Deadpool 2 Director Explains Why He Isn’t Returning for Deadpool 3

Deadpool 2 was not only the highest-grossing film in Fox’s X-Men universe when it was released in 2018, but it’s also the most successful movie in the directing career of David Leitch. The former stuntman made his directorial debut, albeit uncredited, alongside Chad Stahelski in John Wick, and Leitch has gone on to make such films as Atomic Blonde and Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw. While all of Leitch’s films have been financial hits, none have reached the level of Deadpool 2, which earned $786 million from audiences around the globe.

With a third Deadpool film in development, it would make sense to have the director of the biggest film in the franchise so far come back to close out the trilogy. However, Leitch recently told Uproxx that his increasingly busy schedule is what prevented him from teaming back up with Ryan Reynolds:

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“We had conversations about Deadpool 3, but I had things in the pipeline. And it was never, ‘Hey, do you want to do it nor not want to do it?’ or whatever. I think it was more we knew our dance cards were kind of full on both sides. And we have a window. And Marvel has calendars.”

Despite being part of a few different successful franchises, Leitch so far has never directed a sequel to any of his films. While he says he wouldn’t mind continuing any of the stories he’s previously told, his focus is primarily on pursing other projects like Bullet Train and The Fall Guy:

“I love all of those worlds, and they’re all precious to me. Starting with John Wick. Chad [Stahelski] has taken over that franchise and executed it beautifully. And Deadpool is amazing. And Atomic Blonde, I would love to go back. When I look back, I would love to go back to those worlds, but I think the way it’s worked out for me, or fate has brought me to this place, is that I get new opportunities and they’re really awesome, interesting as well. Now moving on and doing The Fall Guy with [Ryan] Gosling, we’re prepping now.”

Leitch’s latest directorial effort is Bullet Train, featuring an all-star cast including Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Michael Shannon. As previously mentioned, his next project is set to be The Fall Guy, a reimagining of a 1980s stuntman turned bounty hunter TV series that’s set to star Ryan Gosling. Leitch has become one of the finest action directors in Hollywood over the last decade, and it seems like that will continue to be his focus for the foreseeable future.

Marvel is Turning to Shawn Levy to Bring Deadpool Into the MCU

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While Leitch won’t be returning for Deadpool 3, Marvel certainly made an exciting choice for the director who’s going to be bringing the Merc with a Mouth into the MCU. Shawn Levy will be collaborating with Ryan Reynolds for a third time in Deadpool 3, continuing a successful partnership that has included such films as Free Guy and The Adam Project. Free Guy was a surprise hit during the pandemic-affected summer of 2021, grossing $323 million worldwide at a time when many theaters around the globe were closed. While the success of The Adam Project is a little harder to gauge given it was a Netflix original film, initial reports when it was released said it was the fourth most-viewed Netflix film of all time in its first 28 days of release. Both the financial numbers of Free Guy and the streaming numbers of The Adam Project bode well for what the duo of Levy and Reynolds can accomplish with Deadpool 3.

Updates on the development of Deadpool 3 have been few and far between, but Kevin Feige recently shared his vision for the film. The MCU figurehead is hoping to “elevate” the third Deadpool film in a similar way to other third entries in such Marvel franchises as Captain America and Thor. While Deadpool 3 was left out of Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con Panel, next month’s D23 presentation may finally reveal some information on when fans can expect to see Deadpool officially enter the MCU.