Netflix has been doubling down on trying to build a number of film and television franchises from the ground up, but it’s impossible to predict from the outset which ones are capable of drawing in a big enough crowd and presenting the potential to continue on as a viable brand. On paper, though, 6 Underground looked to be a slam dunk.
The platform recruited Michael Bay, one of the industry’s biggest directors who built his entire career on explosive pyrotechnics, and handed him $150 million to craft a balls to the wall action blockbuster with Ryan Reynolds in the lead role. While 6 Underground was hardly either man’s best effort, it still ranks as the streamer’s fourth most-watched original movie ever.
With Reynolds sticking around to shoot Red Notice and The Adam Project back-to-back for Netflix, coupled with those viewership numbers, it felt like a second installment was a foregone conclusion. In fact, we’d even been hearing tales of trilogies, plot details and potential casting additions, but the company’s head of original film Scott Stuber has not only confirmed that 6 Underground 2 isn’t happening, but he even explained why.
“We didn’t feel like we got there on that one creatively. It was a nice hit, but at the end of the day we didn’t feel like we nailed the mark to justify coming back again. There just wasn’t that deep love for those characters or that world.”
Michael Bay’s output generally tends to divide critics but make big money at the box office, and with no quantifiable way to measure how interested people were in seeing more other than counting two minutes as one view, Netflix clearly couldn’t justify throwing another $150 million in the filmmaker’s direction to helm a follow up to a film that was entertaining in parts, but also deeply nonsensical and often painfully dull when things weren’t getting blown up. On the plus side, there are still plenty of action franchises on the way to keep customers satiated, even without 6 Underground 2.