After this year's Deadpool earned widespread critical praise and $782.6 million at the worldwide box office, it became inevitable that a sequel would be in order. Fox quickly gave Deadpool 2 the green light, and for a while the expectation was that it would reunite the core members of the original's creative team: Ryan Reynolds, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and director Tim Miller. However, the project recently hit a snag when Miller stepped down due to creative differences (allegedly over the casting of Cable and/or the scope of the film), creating a giant void that needs to be filled. The studio is on the hunt for a replacement, with John Wick co-helmer David Leitch thought to be the frontrunner.
When all the pieces were in place, the plan was for Deadpool 2 to begin production at the start of 2017. One would think that with no director currently attached, the schedule would be altered, but a report over the weekend suggested that the sequel would start rolling the cameras in January 2017. That caused some to be concerned, since it would allow Miller's successor just two months to prep before filming. Those worried can now breathe a sigh of relief, since the word is Deadpool 2 will be slightly delayed.
The news comes courtesy of Collider, whose sources say that when Miller was in line to direct, principal photography would have commenced in March 2017, as opposed to January. The team was in the early stages of casting new supporting roles such as Cable and Domino shortly before Miller departed, and that process will most likely be pushed back. Since Deadpool 2 does not have a director in place, it would be borderline impossible to complete all that has to be done between now and January (finalizing the script, constructing sets, etc.). Reynolds is going to have to wait a bit before he plays the Merc With a Mouth again.
As disappointing as this may be for fans, it's the better course of action. With the character becoming one of Fox's most popular and marketable, it would be a shame if Deadpool 2 was rushed and ended up being a step down from its predecessor. It's encouraging that they are going to take their time, since it will hopefully allow the new director an opportunity to insert his or her own ideas and put together a behind-the-scenes team they're comfortable with. The studio has yet to give Deadpool 2 an official release date (though January 2018 is widely expected), so it's not like there's pressure to meet a specific deadline. No doubt, the studio wants to strike when the iron is hot and get the followup in theaters sooner rather than later, but it's more important that they make sure everything is of the best quality before moving ahead to the next phase.
In the past, Reese and Wernick have discussed their intentions to keep Deadpool 2 within the same budget range of the first movie ($58 million), so a minor postponement in production shouldn't be too harmful. For what it's worth, Deadpool's principal photography took place over a period of two months in 2015, meaning that even if things are held back until the summer, the sequel will most likely still be on track for that targeted January 2018 premiere. Hopefully a director will come on-board soon and the ball can get rolling once again.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018