Surely one of the most anticipated sequels in recent history, Fifty Shades Darker faces several daunting challenges. What can we expect from the follow-up to a movie that made more than $500 million at the box office worldwide?
It Will Have a Different Director
Back in March, it was announced that Sam Taylor-Johnson, who helmed Fifty Shades of Grey, would not be returning for the sequel. Now it appears that veteran director James Foley, best known for making intense dramas like At Close Range, Glengarry Glen Ross and Fear, is the front-runner to replace her, according to Deadline.
In recent years, Foley has turned to television (for example, 12 episodes of the Netflix series House of Cards), which means he knows how to work well within a relatively modest budget. But his resume might raise eyes for those expecting another erotic and sensual drama, which makes the next point about the sequel important.
It Will Be More of a Thriller
While the first installment delved into the details of the extreme sexual dynamic between virginal college student Anastasia Steele and tightly wound billionaire Christian Grey, the sequel "will be more of a thriller," according to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley. So if Foley ends up directing, his past experience would come in handy.
Fifty Shades Darker picks up three days after Anastasia has left Christian, when she begins a new job in publishing. Without spoiling anything, she encounters characters both old and new who create more intrigue, and possible danger, in her personal life, and affect her future prospects with Christian. That kind of material will need a different edge than Fifty Shades of Grey.
It Already Has a Different Writer
Speaking of a different edge, novelist and veteran TV scribe Niall Leonard has replaced Kelly Marcel as writer. Marcel won praise for her adaptation of the first book by E.L. James, but it's known that James has very particular expectations for the film versions of her best-selling tomes, and Leonard has an advantage: he's married to James. Reportedly, the scripts for Fifty Shades Darker and the third installment, Fifty Shades Freed, have already been completed.
It Will Feature the Same Stars
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan will return in the roles that made them famous, which should reassure fans of the first movie. Both actors have been busy lately, although it's Johnson who has risen to a higher profile.
She'll have a choice supporting role opposite Johnny Depp in the real-life gangster drama Black Mass, due in theaters on September 18, but even before that she stars in Chloe and Theo, a comedy-drama heading for release on September 4. She plays a "mildly delusional" homeless woman who befriends an Inuit from the Arctic who travels to New York to warn world leaders about global warming. You can watch the new trailer below.
Fifty Shades Darker will warm up theaters on February 10, 2017, with Fifty Shades Freed to follow on February 9, 2018.