How The Old Guard Ending Sets Up a Sequel

The ending of The Old Guard on Netflix leaves plenty of room for a sequel, and it could look to the comics for inspiration.

Charlize Theron and the cast of The Old Guard
Photo: Aimee Spinks/Netflix

Gina Prince Bythewood’s action-packed The Old Guard has officially hit Netflix and the gritty mythological Charlize Theron star vehicle–based on the comics from Greg Rucka (who also wrote the screenplay) and Leandro Fernandez–has left fans asking, “What happens next?” Although the streamer has yet to announce whether the movie will get a sequel, the final act sets up something explosive, and when we spoke with Rucka he teased that all would be explained if and when The Old Guard got a sequel. So what might that look like? And what are the biggest questions that fans need answered?

Well, Old Guard fans, this piece has got you covered! 

How did The Old Guard Become Immortal?

The biggest question that The Old Guard poses is how the crew is immortal in the first place. It’s the driving force between the movie and the comic’s conflict, but is left completely unanswered in both. When we spoke to Rucka, he addressed this choice, the influence of Rian Johnson’s Looper, and when fans might potentially learn more about the mythical powers. 

“I wanted to do that [Rian] Johnson take, which is just that it doesn’t matter,” Rucka says. “It’s just there and this is the nature of it. And oddly enough you can go right down the line of people who have approached the material, and the people who accept it and the people who are like, ‘No, it has to be answered.’” 

Ad – content continues below

Fans could potentially expect more information about this to be revealed in The Old Guard comics first.

“We just finished the last issue of the second series of The Old Guard. We actually just sent the issue to press–it got delayed because of COVID stuff–that goes into the mythology,” he says. “I imagine that, should we be fortunate enough to make a sequel, we’ll also be pursuing it further there.”

The final issue of the first Old Guard miniseries left off with a promise that the team would get back to what they do best: working. So what happens next is really wide open, but if the sequel does get approved it would be really cool to see Andy potentially seek out the origins of her immortality. We know that’s what drove Booker to betray the crew to Merrick, and now that he’s out on his own for a century there’s a chance he might be on the same mission. 

Is Andy the World’s First Real Superhero? 

One of the biggest departures from the comic was the expansion of the character played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Copley. In the comics he’s simply a brutal CIA recruiter who betrays the Guard, but in the movie he cuts a more empathetic figure who had been following Andy’s exploits for his own reasons. Though he still plays a key part in Merrick’s maniacal plan, he has his own reasons for keeping tabs on the woman who he believes to be the closest thing to an avenging angel that the world has ever seen. 

Rucka and Fernadez’s original comic is a tight five issue arc that doesn’t have much time for unnecessary exposition or detail, so something that we get in the movie that we don’t get in the comics is a brief yet expansive look at Andy’s history as a hero. As Nile (Kiki Layne) looks over a wall, we get an idea that Andy is essentially the world’s first superhero and has been saving the day for millenia. It’s a particularly interesting angle and fits in with Rucka’s larger plan. 

During our chat with him Rucka shared why he thought this was such an important moment for Andy and why he expanded on it in the screenplay for The Old Guard movie. 

Ad – content continues below

“In large part this first story for Andy is about one question, and it’s not a terribly profound question,” he says. “I mean, it’s a question that everybody asks, which is, ‘Why do these things happen to me? Why am I enduring this? And why must I live through this?’ For Andy that’s writ very, very large. We meet her and I think Charlene does a brilliant job of conveying this. You see the fatigue and it’s not emotional fatigue, it is a world weariness that in the context of the universe we’ve created is quite literally the most profound world weariness possible there is. Therefore for her, finding some answer, some reason to go on, to continue trying to change a world for the better that is absolutely and undeniably resistant to this, is key.” 

That idea isn’t one that’s explored explicitly in the comics, rather leaving the reading of the team and their impact up to the reader. It’s clear here, though, that we’re looking at a new kind of superhero, as well as a new vision of the superhero team, and a new type of superhero movie. With the massively positive response to the movie for subverting what we’ve come to expect from the genre, it’s likely that we’ll get to see this side of the story explored more in a sequel. 

Will Nile Become The Old Guard’s New Leader?

KiKi Layne’s new addition to the team was a highlight of the Netflix flick. A rare nuanced and layered “in” character, her relationship with Andy and journey of self-discovery are at the heart of The Old Guard. It’s also her reading of Andy’s history that causes the tired immortal to realize that maybe there is something worth living for. As the team heads out into the world to save the day again, it’s clear Nile will play a large part. And if Andy heads off to find out the truth about how and why the members of the crew are what they are, Nile has great potential to take her place. 

Are There More Immortals?

This is obviously a big question going forward. We know that Nile existed without the knowledge of the Guard until she was magically resurrected. Like most of our questions here, a lot of this will be easier to parse when the second series of The Old Guard comic comes out later this year. For now, however, we can theorize that there likely are more immortals and that a potentially cool conflict would be Andy and co. coming up against some old friends turned foes, or even a whole new collective that they didn’t know existed. Whatever happens we doubt that Andy, Nile, Joe, Nicky, and Booker are the only immortals that we’ll come across if we get another movie. 

Could There Be a Shift in Aesthetic?

As we touched on earlier, The Old Guard stuck really close to source material when it came to narrative. But aesthetically, Gina Prince-Bythewood went for a realistic look that was far removed from the stylized look of Fernandez’s art and Daniela Miwa’s stunning colors, which for this writer are one of the strongest parts of the series. Although the gritty look of the first film has been a hit with viewers, it would be super cool to see a little more of that stylized look come into a sequel, maybe some bisexual lighting that leans into the incredible work that Miwa did to shape the look and feel of the original stories. We’re not expecting a full change but with a whole world to explore and infinite time to do it there’s plenty of space for experimentation. 

Do We Sense a Time Jump?

The most exciting thing about The Old Guard is the fact that having an immortal cast means that the story can essentially take place in any time period. Seeing as the first movie was relatively light on backstory, we could definitely see some flashback/origin work that plays into the immortality of Andy and her crew. But there’s also potential for a massive time jump. We know the team will likely still be alive in a hundred if not a thousand years, so if the creative team is feeling ambitious this could be a really interesting way to shake up a sequel. 

Ad – content continues below

Whatever happens next, The Old Guard has changed the way that people see superheroes and will likely be a talking point for a long time coming. 

You can watch The Old Guard on Netflix now.