Angel Has Fallen, the third installment in the series, lands in theaters Aug. 23. And with it comes a promise that the stakes have never been higher for its hero, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). And that's a pretty difficult claim to fulfill, considering he's already saved President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) from at least two major threats on his life, each more deadly and world-threatening than the last. So what possible threat could Agent Banning be saving the president from this time around, and how does Angel Has Fallen connect to its predecessors?
So, after being trapped in the White House with the president after a North Korean terrorist attack (Olympus Has Fallen, 2013) and yet another plot that resulted in the assassinations of multiple world leaders (London Has Fallen, 2016), Angel once again places a president in the crosshairs, only instead of focusing solely on the threats to his life as in the previous films, Angel looks to upend the format by putting Banning in that role. He's framed for an assassination attempt on the president, and subsequently arrested for it, despite his innocence. The trailer presents it all as a pretty Bourne-slash-Mission: Impossible-esque case of "man evades capture from authorities," with a side of "while also on a mission to discover who the true culprits are." To do all of that, he'll have to turn to some unlikely sources for help, namely his reclusive, survivalist father, played by Nick Nolte.
In Angel, Eckhart will not be reprising his role, so President Asher is no longer in the picture. Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) now serves as president, after previously serving as the Speaker of the House in Olympus and vice president in London. Freeman and Butler are, therefore, the only real continuity threads through the entire trilogy, as they're the only actors to appear in all three films — barring any surprise reveals in Angel, of course.
This isn't to say that certain characters aren't making a return, of course. Butler and Freeman are indeed the only actors confirmed as returning, but it's worth noting that the trailer features a very distraught Piper Perabo, worried about Banning's latest predicament.
That's because, per Collider, Perabo is playing Banning's wife, Leah, a role formerly occupied by Radha Mitchell in the previous two films. Showbiz Cheatsheet further reports that Mitchell's absence from Angel Has Fallen was simply due to scheduling conflicts, according to the movie's director, Ric Roman Waugh.
If this is the last film in this particular series, it'll be interesting to see how and if Angel tries to wrap up the Banning saga. Will he succeed in stopping the assassins yet again? Or will he fail this time? What does all of this constant action mean for Banning, who was planning to retire at the beginning of the second film but decides not to by the end of it? Who's actually behind these assassination attempts, and why do they want to frame Banning for them? Interestingly enough, the only obvious connection to all of these attempts on the American president's life is Banning himself (and, in the entire trilogy's continuity, Trumbull as well). They're the only ones who, by the time of Angel's release, have been present for every major threat.
It's difficult to imagine where the franchise can go from here. They have, after all, had major terrorist plots result in the deaths of multiple world leaders in various countries, and there's really only so many times you can rehash that plot. Then again, other franchises have started from more humble beginnings and are now finding out themselves that the sky might not actually be the limit. Looking at you, Fast and Furious.