Taken turned seasoned dramatic actor Liam Neeson into an action star practically over night, and he even returned to the franchise for two more installments. And though Neeson remains open to idea of Taken 4 (assuming it happens within the next two years), the Taken franchise appears to have something else in mind — a Taken prequel television series.
NBC has already given a straight-to-series order for Taken, which Luc Besson will executive produce along with Homeland‘s Alexander Cary. The prequel series has also tapped Alex Graves (Game of Thrones) to direct the pilot. And now, we’ve learned that Vikings actor Clive Standen has been cast as the younger version of the role Neeson played across all three films.
Standen has been a major character on Vikings throughout its run, playing the treacherous Rollo, a fearsome warrior and brother of viking leader, Ragnar Lothbrok. Of course, with news of Standen being cast as the lead in the NBC drama, questions have undoubtedly arisen as to whether or not this teases the fate of his character on the just-begun fourth season of History’s bloody Norse epic. After all, given the situation Rollo finds himself at the end of the season 4 premiere, it would seem prudent for Standen to be making plans for the future.
However, according to Deadline‘s sources, the series is expected to be picked up for season 5 soon, and that there are no plans for Standen’s character to be killed off. Furthermore, it was not only reported that Standen will begin filming Taken after he’s finished filming Vikings’ double-sized season 4, it was also suggested the actor would return as a guest star for Vikings season 5. None of this is confirmed at the moment, of course, but it does seem to suggest that Rollo will still be a factor (in some form or another) by the time this current season comes to an end later this year.
While this casting news could mean a shake-up for Vikings, it indicates production on the Taken series is picking up steam. Standen is obviously well-versed in filming action scenes, and surely his work on Vikings proves he’s capable of handling Bryan Mills’ particular set of skills. What may prove more difficult, though, is being able to effectively embody a role that Neeson made into a pop culture icon (or at least, a quotable gag). Taken 3 may have been the worst-reviewed of the series, but it still made $300 million, so there’s still an audience for Taken films starring Neeson.
That also means Standen has his worked cut out for him if he’s going to make the role his own. Regardless of the fact the Taken television series is a prequel and therefore following a younger Mills, Standon will certainly be compared to and scrutinized against Neeson’s portrayal.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on any information related to the Taken television series.