The Accountant 2 Could Look to a True Story for Its Plot

By  · Published on October 17th, 2016

Gavin O’Connor already has a basic idea for the sequel.

There are literally trained accountants who will decide in the end whether or not The Accountant is a true financial success. We on the outside can only speculate and spin, and at the moment the movie appears to be a modest hit, coming in at the top of the box office on its opening weekend and overshooting expectations by $10m for a $25m domestic debut.

That makes the movie, which stars Ben Affleck as an autistic accountant who sometimes goes on vengeance-driven killing sprees, the third-best bow for an original live-action feature this year (behind Central Intelligence and Don’t Breathe). And if we don’t take inflation into consideration, The Accountant looks like a career best opening for Affleck for an original movie.

If Warner Bros. deems it a real winner, this could be his shot at another franchise in addition to playing Batman in the DC Extended Universe. He couldn’t make it happen as Jack Ryan or Daredevil, but maybe Christian Wolff is sequel material. He’s basically Affleck’s Jason Bourne, but he’s also reminiscent of recent action heroes Jack Reacher and “The Equalizer.”

There is already unofficial talk of The Accountant 2 in interviews promoting the first movie. Director Gavin O’Connor, who has also been spreading hope of a Warrior sequel of late, told Cinema Blend he’d love to do another original story with Affleck as Wolff, and he even has an idea in mind for what the sequel might involve:

In the second one, if we’re ever fortunate to do it, I keep having this idea of a “Catcher in the Rye” kind of thing. He’s surrounded by children, dealing with slavery and these kids that are sex slaves and things like that… If there’s a way to deal with that subject matter and him saving children, that’s something I’d be really interested in doing.

It’s unclear what the connection between Catcher in the Rye and child sex slaves is exactly, but otherwise that subject matter sounds good for this property. There are sure to be some difficult accounting measures involved in the illegal smuggling of human beings. Maybe it’ll be like Season 2 of The Wire since everyone always loves a good action sequence at a shipyard.

But the plot could also have some sort of real-life source. Human trafficking cases are often associated with money laundering (see one big case that just broke this month). Bills have been introduced to Congress in the last couple years to set up an IRS task force targeting sex traffickers via tax law charges, such as fraud. Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department has also been finding other ways of going after tax-evading criminals including traffickers.

The Accountant 2 definitely needs a true story for its basis, one that can be brought up directly in dialogue the way the Crazy Eddie scandal both inspired and is referenced in the first movie. That one is such a specific and infamous story – it’s up there with Enron in literally major textbook comprehensive analyses for auditors (as is the story of ZZZZ Best, another sure influence on The Accountant, given that Affleck’s character’s business is named ZZZ Accounting) – it’s probably actually too well-known to have been copied by the otherwise intelligent villains of the movie.

Even if it’s a minor fault for the first movie, to remain consistent the sequel might as well go with something slightly familiar. The thing is, The Accountant would be more acceptable for employing that particular scheme if it wasn’t mentioned and instead played it Law & Order headline-lifting style. The Accountant 2 could therefore leave out the blunt allusion.

That gives us the foundation for the sequel, but what about the furnishings? There are a lot of elements to The Accountant that could easily be carried over or left behind. Anna Kendrick is not needed, though some of us like her as a little sidekick – not that she had that role in the first movie, but we expected her to – just so long as there’s no more love-interest attempt there.

J.K. Simmons is retiring, so they can save their money there, and I have conflicted feelings about his and Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s subplot being continued. On the one hand, Addai-Robinson is great and her character and storyline could be improved and the involvement of a government agency is valuable to the premise in theory. It just doesn’t work at all in the first film.

And finally there’s Jon Bernthal’s character, who of course is revealed (not like it’s not obvious from the beginning) to be Chris Wolff’s little brother. What part could he possibly play in the sequel? He probably should have died in the end just so we don’t have to worry about how he’d figure into the plot now. Is he an ally? Does he turn out to coincidentally be involved in the sex trafficking organization and again accidentally Chris’s archenemy?

That might actually be kind of amusing in a way that fans of the first movie would appreciate. Critical reception overall has not been good for The Accountant, but many positive reviews recognize the movie for what it is: fine fluff, enjoyable in spite of all its flaws. The Accountant 2 shouldn’t go all out silly but it shouldn’t try to be any more perfect or serious, either.

Watch Ben Affleck’s Embarrassing Directorial Debut from 1993

Of course, there’s no certainty we’ll ever get The Accountant 2. And if we do get a sequel, maybe O’Connor won’t even be involved or have a say with what the story is about. Plus he does have that Warrior sequel on his mind. However, The Accountant is by far his bigger hit (his biggest in fact) and likely much more desirable as franchise material.

Especially if someday an inter-studio “jobs” cinematic universe can be formed with The Accountant, The Mechanic, The Transporter, and the grandaddy of them all, The Professional.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.