After a trilogy of successful movies, producer Luc Besson is taking his Taken franchise to the small screen with a new prequel TV series from NBC. Deadline reports that NBC has issued a straight-to-series order, with EuropaCorp's Luc Besson producing and conducting the search for a writer/showrunner to shepherd the series. The show will be set several years before the movie franchise, centering on a young Bryan Mills.
In the original Taken, Liam Neeson starred as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent who springs into action when his daughter (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped during a trip to Paris. After contacting one of the thugs who took his daughter, Mills delivered an iconic speech to one of his daughter's kidnappers, revealing the "very particular set of skills" he acquired over a long career, which makes him "a nightmare for people like you." We see these skills in action throughout the rest of the movie, and its subsequent sequels, but this TV series will show how a younger Mills acquired these skills.
In a peculiar twist, though, the series will be set in modern day, instead of decades ago in the past. It isn't clear yet how young this version of Bryan Mills will be, or if they have some sort of device to explain why the series is set in present day. It seems producer Luc Besson and his EuropaCorp company may be borrowing the format from A&E's Bates Motel, which is set years before the events of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic Psycho, but is still set in present day.
Luc Besson will executive produce along with EuropaCorp Television U.S. president Matthew Gross, alongside EuropaCorp Television co-chairs Edouard de Vésinne and Thomas Anargyros. This will be the first series developed by the Los Angeles-based EuropaCorp TV US, which doesn't use the company's European model, but instead develops and sells their programs to U.S. companies first. EuropaCorp and UniversalTV reportedly have a 50-50 partnership on Taken, with Universal handling international distribution except for France.
The original Taken took in an impressive $226 million worldwide from just a $25 million budget. The action-thriller spawned 2012's Taken 2, which took in $376.1 million from a $45 million budget and this year's Taken 3, which earned $325.7 million from a $48 million budget. Who do you think should play the young Bryan Mills in this new Taken prequel series? Chime in with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more updates.