Tim Miller's Vision for Deadpool 2
If the rumors are right, Tim Miller's vision for Deadpool 2 was essentially of a summer blockbuster - a film that eschewed the style and tone of the first in favor of spectacle and grandeur. The Wrap explicitly claimed that Miller was pushing for a budget three times that of the first movie. Surprisingly, though, there's actually substantial evidence that Miller had a very different vision.
In the wake of the first Deadpool's success, Miller had done the rounds discussing what to expect from the sequel. He did so against a backdrop of intense discussion over just why the first film had worked, with some positing that it was the film's R-rating, and others arguing it was a uniquely irreverent superhero comedy. To Miller, the reason the film succeeded was because "it had a lot of heart... a lot of humor [and] a main character that's different than anything else that was out there." When Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn joined the online conversation to make a similar point, Miller quoted him approvingly.
In an interview with Collider, Miller put his point even more cuttingly:
"What you don’t want to do is all the stupid stuff like ‘Oh, now it has to be twice as big because people are going to be bored!’ or ‘It’s going to have three times the villains!’"
The Wrap could well have been right, though, that Miller was pushing for a bigger budget. The first Deadpool was hit by budget cuts late in the day, with writer Rhett Reese telling io9 that they had to cut $7-8 million out of the script in a 48-hour window. That caused major changes, with key action sequences slimmed down. Breaking the fourth wall, Deadpool even acknowledges these issues in the film. "It's funny that I only ever see two of you," he quipped at Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. "It's almost like the studio couldn't afford another X-Man." That remark was actually seriously pointed; the studio had continually pushed back Miller's requests for specific X-Men characters.
These budget cuts particularly affected the villain's role; writer Paul Wernick told Cinema Blend that Ajax originally worked for a scientist mastermind, Dr. Killbrew. Budget cuts forced the script to combine Killbrew and Ajax, turning the main villain into what Wernick called "the Swiss Army Knife of villains." In his interview with Collider, Miller cited Ajax as one of the things he felt didn't work in the first film, something he wished he'd been able to improve on.
Given this context, it's hardly inconceivable that Miller wanted a bigger budget for the sequel.
Aspects of The Wrap's reports were disputed straightaway, most notably by Collider's Steven Weintraub, who claimed to be in the know. "I'm not going to say much about the Deadpool 2 drama," he tweeted, "but Miller did not want a sequel that would cost 3 times as much. That's bull$#!@." Miller himself remained quiet for a while, before issuing a statement in December 2016 in which he insisted the rumors were entirely false.
"I just want to say one thing to the geek audience out there, because it’s important to me what the geeks and nerds of the world think because they are my brothers and sisters. I didn’t want to make some stylized movie that was 3 times the budget. If you read the internet — who cares, really? But for those of you who do, I wanted to make the same kind of movie that we made before because I think that’s the right movie to make for the character. So don’t believe what you read on the internet."
Miller even singled out The Wrap's claim that he was in favor of casting Chandler for Cable, and rejected it outright. "All this stuff that I read kind of kills me," he observed sorrowfully. As regards the disagreements during post-production, Miller claimed they were hardly unusual. "The movie was a joy to make," he insisted.
More recent interviews, however, have suggested that Miller wanted to adjust the sequel's style a little. He's referred to leaving Deadpool 2 with "a sense of relief" because he's now able to get to do something new, as opposed to simply repeating a successful formula. "I think it would’ve been a great movie," Miller noted, "but it was also going to be a continuation of what we had done." These quotes do imply that Miller hoped to make a film that was subtly different to the original Deadpool in some way, and that he left after realizing those ambitions would be frustrated. At the same time, though, the difference almost certainly wasn't on the scale suggested by The Wrap.
There are probably some kernels of truth in among all the rumors. For all that's the case, though, it really doesn't look as though Miller was intending to turn Deadpool 2 into a blockbuster with three times the budget. There clearly was sort of "creative conflict," but its exact nature remains a mystery. Miller, for his part, seems content to have moved on, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter wished the sequel all the best.
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