Deadpool was a surprise smash hit at the box office earlier this year, taking in $782 million worldwide in theaters against a $58 million budget and earning generally great reviews, to boot. 20th Century Fox didn’t take long to officially green-light Deadpool 2 thereafter, bringing the main players who helped to make The Merc With a Mouth’s first solo movie – including, star Ryan Reynolds, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and director Tim Miller – back onboard to get the sequel up and off the ground.
The project has since hit a snag, with Miller having stepped down as director, reportedly over artistic differences with Reynolds (who has greater creative control on the sequel) about the approach to take on Deadpool 2. It’s since been expected that Fox would be quick to find a replacement for Miller, what with several actresses currently testing for the role of Domino. The latter X-Men comic book character, along with her fellow new addition Cable and Wade Wilson himself, is going to be a key player in the next Deadpool film (as the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off-inspired Deadpool post-credits scene teased).
An official replacement for Miller has yet to be found, but seasoned movie news “scooper” Jeff Sneider (working for Mashable) is reporting that David Leitch – the co-director of John Wick – is the frontrunner to step in as the director on Deadpool 2. Fox is said to be considering other replacement helmsmen too, but according to Sneider’s sources “by most accounts, 20th Century Fox has found its man.”
It’s being reported that Miller and Reynolds had very different visions for what Deadpool 2 should be – with Miller favoring a bigger-budgeted and more “stylized” take, but Reynolds wanting to stick with the more rough around the edges, mid-range budget feel and R-Rated design of the first Deadpool (an approach that Reese and Wernick have also said they want for Deadpool 2). It’s easy to see how the co-director of the equally “scrappy”, but thrilling, R-Rated action movie that is John Wick would be considered a good match for that job description. That Leitch belongs to the same agency as Reynolds, the WME (as noted by Mashable), only further works in favor of him landing the Deadpool 2 director position.
Leitch has an established track record of working on the X-Men franchise too, having served as the stunt coordinator on X-Men Origins: Wolverine (the first movie in which Reynolds played Wade Wilson) and as the second unit director on The Wolverine. He has recently branched out into movie solo directing too, having called the shots (alone) on the espionage thriller The Coldest City, starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy. Leitch is loosely attached to direct a few other projects at the moment – but with filming on Deadpool 2 still expected to begin by the first half of 2017, the Merc With a Mouth’s sequel would come next for Leitch, should he indeed sign on to direct.