Update: While THR confirms that Leitch is at the top of Fox’s list and has already met with Reynolds, the trade adds that Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) and Magnus Martens (Marvel’s Luke Cage) are also on the studio’s meeting list.]
Well that didn’t take long. It was just last week that director Tim Miller made a surprising exit from Deadpool 2 over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds, but it looks like 20th Century Fox is wasting no time in finding his replacement. The sequel is a top priority for the studio given that the modest-budgeted, R-rated superhero film grossed a whopping $782.6 million worldwide earlier this year, surpassing any and all expectations. Work was already underway on the sequel before the first movie came out, with the creative team of Miller, Reynolds, and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick intact, but the project faced a major setback last week when Miller left the director’s chair.
Now, however, Mashable is reporting that Fox has its eye on John Wick co-director David Leitch to take over as the director of Deadpool 2. This is a pick that makes a lot of sense. As neat as it would have been to see someone like Edgar Wright direct a superhero movie, it didn’t seem likely that Wright—who spends years developing his scripts until they’re pitch perfect—would jump aboard a moving train with a pre-existing script and a desire from the studio to get the movie out ASAP. Leitch, on the other hand, is an up-and-comer who’s proven adept at handling action and sly comedy, and who doesn’t write his own scripts.
Mashable notes that several other directors remain in the mix, but that Leitch’s name is at the very top. He got his start as a stunt performer, working his way up to stunt coordinator on films like V for Vendetta and TRON: Legacy while also serving as a second unit director on a number of films ranging from The Wolverine and Anchorman 2 to Jurassic World and Captain America: Civil War. Leitch and fellow stunt coordinator/second unit director Chad Stahelski made their feature directorial debut with the Keanu Reeves actioner John Wick, announcing themselves as talents to watch behind the camera with the simply plotted, action-heavy thrill ride.
While Leitch was originally set to return to co-direct John Wick 2, he eventually departed that project to focus on his own directorial effort, the Charlize Theron spy thriller The Coldest City, so he already has experience directing solo. Moreover, he has prior experience with Reynolds having served as an action coordinator on X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
So yeah, while there’s no official announcement just yet, Leitch is a pick that’s both exciting and makes a lot of sense. Deadpool was Miller’s directorial debut after a career in VFX, so it didn’t seem likely that Fox would spring for a huge name director like Wright or Matthew Vaughn for this follow-up—especially if they wanted the film to remain in the scrappy spirit of the first movie and start shooting in the first half of 2017. If Leitch does sign on, we can be certain that from an action standpoint at least, Deadpool 2 will be a treat.
The sequel doesn’t currently have a release date, but Fox is moving full speed ahead on this thing as casting is already underway for the role of Domino. We should hear more on the director front soon.
What do you think, folks? Would you be happy with Leitch as the director of Deadpool 2 or did you favor someone else? Sound off in the comments below.