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The character of John Shaft has been around since 1971's Blaxploitation film, Shaft. Since then, there have been a total of three films and a TV series following the badass crime fighters with the surname Shaft. Next year's semi-reboot of the franchise will continue the legacy of the Shaft family, with Jessie T. Usher taking on the role of John Shaft III, the son of Samuel L. Jackson's John Shaft II. So it seems only appropriate that before they appear on screen in Son of Shaft, we get to see all three generations of Shaft actors together looking cooler than Bullitt. Take a look:
These Shaft cats are bad mother... seriously, it's pretty cool to see all three generations of Shaft actors together here and, of course, rocking the character's signature color. Especially considering that beyond just this photo, we will be together seeing them together in the film as a multi-generational crime fighting family. This photo lets us know that the new Shaft movie is finally filming and these effortlessly cool characters will grace cinema screens soon. To add more icing to the cake of honoring the past, this photo comes from the official Isaac Hayes memorial Twitter account, and his son, Isaac Hayes III is in the photo along with the original Shaft Richard Roundtree, Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie T. Usher. Isaac Hayes won an Oscar for Best Original Song for the 1971, film and it looks like his son will be involved in the new film as well.
What's cool about this semi-reboot, and something that I think is exemplified in this photo, is that the film is seeking to honor the past while moving the franchise forward. Too often reboots scrap everything and start fresh just to capitalize on name-recognition while losing the identity of what came before. By having the original Shaft, his nephew and his great-nephew all be part of a crime-fighting family opens the story up to some interesting family dynamics.
Next years's semi-reboot, titled Son of Shaft, will be continuing the legacy of the Shaft family, but adding in some elements that weren't really a part of the original films. The '70s films and the 2000 continuation of the franchise were action crime films, but this new film will add much more comedy into the mix and go for more of an action-comedy vibe. One of the creators of Black-ish, Kenya Barris, is writing the film, so it should be funny, but there are may be those who feel that Shaft is not supposed to be a comedy, and that such a tone would betray who the character is and what he represents. It's impossible to say how this shift in tone might impact the movie until we see it, but hopefully with three generations of Shaft on board, it will still feel like Shaft.
Son of Shaft is directed by Tim Story and is currently scheduled to hit theaters on June 14, 2019.