Warning: Spoilers for 2019's Charlie's Angels are ahead.
The new Charlie’s Angels movie is here and, with it, a new Charlie. That’s right, the mysterious Charles Townsend, who gives the Angels all their missions now seems to be someone who isn’t actually Charles Townsend. Instead, it's implied that the new Charlie in Charlie’s Angels is a former Angel herself. Yep, in this girl power franchise, Charlie is finally a woman, too.
The latest iteration of Charlie’s Angels — starring Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott — makes some updates that answer the question Beyoncé posed all those many years ago: “Charlie, how your Angels get down like that?”
Well, in the new film it’s explained that there are many Angels who have existed over the years and that they are all part of the Townsend Agency, which has now gone international. Instead of there being one Bosley working with a trio of Angels, there are multiple Bosleys who all supervise crime-fighting lady spies.
And, at the top of the ladder, there seems to be a new Charlie: Kelly Garrett, an Angel from the original 1970s TV series, played by Jaclyn Smith. The movie doesn’t say this straight up, but it is hinted at during a credits scene.
At the very end of the film, a woman with white sleeves is shown talking into Charlie’s famous speaker with her voice changed with modulation technology. Then, during the very next scene, in which Elena (Scott) is being formally made an Angel, Kelly Garrett introducers herself to new Angel and she’s wearing a white blazer. She's also the first person Elena meets in her post-credits Angels training montage, so if I were to put money it, I'd say this original Angel is now the new Charlie.
Besides, it makes sense that a former Angel would takeover for the speakerbox boss. Charlie’s Angels establishes that all the former Angels are canon and that Angels can move up to higher positions within the agency. One of the Bosleys, played by the film’s writer-director Elizabeth Banks, was formerly an Angel.
Then, there's the fact that Smith’s character, Kelly, is probably the most experienced Angel of them all. She was one of the original three trio, along with Kate Jackson’s Sabrina and Farrah Fawcett’s Jill. Smith stayed on the series for its entire run — 1976 to 1981 — while the other actors changed. She also previously made an appearance as Kelly in the 2003 film Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. (Those who don’t know Smith’s name from Charlie’s Angels might know her from one of her other roles — she was active in TV movies and mini-series throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s and more recently appeared on CSI and Law & Order: SVU — or for her eponymous clothing line sold at Kmart and Sears.)
Smith and Banks both gave interviews to Parade ahead of the new movie’s release, with the article explaining that Smith visited the shoot, but not revealing that she had a role in the film.
“I felt like I was going back in time,” Smith said of being on set. “It affected me in a way I could have never imagined. But I looked around and saw what was going on, and I knew this movie was in good hands.” She also said of Banks, “Aaron [Spelling, the series’ producer] wanted people to sit with their family, young and old, and watch the show and forget things for a minute. That’s what Elizabeth will do too.”
The actor explained that she’s looking forward to one day showing her two young grandchildren the show when they’re older, because she knows it can be empowering, even if it’s a little silly. “I can’t wait to show Charlie’s Angels to my grandkids. I think they’re going to enjoy saying ‘That was Mimi. Gosh, she did that show. She was a role model.”
And, now, they’ll be able to see their grandmother as a role model in another capacity: Charlie herself.