The Old Guard was a superhero movie that actually mattered, unlike most. It had a heart, it had great world building. It really was a fun ride.
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Have I mentioned that I hate superhero movies? Oh. Sorry, yeah, I have. Like a lot. But I do. Passionately. And usually it is because the characters are treated like immortals made of concrete, and with about as many emotions. But there are some superhero movies I’ve done backflips for. The first one that comes to mind is the recent Invisible Man – headlined by the ever amazing Elizabeth Moss. Joker, of course. But Chronicle is the movie I always look at when I think about superhero movies done right. It’s a low budget, sleeper of a film, with maybe a greenscreen and some duct tape to its name. The Old Guard on the other hand, is decidedly big budget, but where this particular excels is in world building, and characters that actually matter. Oh, and did I mention it has Charlize Theron? So it’s really really a fantastic little movie – with great characters – and I found myself caring about these superheroes. So maybe we should explain who was at the ending of Netflix’s The Old Guard. Definitely. But first, have you seen it? Check it out right here.
If you haven’t seen The Old Guard yet, you need to move along. I’m about to do a quick walk through of this film, so that we can unpack the ending, and understand what actually happened. So yeah, lots of spoilers about to happen right here. I mean, the spoilers are literally the point of this post… we want to understand that ending and post credit scene dangit!
The Old Guard Walkthrough
The first thing you have to know about The Old Guard is that it is a film version of a 2017 comic book franchise. It’s so new, and so hot, that the second installation isn’t even completely out yet. (Which become important, trust me.) Old Guard screenwriter Greg Rucka has gone so far as to imply that the ending of The Old Guard actually sets up a much wider and expanded universe – Old Guard 2 if you will. You just need to know what you are looking at as it happens. The Old Guard 2?! Woot! I’m all in now!
Differences Between the Comic & Movie
Andy loses her powers in the movie – she doesn’t lose them in the comic book (The director Gina Prince-Bythewood believed that stakes wouldn’t be high enough to keep audience attention otherwise.)
Andy’s friend’s name Quynh, is changed from the books (played by Vietnamese actress Van Veronica Go). Her name in the comics is Noriko.
Noriko/Quynh’s sea abandonment happens differently as well. In the comic, Noriko is washed overboard during a big storm. But in the movie Quynh is sent to the bottom of the sea in an iron maiden after a trial for witchcraft. (Greg Rucka – the comic and screenplay author – has said that this was specifically financial.)
And the book hints at a relationship between Noriko and Andy.
Nile is also a much much smaller character in the book, but the movie turns Nile into a coming of age story for the newly immortal character.
And Booker? In the comic book he died in Napoleon’s attack on Russia, not in battle, but at the hands of his own men when he tried to desert. Which, aligns better with the film once we see what Booker does to Andy.
But seeing as though Rucka went from the author of the comic book to the author of The Old Guard screenplay, things stayed pretty close to his original vision – budgets and a few backstories notwithstanding.
The Old Guard Movie Rules
Now I guess it would be good if we discuss the rules and the universe of The Old Guard. It would appear, that there would happen to be, living among us, a few random individuals who cannot die. I mean, I guess their bodies can die, but they can’t stay dead. Their hearts regenerate, they spontaneously restart, and their wounds quickly heal. Sort of a team of vampires – without the pointy teeth and the aversion to sunlight. Also, it should be said, that in their thousands of years of history the team has seen a lot. They’ve seen new members come, and several members die – yes, that’s right. It would seem that eventually, all good things come to an end. And Andy, played by Charlize Theron tells of old friends, and loves, who lost their immortality, and died in her arms. So we know that it can end, but one thing we don’t really grok is how it starts. Maybe it adds a new member as older members are losing their powers? We don’t know. But we know that the number of individuals that are awakened to these near-eternal powers are very few.
The Old Guard Overview
The movie opens with the gang getting back together – apparently Copley (played by the inspired Chiwetel Ejiofor) has reconnected with them to ask them to do another job. This time, a dozen or so young African girls have been taken hostage, and will soon disappear into the ether if the team doesn’t do something. Andy, who says the team doesn’t do repeat jobs with people as it opens them up to too many risks and questions, agrees to help the girls out. But when they find that there are no girls, and that the entire thing was a trap in order to capture the team and study them by a company, and evil genius, named Merrick (played by Harry Melling).
About this time, with the team running for their lives, they all sense that a new member has been created. They all sense her, and Andy decides that she is going to go find her. She sends the rest of the team on to Europe to hunt down Copley and find out what happened in Africa. Andy quickly finds Nile, who is none too pleased about her newfound powers. After some convincing, Andy and Nile meet up with the gang in France as they continue looking for Copley. This is the bit where Nile learns about Quynh, and how she was tossed overboard in an iron maiden centuries ago, and who has been living a perpetual torment of death and drowning over and over again. And they also tell Nile that her powers are not eternal – that eventually they will stop regenerating her – and they share a story about a member of their team named Lykon, who Andy watched die after their powers just stopped working.
Moments later, the team and the church are ransacked as Joe and Nicky are taken hostage. Andy and Nile find Booker profoundly wounded, but the trio decide they need to go get their two friends back. Andy failed in getting Quynh once before…she’s not going to fail again. But it’s in the middle of a recent battle that Andy has learned that she doesn’t have her immortality anymore. Nile eventually decides she’s doing her own thing, and leaves Andy and Booker to go after Copley. But when she finds that Andy’s gun was empty, that it was all a trap laid by Booker who has obviously ratted the entire team out somehow.
Booker shoots Andy, and it is then that he finds out she isn’t immortal anymore. Moments later – the gang is back together again at the Merrick torture, I mean, scientific labs. And obviously, Joe, Nicky, and Andy are all incredibly upset with Booker, seeing as though they will be tortured from now to the end of eternity in order for the world to share in their secrets. Which, is where Nile comes back into the picture…after talking to Copley, convincing him what he has done is wrong, and seeing all the good that Andy has done throughout the ages, he decides to help Nile get into the Merrick offices as Nile heads in to save her newfound friends. See? Coming of age story. I might have shed a tear.
Nile heads into the Merrick offices alone, and storms the building, freeing the foursome. They battle their way, all the way up to Merrick himself, and Nile dives out a window after slamming into Merrick, and taking him on a ride for his life. Or ride for his death, as the case may be.
Now, as the movie wraps up – Andy and the gang decide that Booker’s punishment will be a hundred year exile. That they’ll return back to this pub in a hundred year’s time. Andy and Booker share a sad goodbye mainly because he assumes that Andy will be dead in a year’s time. And Copley, he’ll play a part in the group by vetting new jobs for them, and sweeping their tracks as they go.
Explain Who Was at the Ending of Netflix’s The Old Guard
Or not. And this is the part that might have a few of you a wee bit confused. A few months later, Booker, drunk, and falling over himself, stumbles into his apartment. When he looks up, he sees a woman standing there, who says: “It’s nice to finally meet you Booker.” Who is that? And what is going on?
The short answer is, that that is Quynh. She has returned from the bottom of the ocean. How do we know? Well, first off, her choice of beverages while under gunpoint.
Water. Can you imagine a more terrorizing threat to Booker than Quynh pouring herself a glass of water? The woman who has been perpetually drowning for 500 years? Let’s just put it this way – Quynh is pissed and she’s back for some revenge…and Booker is unfortunate in that he is the first of the Old Guard to meet her. Which basically means that we have got to get a sequel to The Old Guard. (The Old Guard: the drowning??) When Charlize was asked about it, here’s what she had to say:
“We went into this talking about [a sequel] as a possibility, and it’s definitely something that excites us.”
Personally, gotta agree. Definitely is an intriguing idea to think about where a sequel could go. So, did we explain who was at the ending of Netflix’s The Old Guard? Hopefully you are in the loop, and can now fully appreciate where this new franchise might be going!
Final Thoughts on The Old Guard
Here at THiNC. I highlight screenwriters more than anyone else in the craft because of the enormous difference that they can make to a story. Take for example the decision that Greg Rucka made in conjunction with Prince-Bythewood. Their decision to make Andromache of Cynthia mortal again took the stakes and put them way up high again. A single bullet could be her undoing. But moments ago? It didn’t matter. And all because of one little decision to change up the comic book.
Personally? I would love to see a Marvel story where all the supers have lost their powers. Who would hide in a basement? Who would still go out to change the world for good? It would take the stakes and amp them all the way up to eleven. Now THAT is a story worth a $19 theater ticket. That would be something I’d buy into. But as it stands, I refuse to watch Marvel movies solely because they don’t matter. It’s just fake WWE stakes that are all theater and posturing. Anyway, hopefully some of you found the answer you were looking for in the question – who the heck was that at the end of The Old Guard movie? Now we all know that it was Quynh, or Noriko if you prefer!
Love to know what you guys thought of the movie. Did you like the movie half as much as I did? More? I’d love to hear in the comments.
Edited by: CY
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