Over the weekend, it was reported that Tim Miller, who directed Deadpool, would not be returning for the sequel, supposedly over a casting dispute with Ryan Reynolds. A new report from The Wrap says that the rift went deeper than that. And it makes Miller leaving sound like the best possible outcome.
The initial story, also from the Wrap, said that Miller’s leaving had to do with the director wanting a much more stylized action sequel, while Reynolds wanted to stick to the humor-based tone of the first one. A lot of the humor, remember, covered a very small budget. According the reports released over the weekend, the final straw had to do with the casting of Kyle Chandler as Cable. Reynolds objected and won the fight with the studio. But lost the director.
This latest story says that it wasn’t just Reynolds and Miller fighting each other with occasional studio refereeing. Arrayed against Miller were Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Those three all saw a sequel that stayed close to the formula of the first, and—probably crucially in the studio execs’ heads—stayed relatively inexpensive.
Insiders told The Wrap that Miller wanted to do a more “stylized” version that would have needed three times the first film’s $58 million budget. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why a studio would back Reynolds, Reese, and Wernick over Miller here. The former three are promising to basically do what made the studio a ton of money for very little investment again. Miller was asking for a lot more money to try something new.
Miller leaving is a loss. His direction did bring a visual style to a script that mostly relied on jokes—and not plot—for its charm. And it was his effects company that made the test footage that finally got the movie made. However, it’s also not a surprise that Reynolds would want a contract that gave him a lot of control over the character, given how much he loves Deadpool and how much he didn’t like how he was asked to play him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Miller wasn’t going to win this fight, and it’s probably best. The Wrap saying that Miller wanted a movie that “would compete with mega-budget superhero movies” kind of sounds like he wanted a much more traditional summer action tentpole movie than the first one was. And trying to fit Deadpool 2 into that mold sounds like a mistake.
Deadpool 2 doesn’t even have a release date yet, so fingers crossed this is the biggest hurdle it faces.