Denzel Washington has done a lot of different things in his long career in Hollywood. However, one thing he's never done until now is make a sequel. The Equalizer 2, which opens Friday, is the first time Washington has gone back and revisited a role he'd played before. One might think he has an issue with the idea of sequels, like maybe he thinks they're not creative enough endeavors, but the truth is that the reason he's never made a sequel before is that he never gets asked. According to Washington...
I haven't been asked. The only time I've been asked was for Safe House, but that didn't make sense because my character had died, so they were talking about a prequel. And I was asked for Inside Man. But this one just made sense.
Even before we lived in the world of cinematic universes Hollywood loved a good sequel and everybody loves Denzel Washington so it seems odd that these two things have never come together before. However, if you look at Washington's biggest hit films, the ones where you would expect sequels to be considered, you notice that making a sequel story work would be difficult. Movies like Ridley Scott's American Gangster, his highest grossing domestic film to date, or Book of Eli, don't exactly have obvious ways to make sequels work. Which may explain why the actor tells Variety he just doesn't get asked to make sequels.
Denzel Washington does mention two films where the topic at least came up. Safe House is Washington's second highest grossing film in his career and it seems there was talk of making a prequel film at one time, as a sequel was out of the question. Also, by saying that making a sequel to The Equalizer "just made sense" he's implying that a sequel to Inside Man ultimately did not, even though it apparently was discussed at some point.
It is still surprising that a guy who has been acting since the early 80s made it this far without becoming part of a movie sequel. It may have something to do with the way he chooses movies, not to avoid sequels, but simply that the projects that interest him don't lend themselves to the idea. His previous attempts at more traditional action hero roles, which certainly could have led to sequels, haven't always worked as well as they might when it comes to box office success.
However, The Equalizer was an exception and therefore, it absolutely made sense that a sequel was in the cards. If the sequel does as well, perhaps Denzel Washington will become part of another Hollywood staple that he's never been involved in, the trilogy.