Rowan Atkinson will be back to spoof James Bond one more time in Johnny English 3. Whilst not as globally well-known as Atkinson’s other characters such as Blackadder and (of course) Bean, the Johnny English franchise is remarkably profitable despite not being well-liked by critics. Based originally on a series of commercials, English is an over-confident “MI7” spy who usually bumbles his way to victory, mainly by the virtues of his sidekicks at the time or just blind luck. He’s basically an amalgamation of James Bond and Inspector Clouseau.
The first film in 2003, simply titled Johnny English, co-starred Ben Miller, John Malkovich and Natalie Imbruglia, and managed to take $160 million internationally at the box office, hauling in a substantial profit. The 2011 sequel called Johnny English: Reborn, co-starred Gillian Anderson, Daniel Kaluuya, Rosamund Pike and Dominic West, and took a near identical amount. Now more’s on the way.
Reported by comedy website Chortle, Atkinson has said that he has plans to return for a second Johnny English sequel. They state that pre-production of Johnny English 3 (although it has to be confirmed as to whether this will be the final title) has begun, with shooting of the espionage spoof due to begin later this year.
The comedy actor has previously made very clear he’s fan of Johnny English, stating that he’s “an enjoyable character to play“, so another outing for this bankable franchise is not wholly unexpected or unlikely, especially given Atkinson’s ability to easily return to the character of Bean and other creations of his; Atkinson had said in 2011 that he was too old for Mr. Bean before eventually reprising the role again in Chinese film titled Top Funny Comedian. And with the sequel showing no sign of real decline, it’s sure to be a profitable move.
Producing studio Working Title declined to comment or offer any further information, so apart from the basic facts nothing is known of plot details or casting (beyond Atkinson himself). With the future currently uncertain for super-spies like James Bond and Jason Bourne, and the general positive reaction that comedy capers like Paul Feig’s Spy have received, it might not be a bad time for the espionage genre to get a silly shot in the arm from the Brit comedy actor.
Johnny English 3 is expected to hit cinemas in October 2018.