I know what you’re thinking: WTF Happened to The Avengers? Nothing, it was one of the biggest hits of all time. Not so fast – we’re not talking about the Marvel superhero team that shot the MCU into the stratosphere. Instead, we’re talking about 1998’s misbegotten remake of the classic British spy series, The Avengers.
On paper, this should have been a great movie. The Avengers was a classic British television series starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg as super spy agents John Steed and Emma Peel. Their “will they or won’t they” chemistry influenced everything from Cheers to Moonlighting, and the show still runs daily in the UK. Considering the show was always considered the best Eurospy franchise outside of James Bond, it should have become a massive franchise for Warner Bros. The cast was next-level, with Uma Thurman playing Emma Peel, Ralph Fiennes as John Steed and James Bond himself, Sean Connery, as the main villain, Sir August de Wynter. So what went wrong? Almost everything that we will dig into in this section WTF happened to this movie.
First, the finished version of the film clocked in at 89 minutes, about half an hour shorter than intended. Director Jeremiah Chechik found himself saddled with a finished film that made no sense. Given the issues with the cut, instead of being a summer blockbuster, it was dumped into the same late summer dumping ground we find ourselves in right now (there’s a reason nothing really opens until after Labor Day). So dig in and check out this tale of the spy series that wasn’t.