While Deadpool 2 hit a bit of a hiccup a few months ago when director Tim Miller—who helmed the first film to a whopping $782 million worldwide box office—dropped out over creative differences with Ryan Reynolds, it appears things are now back on track. Recently, John Wick co-director David Leitch was hired to take the helm of the follow-up, and development now continues with an eye towards starting production in the first half of 2017.
But what you won’t see with Deadpool 2 is the “bigger = better” motto that dictates so many Hollywood sequels. Speaking with EW, producer Simon Kinberg explained that in fact, Deadpool 2 aims to maintain the exact scale of the first film:
“The goal for us when we sat down and started talking about it was it needs to be as provocative and startling as the first film which means it can’t just be a continuation of the first film. It has tonally and stylistically be as fresh and original. That’s a big challenge especially because they had 10 years to gestate on the first movie and we don’t have that kind of time on the second movie. That’s the biggest mandate going into on the second film: to not make it bigger. We have to resist the temptation to make it bigger in scale and scope, which is normally what you do when you have a surprise hit movie. But actually stay true to the tenets of it’s the tone and the style and the humor that make it so special — it’s not the explosions and the special effects.”
That’s actually a bit surprising. Deadpool was made on a budget of around $58 million, which is less than half the budget of most superhero movies. Indeed, due to the R-rating and provocative lead character, 20th Century Fox wasn’t willing to risk too much dough on this particular comics adaptation, so the budget had to remain relatively low. As a result, Deadpool as a film felt much smaller in scale than most other superhero movies, stretching out one set piece over the course of half the film in order to get more bang for their buck.
So coming off the huge success of Deadpool, one imagines Fox would up the budget of Deadpool 2 considerably. But that’s not what the creative team is interested in doing, and going as far back as the week before the release of Deadpool, screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese were talking about how any potential sequel would likely still be around the same scale as the first film.
Which is what led to the hiring of Leitch. In the same interview with EW, Reynolds explained that Leitch’s work on John Wick proved he knows how to make a cinematic movie on a lower budget:
“Everybody was just a fan of his work. He’s just a guy who’s so muscular with his action. He also really understands those Deadpool sensibilities and where we need to take the franchise from here. And I love John Wick. One of the things that David Leitch does that very few filmmakers can do these days is they can make a movie on an ultra tight minimal budget look like it was shot for 10-15 times what it cost.”
So yeah, if you’re expecting Deadpool 2 to greatly expand the world of the Merc with the Mouth and introduce some world-ending event or giant portal opening up in the sky, think again.