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‘Deadpool 2’ Director David Leitch on Overcoming Sequelitis, Franchise’s Future

”Everybody tried to take it to the next level,“ filmmaker tells TheWrap

David Leitch admitted he was reluctant to step into the director’s chair for “Deadpool 2” after Tim Miller’s 2016 original became a global phenomenon.

“I never really thought I would want to do a sequel because I like to create worlds,” he told TheWrap, noting that Ryan Reynolds’ R-rated superhero film breaking various records and capturing the hearts of fans all over the world.

But the star himself persuaded the “Atomic Blonde” director to come on board. “Ryan told me it would be most fun film to work on. That was a lie,” Leitch said, before he started laughing. “Just kidding — it was great!”

While Reynolds previously teased “Deadpool 2” might be the end of the franchise, Leitch hopes the team will come up with something “unconventional” for any follow-up films.

“Deadpool,” starring Reynolds, Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin and T.J. Miller, hit theaters on Friday.

Read TheWrap’s Q&A with Leitch below.

Did you feel any pressure with this film, given the trend of “sequelitis” and the fact that the first one did so much for so many people?
Yeah, I mean the first one was a global phenomenon. I was a huge fan, I respect the film so much and the world that Tim [Miller] and Ryan [Reynolds] re-created, and it was daunting to be approached.

I never really thought I would want to do a sequel because I like to create worlds. I like to have my own voice. The thing about this “Deadpool” world, it’s so fast and creative, you can go anywhere, and with this, I believed I could have my imprint as a filmmaker and include the DNA of the film at the same time.”

What did you do to amp up the second film to make it different from the first?
Everybody tried to take it to the next level. The script was great, we wanted to amp up the pop culture references, Deadpool’s character development, expand the world. Adding these X-Force characters in the film allowed us to expand the universe and set pieces to open in the summer landscape. It was, on all fronts, us just thinking, “Let’s make the movie breathe and be bigger.”

Are there any scenes you cut from the script or in the editing room you wish you’d kept?
During the process of editorial, it’s always those “tortured artists” moments. You’re like, man, you know how hard it was to get that scene. You imagine all the logistics to make that happen. But the movie ends up speaking to you and becomes what it’s supposed to be. You sometimes just have to let things go.

There are things I love that didn’t make it in the film — maybe they’ll be on Blu-ray or the extended version. This was what the movie was supposed to be. We trimmed and tightened, some scenes get dropped, but it gave us the opportunity to polish out character arcs.

Ryan Reynolds recently said he doesn’t know if there will be a third “Deadpool.” What are your thoughts and what would you do if you had the opportunity to direct it?
Well, I always say… I would love to be involved and I hope I am and I hope Ryan makes “Deadpool” movies until he’s not happy making them anymore. The thing that’s cool about “Deadpool” is, it can go anywhere. I would hope they make the unconventional choice and surprise the audience and do something out of the norm with “Deadpool.” Like the Celine Dion video but a 90-minute version. No, just kidding. Just something we’re not expecting.

You are working on next year’s “Fast & Furious” spinoff  “Hobbs and Shaw,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Do you feel like it’s going to be an extension of the “Fast” universe or it’s own entire entity?
It’s more of its own entity than an extension. We have to be respectful to the canon of “Fast” and what we’ve learned about these guys. The plan with [writer] Chris Morgan and the creators and Dwayne and Jason is to bring in the “Fast” fans and have them enjoy the relationship but give them a lot more characters to connect with. It will circle around the same focus of family that’s all “Fast” DNA. We are in prep and it’s approaching fast. No rest!

Dwayne Johnson said it was always the idea to take Hobbs and go in another direction. Do you feel there is enough material there to make an entire franchise just focused on him or those two characters?
Definitely. Again — we’re starting something new. It lives in this “Fast” universe, with these characters having interesting lives and sort of families and we’re going to meet great characters and build out the universe.

I think it’s great. The chemistry between Dwayne and Jason was something I responded to in the films, and when presented with this opportunity, I thought it’d be fun.

We have been scouting different locations, and Sunday we leave to find some more and then I think it’s happening. Dwayne has already said we start shooting in September. He is a machine — his work ethic is off the charts. It comes from pure passion.