Avengers directors explain why they want to "build their own Star Wars" as they provide promising updates on Extraction 3 and The Gray Man 2

Extraction 2
(Image credit: Netflix)

One swift glance at the 'upcoming projects' sections of the Russo Brothers' respective IMDb pages is enough to overwhelm.. Since they exited the MCU rather triumphantly with Avengers: Endgame, the filmmaking duo have certainly been keeping busy, making the likes of Tom Holland drama Cherry, spy thriller series Citadel, and upcoming graphic novel adaptation The Electric State. And it looks like they are keeping things that way with plenty of productions on the horizon.

So, when GamesRadar+ sat down with the pair recently at the Sands: International Film Festival in St Andrews, Scotland, we decided to get the lowdown on some of their projects, kicking off with The Gray Man 2, a sequel to their Netflix action film which starred Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. 

First announced shortly after the movie's summer 2022 release, news on the follow-up has been quiet, but Joe Russo promises that is indeed in active development, with the filmmakers currently figuring out which direction the story should go in.

As he tells us: "We're developing concepts we think are the right direction to take the character in and so, we are working on that at the moment. I mean, you're juggling like 14 things at the same time so you have to apportion your time correctly to each one of them."

Anthony Russo then continued, praising the support they receive at their production company AGBO: "But that’s part of the benefit of having our own company now, which is filled with really important collaborators that we've been working with for many years, and that's the only way we're able to sustain this level of work. We always joke there's not two Russo Brothers, there's like 14."

The Gray Man is one of the best Netflix action movies

(Image credit: Netflix)

Action is clearly a genre the directors like to work with as Joe Russo is also partly responsible for bringing us the Chris Hemsworth Extraction movies, working on those as a writer. 

Whilst a threequel has been revealed to be in the works at Netflix, it was previously unclear whether he will be returning as a screenwriter for this third chapter. However, Russo confirmed to us that he will be penning the screenplay, with a production schedule being put into place once diaries are all figured out. 

He said: "Yeah, we're developing it at the moment, figuring out Chris's schedule. Sam Hargrave is back directing. It's an interesting franchise because he's a very emotionally wounded character, so there's good storytelling there I think in respect to his backstory, and, you know, his relationship to violence is one that's built around self-loathing and guilt. And so, it adds a lot of texture I think, which allows us to tell more stories about him. "

The Russo brothers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In addition to all of the above, the Russo Brothers are also due to produce Disney's live-action adaptation of beloved animated classic Hercules which The Gentlemen's Guy Ritchie is due to direct - a project they say they are still "waiting on a script" for.

It's safe to say then that their choices for projects post-Marvel have been varied - but what is the drive behind these decisions, and will they ever want to tackle an already established franchise again? As we put that question to them during our chat, referring to a news report about their early conversations with MCU boss Kevin Feige about making a Star Wars movie, the Russos make it very clear that their focus is now on original storytelling.

As Joe puts it: "The intention is that we want to build our own Star Wars. For us, it's all about the focus on original storytelling and new ideas. If anything, there’s been too much. I mean, I think you could argue we're in a rut of repetitive storytelling and potential franchise abuse. So, at a certain point, I think the audience is craving new ideas and new stories. And that's where all of our focus is going post-Marvel - asking 'what are those new stories?' Barbie and Oppenheimer showed the appetite out there - audiences want something different."

The Gray Man on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Agreeing, Anthony emphasizes: "We have really focused on a lot of original stories that we've been developing over the past several years with writers [Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely, and our wider group of collaborators at AGBO. So, we are very excited over the next several years to start to be able to execute things like The Electric State. We've made a big focus to shift into generating our own material. "

Also looking ahead to the future, we asked the Russo Brothers if there is still a dream actor on their bucket list they would love to work with - which is quite the question given they have directed everyone from Samuel L. Jackson to Robert Downey Jr. After admitting that it's a difficult question to answer, the duo finally decide, as Anthony concludes: "Probably Leo [Leonardo DiCaprio]. I think we would have a lot of fun with him."

For more from our exclusive interview with the Russo Brothers, check out their reflections on Captain America: The Winter Soldier's 10th anniversary, what they can tease about their next movie The Electric State, and their thoughts on Robert Downey Jr.'s recent comments about a return as Iron Man.

And if you are looking to fill up your watchlist, here are our picks of the best Netflix movies.

Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.