It’s been five years since the 2011 drama Real Steel hit theaters, which was a modest hit, taking in $85.4 million domestically and $213.8 million for a global total of $299.2 million. Back in 2014, director Shawn Levy teased that the sequel Real Steel 2 was being secretly developed, but it still hasn’t moved forward yet. During a recent Q&A, Levy revealed that he still wants to make this sequel, especially since it’s the one project he gets asked the most about on social media. Here’s what he had to say below.
“The most frequent tweet I get is about the sequel to Real Steel. I wish I had a conclusive answer. Here’s the truth: We started developing a sequel like six months before the movie came out. We knew as soon as we started previewing this movie and it was getting mid to high 90s at every test screening. It happens really rarely, but the movie had something that audiences responded to and so we started coming up with ideas for the sequel. The simple truth, the most concise truth I can express, is that it proved, and it has proven, really hard to come up with a sequel that doesn’t feel like a re-hash of the first movie. Yeah, people wanted to see Atom beat Zeus, I would love to see Atom beat Zeus, but you don’t want to retell the story of kind of an alienation between Charlie and Max because that is really the plot of the first movie.”
Real Steel starred Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback. When Collider asked Shawn Levy what he’d like to see in a sequel, the filmmaker had this to say.
“One area that I still would love to explore is that notion of how was Atom built? What is it about his design that might have embedded some artificial or organic intelligence and consciousness, such that he is self-aware to some extent? So all I’ll say is, we’ve attempted it a few times with a number of writers, and no draft got me, Hugh, and Steven all there to a yes in the same moment. It all felt like it wasn’t quite enough to promise a new story and a new movie. I have to tell you, I had a weird experience watching it tonight because on one hand it felt really good to revisit an old friend, but it also weirdly cemented my conviction that I just shouldn’t make a sequel unless I’m sure it will be better.”
While he doesn’t know if the sequel will ever happen, the filmmaker did reveal an aspect of the original movie that Steven Speilberg enjoyed, but didn’t make the cut. It’s possible that this aspect of the movie could be implemented into the sequel. Here’s what what Shawn Levy had to say below.
“There’s one aspect to this movie that got cut out; it was in the movie and Steven always loved it. You know that scene where it’s pre-fight with the Twin Cities and Atom sees himself in the mirror? There was … my God, I’ve never actually shared this … but when the movie first came out, people were like, “I saw Atom move! Atom moved! He definitely moved, right? He has consciousness?” And I kind of fell back into this stock answer of, “I don’t know. It’s whatever you want to decide for yourself.” But when we shot that scene, he absolutely moved. He recognizes himself. There was a whole moment-I think it’s okay to say all this now that it’s been five years-but there’s a moment where, before the fifth round of the final fight, they’re like, “We’re throwin’ in the towel, it’s over,” and Max and Charlie are arguing, and we see Atom in the background raise his finger and give like a “one more time” gesture. In script, you’re like, “That’s fucking awesome! That’s gonna be goosebumps! It confirms the sentient nature of Atom.” But when we put the movie together, it felt like, as warm-hearted as the movie was, that was one degree too fairy tale for that movie.
As of now, we’ll have to wait and see if Real Steel 2 ever does happen, but it seems there is still a demand for this sequel to happen. It remains to be seen whether or not Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo and the rest of the cast will return for this sequel. Shawn Levy recently signed on to direct the highly-anticipated Uncharted movie, and he is also returning to direct two episodes of Stranger Things Season 2.