Deadpool director Tim Miller, who opted not to return for the sequel over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds, says the actor and producer "wanted to be in control of the franchise," which clashed with Miller's need to exert control as director. After Miller stepped away from developing the Deadpool 2 script in 2016 over reportedly mutual creative differences, the project was picked up by Atomic Blonde director David Leitch. Reynolds would receive his first writing credit on Deadpool 2, penned with Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and the sequel ultimately grossed $785 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time until it was unseated by Joker.
"It became clear that Ryan wanted to be in control of the franchise," Miller said on KCRW's The Business podcast. "You can work that way as a director, quite successfully, but I can't. I don't mind having a debate, but if I can't win, I don't want to play. And I don't think you can negotiate every creative decision, there's too many to make. So Ryan's the face of the franchise, and he was the most important component of that, by far. So if he decides he wants to control it, then he's going to control it."
Miller continued, "I've always been pretty good at the 'moving on' thing. I care deeply, and then you get to this point where you've gotta make a decision, and I'm pretty good about putting it in my rearview mirror. We had a meeting at Fox, and the writing was on the wall, so I said, 'I get it. I'll quit, and you guys can do what you need to do.'"
(The filmmaker also clashed with producer James Cameron on Terminator: Dark Fate, Miller's second theatrical effort as director, saying in this same interview he will not work with Cameron again because he did not have enough control over Dark Fate.)
In late 2016, TheWrap reported Miller wanted a sequel that was more stylized, while Reynolds wanted more of a focus "on the raunchy comedy style that earned the first movie its R rating."
That same report claimed Reynolds and Miller clashed over the casting of time-traveling mercenary Cable, a role eventually won by Josh Brolin. The director wanted Bloodline star Kyle Chandler in the role and Fox, then the owners of the Deadpool IP, backed Reynolds' desire for another actor, according to the report.
"There was a sense of relief in that I get to do something new versus Deadpool 2," Miller said in late 2017 after signing on to direct the sixth Terminator movie. "I think [Miller's Deadpool 2] would've been a great movie, but it was also going to be a continuation of what we had done. This really gave me a chance to do something new."
Most recently, Miller told The Playlist his plans for DP2 included a comic book-accurate Cable who was "6 feet, 7 inches" tall, as well as a lighter story for Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), love interest of Reynolds' Wade Wilson, who would have emerged more similar to her comic book counterpart as mutant shape-shifter Copycat.4comments
Miller also received approval from Fox to include Thing, of Fantastic Four fame, who would have done battle with the Juggernaut (also performed by Reynolds) in the place of Colossus (Stefan Kapičić).