As Greta Gerwig’s Barbie approaches the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, fans and industry executives alike are chattering about a potential sequel. Normally, franchises like Marvel and Star Wars require actors and directors to commit to a certain number of movies, but as the first in a new Mattel series, Gerwig and stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling did the impossible: they avoided a contract tying them down to a franchise.
Gerwig was reportedly approached about making a Barbie sequel months ago, but her team pushed back the negotiations until after the movie’s premiere. Now, with the writers strike and actors strike in the full swing, there’s no telling when said negotiations would take place. When they do, however, it’s clear that Barbie’s status as a phenomenon and certified money maker will affect offers toward the director.
The same goes for Robbie, who somehow made us root for a capitalism-glorifying, unhealthy beauty standards-pushing doll (if you agree with Ariana Greenblatt’s Sasha) when she journeyed to the real world and discovered that patriarchy does, in fact, still exist. The face of Stereotypical Barbie also produced the movie via her production company LuckyChap, and without a contract in place, she could choose to return to Barbie Land as only a producer, if at all.
Though Gosling recently said he’d work with Gerwig and Robbie on anything, he isn’t exactly known for starring in big franchises. After all, the guy worked on pretty serious indie films even after The Notebook turned him into a Hollywood heartthrob. Plus, his caveat that Gerwig and Robbie would have to return to the IP as well cements the fact that the writer-director and producer are responsible for making Barbie sharp, self-aware, funny, and heartwarming, and not simply an advertisement for a product.
Could it be possible that the modern film industry would let a successful film stand on its own without bastardizing it into a series of increasingly generic sequels? Only time will tell. Until then, check out our feature on Gerwig, the driving force behind the movie’s success.