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SYFY WIRE Real Steel

Shawn Levy not ruling out 'Real Steel' sequel or Hugh Jackman return in Disney+ series

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Jackman!

By Josh Weiss
Hugh Jackman Shawn Levy GETTY

A few weeks ago, Real Steel fans received some very good news: the 2011 sci-fi film is being spun out into a Disney+ television series from original director Shawn Levy (now serving as an executive producer under his 21 Laps banner).

Details about the project, which is still in early development, have yet to boot up, but that didn't stop Levy from stoking the flames of excitement at an early screening of The Adam Project Wednesday evening. Mike Reyes of CinemaBlend caught up with the filmmaker and asked him whether Hugh Jackman would return to play redeemed robot coach Charlie Kenton in the show. The answer he received not only touched on the small screen spinoff, but also on the possibility of a big screen follow-up.

"That is a big question mark. Mmm, God, you've got me on the spot!" Levy said with a big grin on his face. "I don't know that Hugh will be in the series, but it's a possibility, as is the possibility of a sequel."

Check out the exchange below:

Based on a short story by Richard Matheson, Real Steel takes place in a near future where regular boxing has become obsolete. Instead, humans build and train machines to beat the snot out of one another in Rocky-meets-Terminator fashion. The film — which also starred Evangeline Lilly and Anthony Mackie — was a modest box office and critical success thanks to its feel good underdog story about a down-and-out robot named Atom that ends up taking on the world champion, Zeus.

There was some light talk about a sequel, but so far that hasn't come to fruition — not least of all because Jackman doesn't believe in them (not counting the X-Men films). Mackie, however, has "always advocated for a sequel."

"I think the possibilities are endless," the MCU vet told Entertainment Weekly last year for a 10th anniversary retrospective. "I always thought about the idea of going to the underground world and seeing what the reality is. The underground boxing circuit is so different than that last fight with all the glitz and the glam and the polish. I feel like you can do a Mad Max meets Real Steel."

Levy is of the opinion that the movie underperformed because it was marketed as "Transformers Light," which was never the intent (at least from his perspective). "It was always a father-son movie, and if it had been released, frankly, I don't have hard feelings about this, but I think it's a fact, you're never going to out-robot Transformers," he explained. "Yet if you go back, so many of our posters are like, 'Argh,' angry fighting robots. That was never the spirit of it. So we did well, but not well enough. It wasn't like we had $500 million and a sequel was a no-brainer. So, the economics were on the bubble; we didn't have the perfect script idea. It's still something we flirt with because whatever enduring love fans have for Real Steel, Hugh Jackman and I share."