The Charlie’s Angels franchise has been an icon of badass, empowered women ever since Jaclyn Smith judo flipped a dude in 1976. The story of “three little girls” was resurrected in 2000 with a sequel series featuring new Angels and the hip styles of the new millennium. After a failed 2011 reboot on ABC, the producers are sending the angels back to the big screen with a hot new reboot directed by Elizabeth Banks. Not only that, but reports are going around that Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper), Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther), and Naomi Scott (Power Rangers, Aladdin) have been cast as the titular Angels. If true, the three would become the most diverse Angels in the franchise’s history.
The original program debuted in an era where crime shows were hot, but male. Creators Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts conceived the series to allow both men and women to feel the escapism of the action genre. Original “Angels” Sabrina (Kate Jackson), Jill (hair icon Farrah Fawcett), and Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) would kick, punch, and shoot their way through the crime-ridden streets of San Francisco on the orders of the mysterious “Charlie.”While the cast and location would change many times over five seasons, it always kept the central premise of Charlie and his Angels front and center.
From the get-go, the production seemed more focused on the famously “unrestrained” leads and their often revealing outfits. But as the show went on it began to focus more and more on the crime-fighting (while still placing heavy emphasis on fan service). Despite its eye-candy reputation, the show is still remembered fondly by many and remains an icon of 70’s culture.
Despite the success of Charlie’s Angels, it took nearly 20 years for a film to be made of the series. Rather than a reboot, they instead framed the 2000 film as a continuation. Thanks to the return of original Charlie, John Forsythe, the new trio of girls succeeded rather than replaced the classic lineup. The new Angels, Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu), emulated the originals both in appearance (a blonde, brunette, and redhead) and in action. While it lost none of the fanservice, it aimed more for comedy than its predecessor, with the quips and double entendres, cranked up to 100. It was successful enough to spawn a sequel, Full Throttle, which would end up being John Forsythe’s last role.
The casting of Chinese-American Lucy Liu was a huge deal for the monochromatic Angels franchise, and it helped Liu’s career take off. But the new Angels reboot could take things to a whole new level. Not only would we be getting another Asian Angel in Naomi Scott (Gujarati Indian) but we’d also be getting a black Angel in Lupita Nyong’o (Kenyan-Mexican). Director Elizabeth Banks will also play the first female Bosley, replacing David Boyle, Bill Murray, and Bernie Mac. We might even get a queer Angel if Kristen Stewart signs on(if nothing else, it’s win for openly LGBTQ actors picking up roles in Hollywood).
While Banks’s Power Rangers co-star Scott reportedly has signed on, the other casting choices are yet to be confirmed. The Charlie’s Angels reboot is also being produced by Banks with her husband Max Hadelmen for Sony Pictures. Filming is set to begin in September of this year.