Shaft movie stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher and Richard Roundtree are suited up in leather and ready for old school action in a new first look image from Ride Along director Tim Story's reboot. Roundtree of course originated the character of John Shaft in 1971's Shaft, a seminal film of the "blaxploitation" genre. The cult hit was later followed by a pair of sequels, Shaft's Big Score! and Shaft in Africa.
Jackson would then take up the Shaft legacy in a 2000 remake directed by John Singleton and co-starring Vanessa Williams, Christian Bale and Jeffrey Wright, and featuring an appearance by Roundtree. Jackson's take on Shaft would prove to be a major hit, grossing over $100 million at the box office, but strangely no sequels were immediately put into production. Now, Shaft is set to return again with a third generation arriving in the form of Jessie T. Usher's John Shaft III.
Fans received their first glimpse of Jackson, Usher and Roundtree as three generations of John Shafts in a social media post last February. Now, Warner Bros. has given EW an official first glimpse of the characters together with co-star Alexandra Shipp. All four characters are of course decked out in their best black leather garb - it wouldn't be a Shaft movie without black leather - and appear to be in the middle of some kind of confrontation. See the image below:
Speaking to EW, star Jackson talked about how his character has changed since his last appearance in 2000's reboot, saying his John Shaft has mellowed somewhat but "is still an extremely dangerous and funny character." As for the newly arrived John Shaft III, who carries on the family's detective legacy with a modern day spin by becoming a cyber-security expert, Jackson says his on-screen son is like the other Shafts, a "tough but fair, well-dressed cynical guy with the right one-liner."
It seems that cross-generational dynamic will be central to the new Shaft, but this time around things will be even more complicated with three generations of John Shafts sharing the screen. It remains to be seen how Usher will fit into that dynamic and carry on the cool legacy established by Roundtree in the original movies, and built upon by Jackson in the 2000 remake. Interestingly, Warner Bros. has made a switch with the title, dropping the originally reported Son of Shaft and going with the much simpler and more straight-forward Shaft. The rebooted Shaft is set to hit theaters on June 14th, 2019.