Real Steel director on what he wants to explore in a robot boxing sequel

Contributed by
Nov 9, 2016, 3:10 PM EST

The 2011 film Real Steel was basically a live-action take on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, and thought it wasn’t a box-office smash (heehee), it drew one heck of a fervent fan base. So what are the odds of a sequel?

Director Shawn Levy chatted with Collider about the project, and said he is still bouncing ideas around for a potential Real Steel 2. The holdup is that they still haven’t been able to crack a fresh story that doesn’t just feel like a ripoff of the first film, and if they can’t do something that lives up to the legacy of Real Steel, he doesn’t want to pursue it. One idea he is digging? The origin story of Atom, but even with that arc he hasn’t found a script that really works.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

“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…

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.”

It’s nice to see Levy has some conviction about the property, and it’s hard to argue — the fans almost certainly don’t want a sequel if the director isn’t even excited about it.

What do you think of Levy’s idea? Could this float a Real Steel sequel?

(Via Collider)