured by Merrick’s forces and trapped in a lab for testing. In the fight to save them, Andy and Booker are captured as well, but Andy isn’t doing so well, as her healing powers have stopped. Booker simply caves to the capture, ready for life to finally end for the both of them. Copley aids Nile, showing her that he has been tracing Andy throughout history and discovered that for every person Andy has saved, two to three generations later humanity has reaped the benefits. Nile eventually breaks the immortals out of the laboratory as Andy finally pieces together why Nile appeared: as she was losing her healing powers, Nile was gaining hers.
After finally killing Merrick and his forces in the laboratory, the immortals banish Booker for 100 years to pay the price for nearly betraying them. The group heads to Copley, where Andy gives him instructions: make sure they stay invisible and find them missions to keep saving humankind. This scene alone could set up various sequels, which Prince-Bythewood has already hinted at.
It seems the potential sequel (Netflix, hear our plea) won’t just focus on the missions Copley finds, however. After the scene we fast-forward six months to Paris, where Booker is coming home. He tries to open his door, only for it to already be unlocked. Inside there’s a woman in a red robe pouring herself a glass of water. “Booker,” she says, “it’s nice to finally meet you.” It’s Quynh, who has somehow escaped her underwater cage and tracked Booker down, opening the door to countless questions. How did she manage to escape the cage? How does she know Booker, and how was she able to track him down? Is she seeking revenge on Andy or does she want to join the immortals in their fight to save humanity? Only a sequel — and the graphic novels — will tell.