Denzel Washington is one of the greatest performers of his generation. He has displayed remarkable versatility and powerful dramatic roles and has proven himself over the years.
He has established his status as a leading star through roles in Malcolm X, The Pelican Brief, Philadelphia, The Hurricane, and Remember the Titans. The actor also achieved an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for portraying a corrupt cop in Training Day.
No doubt, Washington has had a notable career with some incredible films, but he hasn’t been part of any major film franchises, which may come as a surprise, given his talent and popularity.
Denzel Washington Has Done Only 1 Franchise Because He was Never Asked to do More
In a 2018 interview with Variety, Denzel Washington mentioned that he rarely gets approached for sequels to his films, even if they perform well or have the potential for more stories.
Movies like Man on Fire or The Book of Eli had the potential to become franchises for the actor, but such opportunities never materialized. He even turned down the few sequel offers he received before The Equalizer. He said: “I haven’t been asked.”
“The only time I’ve been asked was for ‘Safe House,’ but that didn’t make sense because my character had died, so they were talking about a prequel. And I was asked for ‘Inside Man. But this one just made sense.”
The truth is, Washington was and still is open to doing more franchises and sequels, but he hasn’t been asked very often.
According to the star, The Equalizer 2 was the first sequel offer that actually “made sense” to him. By holding out and carefully selecting the franchise, he achieved success with the movies, even though this choice might have contributed to the misconception that he is against working in franchises.
Denzel Washington Could Have Expanded Franchise Roles with the Right Opportunities
Denzel Washington could have been in more than one franchise if he had landed in some of the bigger roles in his past. But he lost two of the biggest lifetime opportunities that could have shaped his career — filling it with more franchise projects.
Before Wesley Snipes was cast, Washington was considered as a potential candidate to play the Marvel superhero Blade. It’s because New Line’s head, Mike DeLuca, initially said that he would fund the superhero movie if they managed to cast Denzel Washington. But it is not clear if the Hollywood actor was ever approached or if he himself had any interest in the role.
There’s another film for which Washington could have headlined — the 48 Hours franchise. The buddy-cop film was in development for years, and he was even considered for the lead role of Reggie Hammond. However, the role went to Eddie Murphy, while the Equalizer star had to wait more than three decades for his first franchise opportunity.
The Equalizer 3 is playing in theatres worldwide.