By now, you’ve probably heard that there are a number of highly-bankable intellectual properties (Avengers, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, James Bond, Terminator – keep in mind, that’s not even the entire iceberg) scheduled to have new installments in theaters during 2015; a handful of original properties – released within the past couple years – are going to be “franchised” next year as well.

With regard to the latter category, the list of entries arriving in 2015 include the followup to Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper dramedy, Magic Mike 2, as well as the (quasi-) jukebox musical sequel Pitch Perfect 2 – and, should things come together sooner than later, the sequel to lucrative magician action/thriller, Now You See Me. Summit’s plans to make Now You See Me 2 – as we shall call it until an official title is announced – came to light last year.

A September 2014 production start date has been reported for Now You See Me 2, meaning it’s quite possible that a 2015 date lies in its future. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s the situation of the director to address – as Now You See Me helmer Louis Leterrier is preoccupied at the moment, gearing up to shoot the Sacha Baron Cohen spy comedy, Grimsby (for a Summer 2015 launch date) – and thus, won’t be available to call the shots on the Now You See Me sequel, assuming it keeps to the September start date.

The Wrap is reporting that “multiple individuals familiar with the sequel” have informed the site that Jon M. Chu is the current front-runner to direct Now You See Me 2 (Variety, likewise, is confirming that talks between Summit and Chu are underway).

Chu is fresh off directing the Jem and the Holograms live-action movie and, until further notice, remains attached to direct G.I. Joe 3; should he reach a deal for the Now You See Me followup, however, it’s possible that the next G.I. Joe installment will be made available for another filmmaker to pick up (as happened back in 2013, when Chu stepped away from the Masters of the Universe live-action movie reboot).

Chu’s previous film work – the list includes two Step Up movies, a pair of Justin Bieber documentaries, and the G.I. Joe sequel – is, admittedly, not exactly what most people would call inspiring; that said, he is capable of not just putting together movies that are well-shined, but doing so at a relatively quick pace. That might be all that Summit is looking for in a director on the Now You See Me sequel – someone who can efficiently craft a handsome-looking film.

Dwayne Johnson and Jon M. Chu working on ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’

The strongest part of Now You See Me, arguably, was not so much the direction as it was the charismatic main cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Melanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco), as well as the film’s cast-and-mouse narrative – one that contained hints at a deeper mythology just begging to be explored in greater depth in the sequel. So far, it look as though all of those players should be available to work on Now You See Me 2, by the time it’s ready to start shooting.

We’re still waiting to find out whether or not the writers on the first movie – Edward Ricourt, Ed Solomon, and Boaz Yakin – are also working on Now You See Me 2; all the sequel really needs, though, is one writer who can figure out a clever way to expand on that eyebrow-raising second-to-last sequence in the first installment. So long as we have that, then Now You See Me 2 could still turn out to be another fun, polished, popcorn-munching thrill ride.

We’ll keep you posted on development for Now You See Me 2.

Source: The Wrap, Variety