For many Deadpool diehards, it’s still hard to believe that a true-to-comics version of the Merc With A Mouth was not only made into a film, but that said film did shockingly well at the box office. What’s more, the studio was so pleased with its performance that they’ve already locked in a date for the sequel, which will feature fan-favorite mutant time-traveler Cable. For those who’ve followed along behind-the-scenes, the years-long gestation of this project is well-known, as are the two key figures involved with making this fantasy a reality: star Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller. The latter was best known as a VFX supervisor before the release of Deadpool, but has since become almost as synonymous with the murderous antihero as Reynolds himself.
With the August 2018 release date of Deadpool 2 fast approaching, many fans and critics alike were shocked with the recent announcement that director Tim Miller would be leaving the project due to creative differences. While the original film’s writers are still on board and Reynolds will of course be returning, the loss of Miller, who was beyond integral to the creation and idiosyncratic tone behind the first film, has left many justifiably worried. While he’ll be hard to replace, Fox hasn’t given any indication that the project is in jeopardy or that the release date will be changing. Fans have rapidly begun speculating as to who could take over for Miller, and thousands have already pledged their support for some guy named Quentin Tarantino.
Assuming life could never possibly be that good, here are 15 Directors For Deadpool 2.
15. Lord and Miller
When considering directors in Hollywood that can seamlessly blend action with comedy, it’s impossible to not immediately think of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Their resume essentially reads like a career-long audition for directing Deadpool, with writing and directing credits for Clone High, the 21 Jump Street franchise, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, and The Lego Movie. When it comes to comedy, they’ve done everything from the absurd and gross to family-friendly fare that adults can enjoy, and the 21 Jump Street films alone show they’ve got a knack for fight scenes and action set pieces. They’re also keenly aware of what it’s like to direct animation, something that’ll be quite helpful for a movie sure to involve a ton of CGI sequences.
With such a perfect track-record, you may be wondering why this directing duo is only our number 15 entry. The short answer: they’re busy as hell. Aside from producing a number of upcoming Lego films and helming a Spider-Man animated feature, they’re also writing DC’s Flash movie and are directing the upcoming Han Solo, er, solo film. Those last two projects alone will be taking up most of their time for the next few years, so barring a huge release date change from Fox, they just won’t have the time to take on Deadpool 2. It doesn’t hurt to dream though, right?
14. Alex Burdett and Shaun Friedberg
There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Alex Burdett or Shaun Friedberg, but you’ve certainly seen their VFX work. Considering that Tim Miller had yet to direct a feature-length film before tackling Deadpool, it seems only fitting that some of his potential replacements come from the same world of special effects that he did.
As a special effects supervisor, Burdett has worked on everything from Tron: Legacy to Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, both effects-heavy action films that continued an ongoing franchise. More importantly, he held the same position for the first Deadpool, meaning he knows all the ins and outs of what it takes to put together a movie starring the Regeneratin’ Degenerate.
Like Burdett, Friedberg also worked on Deadpool’s first solo outing. Friedberg served as the movie’s visual effects director, so he also has the unique skillset that made Tim Miller’s eye so attuned to the needs of a big-budget film about an invincible mutant. Even better, he’s also worked on The Avengers, Batman v Superman, and a number of other tentpole genre films, proving he knows his way around a superhero slugfest.
13. Wendey Stanzler
Like Burdett and Friedberg, Wendey Stanzler is likely well-known by genre fans, not by her name, but by her work. As a television director for over a decade, she’s no stranger to being behind the camera. Once you hone in on her work though, it’s hard to ignore her bonafides for bringing Deadpool and Cable to life.
There’s almost not a superhero show on TV that Stanzler hasn’t had her hand in, from DC’s Gotham, Flash, and Arrow, to Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, her name jumped to the top of many MCU fans’ IMDb search results after she helmed the S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “Paradise Lost”, which saw characters May and Giyera flip and kick their way around an exhilarating fight scene while locked in a square, all-white room. Given the Russos brothers’ somewhat shocking jump from Community to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and beyond, Stanzler is definitely a director to watch.
12. Brad Bird
Despite directing one of the superhero genre’s most beloved films, The Incredibles, Brad Bird might not immediately spring to mind as someone who can handle the violence and bawdiness a Deadpool picture will surely entail. After all, this is the person who helmed kids films like The Iron Giant and Ratatouille. While those flicks certainly prove he can handle comedy and animation, much like Lord and Miller, it was his turn behind the camera for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol that proves he has what it takes to direct Reynolds and company.
While he’s clearly got the chops to handle Deadpool 2’s genre-blending, it’s unknown whether he desires to continue in the big-budget action film vein. Since MI3, he’s only helmed the Disney flop Tomorrowland, and Incredibles 2 looks to be filling up his immediate future. Still, if he found the time and had the inclination, he’d certainly make an interesting addition to the team.
11. Chad Stahelski
Beginning his career as a stuntman, Chad Stahelski eventually moved behind the camera as a second unit director. As the person in charge of filming the stunt scenes for big-budget films, Stahelski has overseen some brutal fights, from Sherlock: A Game Of Shadows and the first two Hunger Games films to this year’s Captain America: Civil War.
In between all the stunt and second unit work, he found the time to make the transition to directing. He stepped behind the camera for the first time in 2014 with the surprise action hit John Wick, which already has a sequel in production for next year. With the film’s mix of inventive action sequences and offbeat comedic moments, couples with his insider know-how when it comes to stunts and fight choreography, Stahleski (pictured above standing to the right of his John Wick co-director, David Leitch) could be an exciting choice. What’s more, with John Wick: Chapter 2’s release set for early next year, he’d presumably be able to begin working on the Deadpool sequel in the very near future.
10. Jemaine Clement
Though mostly known as a comedic actor and one of the co-creators/writers/stars of HBO’s Flight Of The Conchords, Jemaine Clement finally stepped behind the camera last year when he joined Taika Waititi in directing their script for What We Do In The Shadows. While Waititi was mostly known for indie films prior to this year, he’s now well into filming Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel, which all accounts seem to indicate will mix Marvel’s winning formula for action and humor with Waititi’s own sensibilities.
It only makes sense, then, that Waititi’s partner Clement could make a similar transition. What We Do In The Shadows proved what could be done with an inventive premise and some fun and funny action sequences and character interactions, qualities that could only help to elevate Deadpool’s own unique world. While Clement is currently working on a number of spinoffs to the 2014 vampire mockumentary, he looks to have plenty of time open to shoot Deadpool 2 in 2017.
9. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Writing duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are quite familiar with penning humor and action, from cult comedies like Superbad and Pineapple Express, to their and Michel Gondry’s bizarre adaptation of The Green Hornet. Recently, though, the two have started stepping behind the camera. Their first foray into film directing quickly established that they could blend humor with massive, effects-driven action scenes in the celebrity-packed This Is The End. They continued proving their love of comics this year when they brought the comic Preacher to life on AMC, writing and producing the show and directing the first two episodes.
Though The Green Hornet’s failure may have sullied their name when it comes to superhero films, they’ve more than proven they can continue to make critical and commercial hits with their work since then. Adding in the fact that Rogen and Goldberg are notorious comic book fans, it’s a safe bet that they’d work well with Reynolds and the rest of the crew for Deadpool 2.
8. Kevin Tancharoen
Beginning his career as a choreographer for some of the biggest names in pop music, Kevin Tancharoen also shared a lifelong passion for film. He first made a splash as a director when he dropped a low-budget, fan-made short called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth that reimagined the video-game-turned-movie into a gritty, reality-based action thriller. It proved such a hit that he was officially commissioned to create the Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries, which further proved how well his dance choreography skills translated to directing fight sequences.
Since then, he’s become one of the go-to directors for superhero TV shows, tackling Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and some of the most memorable episodes of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. While his work typically doesn’t involve a lot of comedy, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick will likely make sure there’s plenty of that in Deadpool 2. When it comes to action, however, look no further than the stunning May-versus-May battle from Season 2 of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. if you need proof of how well Tancharoen can direct a fight scene.
7. Lexi Alexander
Lexi Alexander first made a name for herself as the director of the British football flick Green Street Hooligans before going on to helm the bloodiest Frank Castle film to date, 2008’s Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson. From there, she crossed over to the TV side, helming action-packed episodes of Supergirl and Arrow, thus continuing her love affair with comic book properties.
While her resume isn’t an overwhelming one, the work she’s done has endeared her with superhero fans and made her one of the most buzzed about female action directors in a genre all too saturated by men. Her work features her own unique stamp, and War Zone proved that she can blend brutal violence with a bit of humor, something she’ll certainly be able to bring to the Deadpool sequel. On top of that, her schedule of mostly TV episodes means she’s wide-open to make her return to filmmaking.
6. Shane Black
Shane Black has more than proven he can tackle grounded action with plenty of laughs thrown in, whether it’s in the Lethal Weapon franchise he had a hand in shaping with his writing, or modern noirs like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys that he’s both written and directed. He’s well-known for writing realistic characters who don’t always act like your typical heroic protagonist, but have lots of heart and fun as they’re busting heads and getting into trouble.
His most noteworthy bonafide for heading up Deadpool 2, however, comes in the form of his script and direction for Iron Man 3. Though not as revered as the first Iron Man, the threequel still proved that Black’s signature comedic action could be translated to big-budget superheroes. One of the key examples — and a continuing thread of quiet moments being punctuated by explosions that populate his films — comes when Mandarin’s pre-imminent attack on Tony Stark’s Malibu home is shown on TV while he and Pepper argue in the house, before transitioning to them noticing the incoming helicopters outside just in time for missiles to rain down upon them mid-squabble. With a firm grasp on weaving irreverence and violence into coherent and highly enjoyable scenes, Black could bring something truly special to Wade Wilson’s world.
5. George Miller
Australian filmmaker George Miller has had a long and interesting career. Not only has he written and directed all four Mad Max films, including 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, he’s also written and directed a number of kids movies, including both Happy Feet flicks and the first two Babe movies. While those family-friendly films at least prove he can work with CGI and comedy, the Mad Max franchise alone speaks to his qualifications for helming an idiosyncratic action film.
On top of all of that, he’s no stranger to comic book films stuck in development hell. Long before Zack Snyder began assembling the DCEU’s Justice League, Warner Bros. charged Miller with creating the first live-action film version of the supergroup. Though it was gestating during Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Miller and WB were planning on choosing a whole new Batman, and eventually cast him along with Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the gang. Sadly, the film never saw the light of day, though Miller has opened up a bit about what his Justice League: Mortal may have looked like. It’s safe to say that the movie universe owes Miller another shot at helming a superhero film, for his sake and ours.
4. Ruben Fleischer
Ruben Fleischer’s directing credits for comedies like Tubbin’ With Tash and Between Two Ferns, action films like Gangster Squad, and combos like 30 Minutes Or Less, are all enough to show that he more than has what it takes to head up the new Deadpool film. But there’s one single project that absolutely proves he’s more than suited for the job: Zombieland.
Released in 2009 and quickly becoming a cult hit, Zombieland now sits up there with Deadpool’s first solo film as one of the best examples of blending irreverent humor with gruesome violence, thanks in no small part to writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. That’s right, Fleischer and the Deadpool writing duo have already shown us that they can produce stellar results when they work together, and Fleischer was on the top of many people’s list to direct the first film when it was announced that Reese and Wernick had written a script for it, hot off the success of Zombieland. Though a sequel for that film is currently in pre-production, there’s still plenty of time for Fleischer to take on Deadpool 2.
3. Edgar Wright
It almost seems unnecessary to list Edgar Wright’s credits, as anyone reading about potential Deadpool 2 directors is likely quite familiar with the auteur’s oeuvre. Nevertheless, it bears pointing out just how perfect this man would be for the job. The Cornetto Trilogy of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End should be enough to showcase how perfectly Wright can mix comedy and action of a variety of styles. His genre qualifications run even deeper though when you bring Scott Pilgrim vs. The World into the conversation. That film only further highlighted how brilliant he can be at not only juggling CGI-heavy fight scenes and side-splitting humor, but that he can handle comic book adaptations and superheroes as well.
The case grows even stronger based on his years of developing the Ant-Man film which he eventually exited due to creative differences with Marvel. While that experience may mean he’s not as keen on venturing into the woods of another tentpole franchise with a reportedly meddlesome studio, it does prove how dedicated he is to bringing superheroes to life. What’s more, the smaller budget and freedom that Fox has given the Deadpool franchise might just be exactly what Wright needs to merge his onerous style with that of an existing IPO, as he did with Scott Pilgrim.
2. Matthew Vaughn
While Edgar Wright may be hesitant about wading back into the superhero waters, Matthew Vaughn practically lives there. His writing and directing credits include the soft reboot of the X-Universe with X-Men: First Class, as well as a plethora of film adaptations of comics, including Stardust, Kick-Ass, and 2014’s surprise action/comedy hit Kingsman: The Secret Service, which has a sequel in production right now. The last two especially showcase Vaughn’s knack for pairing bone-crunching fight scenes with crude humor, all while sending up various comic and film tropes. Or, you know, the exact qualities that made Deadpool so special when it debuted earlier this year.
First Class showed he can take the reigns after a disastrous X-Men film let fans down, and his deep knowledge of action, comedy, and comics make him uniquely suited to take over the Deadpool franchise. There may be few other directors as qualified to handle the precious creature that is a Deadpool film, and given Vaughn’s existing relationship with Fox, it’s safe to assume he’s on their shortlist of replacement directors. If he’s not too busy with the Kingsman sequel, in fact, he should probably be their first call.
1. Ryan Reynolds
It’s only fitting that a list that began with a dark horse candidate ends with one, so our top choice for the director of Deadpool 2 just has to be Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds.
While Reynolds has the least directorial experience out of anyone on this list (read: none), he did serve as the producer for Deadpool, along with a few other small projects over the years. He’s also acted in over 60 projects, meaning he’s not unfamiliar with how the industry and the craft work. Though a big superhero film may not be the best place for one to cut their teeth on directing, Reynolds has served a unique position within the evolution of this project. He not only starred in and produced the film, but he was pivotal in bringing it to life and shaping its existence. With all of his experience and his deep connection to the character and franchise, Reynolds could serve as a fascinating choice to helm Deadpool 2 now that Tim Miller has exited the project.
Honorable Mention: Gavin Hood
While the unmitigated disaster that was 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine has besmirched Gavin Hood’s name for many Marvel fans, there would be a sort of poetic beauty to him directing a beloved version of Deadpool. Fox has become notorious for meddling in their superhero projects, so it’s safe to assume that the movie’s terrible treatment of its many mutant characters was not completely Hood’s fault. While he’s yet to match the heights of his acclaimed 2005 film Tsotsi, he proved that he could handle the upgrade to big-budget superhero effects films (Wolverine jumping on a helicopter, anyone?), and with returning writers Reese and Wernick ensuring the script is solid and Reynolds making sure Fox lets the creators do their thing, it’s possible that Hood could finally be redeemed.
On the other hand, there’s a reason he’s our Honorable Mention. While it’d be a fun twist in the continuing saga of Deadpool At The Movies, Hood hasn’t really given us any indication that he could handle the unique blend of comedy and action that’s required to successfully pull off the oddity of a film that Deadpool 2 is likely to be. Luckily, our top 15 choices are more than qualified.
What do you think of our choices for Deadpool 2 directors? Anyone you think we missed that would be perfect to head up the film? Let us know in the comments!