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The Gray Man Ending Explained: How The Movie Sets Up The Future For Ryan Gosling’s Court Gentry

Ryan Gosling's Court Gentry with cut on his head in The Gray Man
(Image credit: Netflix)

Warning: we’re about to spoil The Gray Man ending as much as this movie trashed its various action settings. So if you don’t want to know too much, you’ve been warned. 

Finishing an action-adventure spectacle like The Gray Man might leave its audience trying to catch their breath. The latest in the library of original Netflix movies, Anthony and Joe Russo’s massive spy thriller, adapted from author Mark Greaney’s book of the same name, packs a lot of action into its running time. Simultaneously, the tracks to the future are laid pretty effectively, as Ryan Gosling protagonist Court Gentry has been mixing it up with his enemies for 11 books, with a 12th on the way. 

The future for Gosling’s character, and the rest of The Gray Man cast, is shadowy at the moment, but there are some threads that The Gray Man ending puts into play that set things up. If you haven’t watched the movie yet and want to go in cold, this is the point of no return. Should you want to know more about the movie without spoilers, read our official review of The Gray Man. Otherwise, let the madness begin, starting with what happened at the end of Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans’ insane confrontation.  

Chris Evans and Jessica Henwick stand together, watching a mission intently, in The Gray Man.

(Image credit: Paul Abell/Netflix)

What Happens At The End Of The Gray Man?

Never let it be said that The Gray Man doesn’t know how to use a setting. Pitting Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling) and Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans) against each other in front of an ornate French fountain was quite the choice for the film’s final fight. However, after all of the snarky one-liners, gun play, knife play, and fisticuffs, it wasn’t Court that took out Lloyd in the end.

Former ally Suzanne Brewer (Jessica Henwick) was the person who pulled the final trigger on the psychopathic contractor, whom she was overseeing in the quest to silence Court Gentry. Leaving Court alive, but still pretty badly wounded, Suzanne makes a deal: he and Claire Fitzroy (Julia Butters) get to live. However, there are two conditions: Court goes back to prison, and the niece of his late mentor, Donald (Billy Bob Thornton), is placed under CIA lock and key. 

One could say it’s a small price to pay for backing Suzanne’s story that Lloyd Hansen was behind every single screwup we saw in The Gray Man. However, it’s a price that’s soon voided out. Court Gentry escapes prison, and busts Claire Fitzroy out of her own metaphorical birdcage. The pals escape in an imposing pickup truck, going on the run from those who would do them harm.

Julia Butters and Ryan Gosling sit at a table, having a conversation in The Gray Man.

(Image credit: Paul Abell/Netflix)

The Threads The Gray Man Leaves Open For A Potential Sequel

The first clear thread that The Gray Man leaves open is the fact that Court Gentry and Claire Fitzroy are on the run. As both know what really happened throughout this entire CIA shit show, they’re pretty much public enemies #1 and #2. Or at least, that would be the official viewpoint of the two parties that have the most to lose from this mess. 

Not only does Suzanne Brewer’s career rest on keeping these events under wraps, but so does that of Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page), CIA center chief. You could say that The Gray Man’s events were his fault, right from square one; and we’ll get into why in a moment. But for now, there’s one more ally to Court Gentry who’s currently tied up in this bureaucratic web of secrecy. 

Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas) reluctantly joined Court’s quest to expose a CIA program that’s at the heart of the madness that Denny Carmichael has created. She’s so useful that in the final act, Dani does some heavy damage on the enemy stronghold with what seems like an unlimited amount of rockets. Unfortunately, she now has to back the official story that Suzanne and Denny have cooked up, otherwise she, Court, and Claire's existence could be considered collateral damage. 

Regé-Jean Page sits with a concerned look in The Gray Man.

(Image credit: Paul Abell/Netflix)

Operation Matador: The Reason Court Gentry Is Hunted Down, Explained

Why is the CIA so obsessed with taking out Court Gentry, and anyone else who’s on his side? Well, it all tracks back to the first op we see the man also known as “Sierra Six” taking part in. As The Gray Man opened in Bangkok, Court is sent to take out “a very bad dude” that turns out to be “Sierra Four” (Callan Mulvey). Handing off a microchip with some sensitive information to “take the bastard down,” Court is now officially read into Operation Matador. 

The Sierra Program was the brainchild of Donald Fitzroy and former CIA director Margaret Cahill (Alfre Woodard). Recruiting convicts in prison and training them “to kill bad guys,” as Donald Fitzroy so eloquently put it, The Gray Man’s title comes from the fact that these people were considered gray in existence and in ethics. In exchange for commuting their sentences, the Sierra agents were basically on-call hitmen for the U.S. clandestine services.

It all leads to the mess that The Gray Man sees its characters at the heart of, as the ambitious Denny Carmichael gets both Fitzroy and Cahill out of CIA leadership. One of his pet projects once he’s installed as the new boss is, naturally, wiping out the Sierra Program. Operation Matador is his effort to do just that, which involves turning the Sierra agents against each other, by sending them out to kill very bad dudes. Those dudes just happen to be their brethren, upon secretive orders to clean up a program that, in Carmichael’s eyes, has outlived its usefulness. 

Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen in The Gray Man

(Image credit: Netflix)

Could We See Chris Evans’ Lloyd Hansen Return In Sequels?

You’ll notice that we’ve barely mentioned Chris Evans’ Lloyd Hansen, the Gray Man villain critics can’t stop talking about, in our examination of this ending. Which also leaves everyone wondering about the answer to an unexpected question: did Lloyd really die, and could Evans return for some of those Gray Man sequels? Well, there’s a pretty definitive answer to that question, and it comes from the Russo Brothers themselves. 

While being interviewed by our own Eric Eisenberg, Joe and Anthony Russo were both asked about whether there was a version that saw Chris Evans walk away from The Gray Man’s field of battle alive. As their Marvel Studios background gave them experience in impossible survival, that’s a fair question to ask. However, as The Russos told CinemaBlend, you shouldn’t be expecting Lloyd Hansen back any time soon, and for the following reasons: 

Anthony Russo: I mean, he was so entertaining when we were shooting the movie, Evans, that we're like, ah, can we kill this character?

Joe Russo: It seemed, yeah…we struggled over that for a long, long time…Seemed too, it just, again, like, we, we used to always say this with the Marvel work, you know, there has to be stakes, you know what I'm saying? If you don't, if there isn't a sense of loss on the audience's part, when you get to the end of the movie, everything was free and easy. I think in the spirit of like, you can't have everything, you know, we sort of had to commit to that.

Anthony: So in the same way, our intention was to, you know, put to rest forever you know, Black Widow and Iron Man, Lloyd is you know, he's in the graveyard of fictional characters.

Joe: He burned bright.

So there you have it, folks: Lloyd Hansen has run up the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. While The Gray Man series has plenty of adventure in store for Court Gentry, it seems that Lloyd played his hand too heavily, and suffered the consequences. Speaking of which, there are plenty of consequences to go around in this universe, but all of that naturally depends on how well this first Sierra Six adventure does with the crowd.

To that effect, if you want to revisit The Gray Man (opens in new tab), or if you somehow read through this ending rundown without seeing the movie, it’s OK. Netflix subscribers can now stream that film, or if you feel up for a trip to the movies, it’s still showing in limited theatrical release. If you’re hungry for more knowledge, our last offering is this rundown of what we knew about The Gray Man, prior to actually seeing the film.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.