There are spoilers ahead for the best movie of the year, Ocean’s 8. And yes, it is the best movie of the year, you can quote me on that.
Early on in the movie, we learn that Mr. Danny Ocean — the mastermind behind many, many cons over the past decade — is dead. We actually learn that in the trailer for the movie, so this is not technically a spoiler, stop yelling about it. His sister, Debbie (perfectly played by Sandra Bullock) has just been released from jail and makes her way to where Danny is buried. Or, maybe buried. Debbie isn’t sure. She sits down in front of his grave and quips, “You better be in there.”
Following that brief brother-sister moment, Debbie sets off oh her own con and completely forgets about her brother. Honestly, I did, too. The movie might still carry the Ocean’s mantle with it, but Danny & Co. are not needed to pull off one of the biggest heists New York has ever seen. Yes, a few members of the OG Ocean’s crew do show up (and a few others…don’t), and while they’re fun, they’re not necessary. Neither is a cameo from George Clooney, who easily could have reprised his role by showing up at the very end to congratulate his sister and maybe swindle her too, since it runs in the family.
But Danny doesn’t show up. Danny Ocean is nowhere to be seen, and that is a very good thing.
While, sure, seeing Danny Ocean pop up at some point throughout the course of Debbie’s heist would have been fun, that’s not the point of the movie. Ocean’s 8 isn’t about a bunch of boys reliving the good old days back when they used to rob Terry Benedict. No, this movie is about a bunch of ladies stealing stuff — not because they’re trying to “get” anyone or take anyone down, but because that’s what they’re good at. They are damn good criminals. They’re good at hacking, and stealing, and forgery and they’re SO GOOD AT IT they only need eight people to pull off their job, not 11-13.
And yes, this means they don’t need Danny Ocean.
This is very much something screenwriters Gary Ross (who also directed the movie) and Olivia Milch discussed. Should Danny Ocean appear? And eventually they settled on…no.
“Yeah, that was definitely a conversation [we had], and there’s so much legacy, of course not only in the Ocean’s [movies] but even the Rat Pack, and I we felt really honored to be in that family, just like Debbie Ocean is a member of the Ocean family,” Milch explained to HelloGiggles over the phone. And while the idea to have Danny show up was certainly a great one, the bigger scope of the movie was more important. “[The movie is] something all it’s own. We were listening to what we wanted to see, and that ultimately [not having Danny appear was] the truth of this movie.”
Also, who really wants to throw a giant party with all their friends — like Sarah Paulson, Cate Blanchette, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Awkwafina, and Helena Bonham Carter — and then have their brother crash it? That doesn’t sound like a fun time.
“I think we realized that these women were who we wanted to spend time with, it was their team that we were most excited about, and their plan and how intricate it was. Everything was going to happen the way they needed it to and the revelations and surprises,” Milch continued. “There’s so many different parts to the story, when you’re writing there’s a lot of things that you’re excited about and think about and ideas you have. And different versions of that kind of play out. I think there’s some wonderful familiar faces [from the original Ocean’s movies], and then there’s a lot of this great team that you get to spend time with.”
So when it’s time for Ocean’s 9 (because I assume there is going to be an Ocean’s 9 and 10, to bring us full circle back to Ocean’s 11, and this is a joke I made to Milch who slyly replied, “I mean, huh, that’s so interesting. I don’t know, that’s so curious.”) maybe Danny will show up. Or maybe he can’t come to this con anymore, because he really is dead. Honestly, it doesn’t matter either way because he had his time in the sun to steal a bunch of shit, and now his time is over. It’s the ladies who are here to inherit the heist.