This weekend brought the unfortunate news that director Tim Miller will not be returning to helm the second Deadpool movie. As it turns out, he and star Ryan Reynolds weren’t as simpatico as we thought. Although the split was amicable, Miller and Reynolds clashed over the film’s tone, and the casting of Cable. Now the search is on for a new director, and Fox finds themselves in a difficult, but not entirely negative place. Deadpool was a massive hit, and now that the seat is open, some more prominent directors might smell the blood in the water. However, I hope that Fox goes with somebody who’s still a bit of an up and comer. Somebody with more experience than Miller, but who hasn’t made the step up to blockbusters.
With that, here are my five (somewhat realistic) choices.
5. Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, The Grey)
An easy was to classify Joe Carnahan is ‘Michael Bay with a Brain.’ Sure, he has chops for gritty, brutal action scenes, but it’s his writing that makes him stand out. Smokin’ Aces was full of colorful, comic book-y characters (one of which was played by Ryan Reynolds). The A-Team had some wonderful camaraderie and massive action scenes with a perfectly calculated amount of cheese. Stretch (which you can find on Netflix) is something of a lost masterpiece, telling one of the oddest ‘all in one-night’ stories in quite some time. However, his chops aren’t limited to punchily written action movies. The Grey is a haunting meditation on death with one of Liam Neeson’s best performances. His snarky writing would fit Deadpool like a glove without completely relying on being vulgar, he could bring some depth to keep things grounded, and let’s be honest, we all want to see Deadpool in a gorier version of an action scene like this.
Unfortunately, since he’s currently writing Uncharted and directing Bad Boys For Life, he probably won’t be free in time.
4. Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods)
Goddard has only directed one film so far, but man was it a hell of a film. The Cabin In The Woods seemingly came out of nowhere and ended up being the best horror satire since Scream. So acutely aware of the cliches of the genre, Goddard spends 75 percent of the film essentially having a sect of characters direct the movie for him. A group of pretty teenagers roams through a played out horror plot, while a mysterious control room pulls the strings, making sure it all goes to plan. Then, he spends the last 25 percent giving us one of the bloodiest monster mashes ever put on screen. Deadpool needs a director who is hyper-cognizant of the genre they’re in, and this guy is certainly that. While the first film scratched the surface of the fourth wall, Goddard would blast it apart with a shotgun. He would also no doubt have ideas for action sequences that extend beyond shootouts and sword fights, and would likely amp up the gore that fans enjoyed so much in the first one.
Here’s a taste of Goddard’s insanity. SPOILERS for Cabin in the Woods
3. Chad Stahelski (John Wick)
Some directors are simply content with procedural action. Guy comes up from cover, shoots another guy, repeat for 20 more guys. Then, there are filmmakers like Chad Stahelski, a former stunt coordinator who made his debut with John Wick in 2014. His shootouts are more akin to ballet than combat, with terrifically brutal violence meshed with immaculate choreography. The fights in the first Deadpool were solid but were slightly lacking in the stylistic department. If Deadpool 2 is looking to amp up the action above all else, Stahelski is the guy. He would do wonders with the character’s agility and wide variety of weapons, and seeing comedy integrated into such impressive sequences would be the icing on the cake. Plus, he and his partner David Leitch assisted the Russo Brothers with the airport scene in Captain America: Civil War, so he already has his foot deep in the pool.
2. Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest)
Adam Wingard is quickly shaping up to be one of this generation’s key voices in genre filmmaking. While all of his films tread on old ground, he always twists them in just the right way to make them seem new. You’re Next is a female revenge slasher film, The Guest is Captain America by way of Friday the 13th, and Blair Witch was an amped up improvement on a fascinating if underwhelming foundation. In other words, he has a penchant for brutal films with a glib sense of humor. He would likely dial back on the more cartoonish aspects of Deadpool, and craft a grittier sequel with a more subtle touch. It’s debatable if that meshes with characters like Cable. However, considering that he is currently adapting the manga/anime Death Note, he may have a greater penchant for the ridiculous.
1. Marjane Satrapi (The Voices, Persepolis)
As much as I admire all of my other candidates, Marjane Satrapi would blow every single one of them out of the water. If we’re looking for a true visionary who would make a sequel that both improves upon and makes audacious changes from the original, look no further.
Much like Tim Miller, Satrapi began her career in animation. Persepolis, her co-directed debut film based on her first graphic novel, is a sophisticated political/social satire done in black and white caricatures. All of the humor is very subtle, but the visuals are constantly changing. She essentially brings us inside of her mind, and a similar sensibility would mesh perfectly with the anarchic psyche of Wade Wilson. Where Miller’s action scenes were affable but blunt, Satrapi’s would mesh comedy and violence through visual ingenuity.
Most importantly, she’s basically made a Deadpool movie with Ryan Reynolds already. In her superb and criminally underexposed The Voices, she got a career-best performance out of Reynolds in the role of a serial killer who talks to his cat and dog. Reynolds did the voice work for both the cat and the dog, which if you know anything about the two voices in Deadpool’s head, should ring a few very happy bells. She could balance the morbid material with humor, so the audience doesn’t disconnect with either.
It’s hard to say if Satrapi would be willing to participate in such a studio-centric project. However, given her relationship with Reynolds, he would be a fool to not give her a shout. The result could not only top the first one but be one of the best comic book movies ever made.