Did you have big feelings about the news of a Face/Off remake? Not so fast! Director Adam Wingard has let us know that there is a Face/Off project happening, but it’s actually a direct sequel to the 1997 original. That’s right: Face/Off 2 is happening. In a world with Bill & Ted Face the Music, we now get to see sequels happen 25 years after the fact. Please, let it be most excellent.
The idea for the original movie was pretty ridiculous. There’s no way to describe the film without thinking there’s no way it could be good. And yet, the movie starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta is a cult classic. It did well at the box office at the time. Fans rewatch it today. It’s a bizarre premise, and yet they made it work at the time. Director John Woo worked some kind of movie magic and took a story that is, by all means, completely bonkers, and made it awesome. Yes, it’s still bonkers, but the best kind. That’s a lot to live up to, with a fan base ready to both check it out and skewer you for making it horrible. Taking on Face/Off 2 is a big move.
Let’s recap for a moment. Face/Off followed Sean Archer (Travolta) and Castor Troy (Cage). In this story, an FBI agent decides the best way to stop terrorists is to have a face transplant and switch faces with a terrorist responsible for the death of his child. Things go wrong when the terrorist wakes up from his coma. The latter then decides to destroy the life of the FBI agent.
In the original, we watch Travolta and Cage pretend to be each other. The two are actors we know well, which is part of what makes watching them impersonate each other so much fun. For a Face/Off 2, they’re going to need two actors (or actresses) who can pull off that same thing. In fact, the original movie was first thought up in 1990 well before it came out. At the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were who the writer had in mind for the movie.
What could Face/Off 2 be about? While Travolta and Cage are still acting, it doesn’t seem likely both would be in the sequel film. To discuss why properly, you’ll have to know a bit of a spoiler for the end of the original movie. You ready? The original film ends with Cage’s character dying. Then, Travolta gets his original face back.
And, in a move the studio was nervous about, the surviving agent and his wife adopt the son of the dead terrorist. While that ending was in the original script and had made it to the end, the studio didn’t want to do it. They had ideas about making it more ambiguous. The studio thought audiences would hate that ending. To their great surprise, when audiences saw the ending the studio preferred, viewers were confused. On the flip side, when audiences saw the adoption ending, there was applause.
So where does Face/Off 2 go from there? Hopefully, they won’t be bringing anyone back from the dead just so they can have both actors appear in the movie. Could it follow the son’s story? That’s certainly possible. There is then room for John Travolta to come in and be in the movie.
It seems like to make a Face/Off 2 someone will have to swap faces. It will take a lot of luck to pull that off today in a way that still feels satisfying to an audience, especially with new actors. News of Face/Off 2 is only just starting to break, so we can look forward to a lot more updates on Adam Wingard’s project in the future.