An oddly eventful weekend has seen the sad death of revered Preacher co-creator Steve Dillon, the impending purchase of Time Warner by AT&T and – perhaps most immediately concerning to comic book movie fans – the surprise departure of director Tim Miller from Deadpool 2. Miller reportedly left the production over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds regarding the casting of perennial fan-favorite mutant character Cable.
Despite being actively involved in the pre-production of Deadpool 2 (currently being written by the original’s screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick), Miller was evidently not officially signed on as that film’s director. Miller supposedly has left the production over a disagreement with Reynolds, who did not want Miller’s favored actor Kyle Chandler (Bloodline, Friday Night Lights) as Deadpool’s frequent comic book partner Cable.
The move has left plenty of fans perplexed, and even has a high-profile Marvel-related director weighing in on the matter. Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn, who tweeted the following:
Gunn may be the first of such Marvel-centric filmmakers to express their regret over Miller’s departure from Deadpool 2, but he probably won’t be the last. Gunn’s show of support is reminiscent of the outcry over Edgar Wright leaving Marvel’s Ant-Man (see Joss Whedon’s famous tribute). At the time, Gunn also expounded on that creative break-up, essentially saying that it might have been the right thing to do for all parties involved.
In the case of Deadpool, Fox had an untested feature director who was nonetheless an experienced visual effects producer and whose leaked CGI proof-of-concept reel led to an overwhelmingly positive fan reaction. The studio took the gamble and wound up netting over $750 million worldwide and the sequel underway from day one – additionally, the positive reaction from fans and critics made this type of irreverent, tongue-firmly-in-cheek approach a viable option for the genre (for better or worse).
While it’s become common practice to have the director of a successful initial movie like this stay on for a sequel (Bryan Singer/X-Men: Apocalypse, J.J. Abrams/Star Trek Into Darkness, Joss Whedon/Age of Ultron), there is no way to tell at this point how Miller’s departure will affect Deadpool 2‘s quality. The split was apparently friendly on all fronts, with Miller having another picture set up at Fox.
Still, dedicated fans of the mouthy Merc will be following the search for a new director closely, with the open spot on such a hot property likely to prove a coveted gig. Given Deadpool’s vocal fans, their response to any touted helmer names may prove unusually influential. Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.