20th Century Fox's "Deadpool" sequel officially has its new director -- and it's "John Wick" co-director David Leitch, as reported by multiple sources Friday evening including Deadline. Leitch was previously reported to be the frontrunner for the position, after original "Deadpool" director Tim Miller left the sequel.
"John Wick," a 2014 revenge thriller, was Leitch's directorial debut alongside Chad Stahelski, but he's got years of experience in Hollywood, primarily as a veteran stuntman and a second unit director. Leitch has been a second unit director on multiple comic book-based films, including 2013's "The Wolverine," 2014's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and this year's "Captain America: Civil War." His second film as a director, "The Coldest City," is based on Antony Johnston & Sam Hart's Oni Press graphic novel of the same name, and is scheduled for release on July 28, 2017.
A report from THR notes that Leitch secured the gig after meeting with franchise star Ryan Reynolds, and that Fox is looking for a different director to helm a third "Deadpool" film, which is already in motion.
Fans and industry observers alike were surprised when news broke last month that Miller had left the "Deadpool" sequel, reportedly due to creative differences with Reynolds. Miller was long associated with the first film, which took years in development to get made -- and became a major box office hit upon its release this past February, earning $782.6 million off of a reported $58 million production budget.
"Deadpool," based on the Marvel mercenary created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, is the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time; along with the highest-grossing X-Men film of all time, surpassing more conventional comic book fare like 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
"Deadpool 2" is scheduled for release on Jan. 12, 2018.