It came as a major shock when Tim Miller exited Deadpool 2 over creative differences with Ryan Reynolds. With production set to begin this spring in order to meet a January 2018 release date, Fox had no time to waste finding a replacement director. The studio landed on David Leitch. Not only does Leitch have the action chops required to take on a superhero film a la John Wick and also Captain America: Civil War for which he served as a co-director on the film’s second unit, he also has experience working directly in the X-Men franchise at Fox as an action coordinator on X-Men Origins: Wolverine as well as directing the second unit on The Wolverine.
While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Reynolds opened up about Leitch coming on board to helm the sequel to what is the highest grossing Rated-R film of all time:
“Everbody was just a fan of his work. He’s just a guy who’s so muscular with his action. He also really understands those Deadpool sensibilities and where we need to take the franchise from here. And I love John Wick. One of the things that David Leitch does that very few filmmakers can do these days is they can make a movie on an ultra tight minimal budget look like it was shot for 10-15 times what it cost.”
Deadpool didn’t just have comedy and action, it had style. Which is exactly what Leitch brings to the table. Not only that, with Leitch in the mix, the sequel has the potential to be a more thrilling follow-up to the merc with a mouth’s first outing. But the big question with Deadpool 2, after the first feature grossed truckloads of cash, winning over the executives at Fox, was whether or not the sequel would get a bigger budget.
In the same interview, Producer Simon Kinberg told EW that in order to hold on to the magic of the first film, the sequel needs to not go the route of other franchise blockbusters and up the ante but rather stay small and true to the original flick:
“The goal for us when we sat down and started talking about it was it needs to be as provocative and startling as the first film which means it can’t just be a continuation of the first film. It has tonally and stylistically be as fresh and original. That’s a big challenge especially because they had 10 years to gestate on the first movie and we don’t have that kind of time on the second movie. That’s the biggest mandate going into on the second film: to not make it bigger. We have to resist the temptation to make it bigger in scale and scope, which is normally what you do when you have a surprise hit movie. But actually stay true to the tenets of it’s the tone and the style and the humor that make it so special — it’s not the explosions and the special effects.”
Kinberg’s words are refreshing. Deadpool 2 could have easily become just another comic book movie with Deadpool trying to stop some epic disaster but instead, it will go against that grain. One of the most impressive things about the first film was how incredible the film managed to look with an estimated budget of $58 million. With Miller out, Deadpool 2 needed a director who could achieve that same scale while still keeping it small and intimate and that’s exactly why Reynolds said Leitch was chosen to direct the film:
“Everybody was just a fan of his work. He’s just a guy who’s so muscular with his action. He also really understands those Deadpool sensibilities and where we need to take the franchise from here. And I love John Wick. One of the things that David Leitch does that very few filmmakers can do these days is they can make a movie on an ultra tight minimal budget look like it was shot for 10-15 times what it cost.”
Deadpool 2 is set to hit theaters on January 12, 2018. But Fox isn’t stopping there. The studio is already developing a third feature with so that if the franchise goes as planned, Deadpool will be joined by the X-Force team in Deadpool 3.