Inside the ‘Deadpool 2’ Fight Over ‘Two Totally Different Movies’ (Exclusive)

More details emerge about vastly different takes director and creative team had for sequel

Soaring budgets and conflicting visions about story were at the heart of the creative rift between “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds and Tim Miller, that led to Miller leaving the director’s chair, multiple individuals told TheWrap.

The Saturday report that Miller would no longer return to helm the blockbuster’s sequel shocked fans, with both sides citing “creative differences” between Miller and his star as a reason. But those differences were vast, TheWrap has learned, and expanded to the long-devoted group at the film’s core.

A sequel to “Deadpool” was already in active development when the first went into production, one individual familiar with the project said.

Shortly after then-20th Century Fox CEO Jim Gianopulos confirmed a second movie at CinemaCon in April, cracks began to form in the creative team that also includes screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Zombieland”).

In initial sequel talks, Reynolds, Reese and Wernick envisioned a “scrappy,” raunchy and inexpensive movie, the insider said — in the vein of the first, which earned over $780 million worldwide on a $58 million budget. It’s a stunning return on a film Reynolds lobbied 11 years to make.

Miller, known more for his visual flair than for the brash antics that Reynolds and his writers embraced and that fans loved, wanted a more stylish take, one that would compete with mega-budget superhero movies, insiders said. But it would have cost three times as much as the original $58 million film, the first individual said.

“There were two totally different movies on the table, and one of them just wasn’t ‘Deadpool,” said the first insider, who is familiar with both concepts.

Reynolds, Reese and Wernick’s vision won.

One person said Gianopulos had been a “peacekeeper” between director and star during the production on the first film. He handed the reigns to Stacey Snider on Sept. 1, who has had input on a situation largely handled by 20th Century Fox President of Production Emma Watts.

Another party close to Fox said executives did not have to step in to manage relationships until well after the first film’s release.

Miller pivoted immediately to another priority Fox project, an adaptation of Daniel Suarez’s cyber-crime thriller “Influx.”

Representatives for Miller did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, nor did reps for Reese or Wernick. A Reynolds spokesperson and 20th Century Fox declined to comment on the matter.

“Deadpool 2” does not currently have a release date. It was written by Reese and Wernick, and will feature popular character Domino, who, like Deadpool, is a former mercenary.

The part is hotly coveted, and those who have screen-tested for it include Kelly Rohrbach, Eve Hewson, Ruby Rose, Mackenzie DavisLizzy Caplan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sienna Miller, Sofia Boutella, Stephanie Sigman and Sylvia Hoeks.

Reynolds just completed a different collaboration with Reese and Wernick: “Life,” about an international space crew that finds life on Mars, which  costars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson.