Warning: minor SPOILERS for The Equalizer 3 are ahead!
While the first two Equalizer movies saw Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall primarily taking down bad guys in the United States, The Equalizer 3, one of the more recently 2023 new movie releases, takes place in Italy. The movie kicks off with Robert carrying out a mission in Sicily, and then he retires to a nearby coastal town while recovering from injuries. While there, he builds a friendly rapport with its inhabitants, including Gaia Scoldellaro’s Aminah. As it turns out though, The Equalizer 3 director Antoine Fuqua revealed an idea for those two to form a deeper relationship, but an early audience thought this was a “betrayal,” and honestly, I’m glad it was left out of the final product.
Robert and Aminah, a waitress at one of the town’s cafés, certainly grow close during their time together in The Equalizer 3, which included sharing an evening stroll. However, these two stop short of getting romantic with one another, but that wasn’t originally the plan. As Fuqua informed NME:
There was more [to Robert and Aminah’s relationship in the script], but the audience didn’t want to see Robert McCall in love… We did a test screening and they really felt like it was a betrayal of the wife, you know, so we decided to pull that back.
Robert McCall’s wife, Vivienne, died prior to the events of the The Equalizer, but prior to her passing, he promised that he would retire from as a DIA operative, and carried that out by faking his own death. While he technically never broke that promise, he nonetheless found himself using his violent set of skills to protect innocent people who crossed his path in various locations. He even befriended a few along the way, but nothing in the way of romance ever developed for Robert during the first two Equalizer movies.
Had The Equalizer 3 come together as originally planned, we would have seen a hint of Robert and Aminah’s relationship grow into something bigger, but once it was clear that test audience wasn’t into even a slight hint of this happening, Antonine Fuqua and his team decided to remove this element from the movie. The filmmaker explained:
[In the film] he was trying to move forward with his life and, you know, flirt a little bit. He was taken aback by the girl Aminah. Nothing aggressive or anything, he was a bit reluctant. But we pulled back on these scenes where he would sit and think about his wife… I think the audience that loves Robert McCall and that ideal of his wife, you know, is perfection ‘cos we never met her. So there’s something about a person who’s gone, who was perfect.
While I’m not against the idea of someone finding love again after their previous partner has passed away, in Robert McCall’s case, I’m glad that he and Aminah didn’t become romantically involved. Like Fuqua noted, there’s an idea of perfection surrounding Vivienne, and Robert’s heart will always belong to his late wife. That’s not to say he can’t form friendly attachments to other women, but anything beyond that would have felt too weird. This is one of those cases where opinions from a test audience guided a movie in a better direction.
In addition to The Equalizer 3 earning fairly positive critical reception, Denzel Washington’s latest movie also got off to a strong start at the box office. However, as of this writing, it’s made $133 million worldwide, which is a far cry from the $192.3 million and $190.4 million its two predecessors respectively pulled in. Still, considering that Antoine Fuqua sees The Equalizer 3 as “the end” of this film series, all things considered, he and his team managed to bring this action saga to an effective conclusion.
The Equalizer 3 is still playing in theaters, and we’ll let you know when it’s released on home media and finds a streaming home. Until then, see what we’ve picked as the best action movies of all time.