Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 Shouldn't Need Ryan Reynolds To Happen

Detective PIkachu looks puzzled while standing near a warehouse in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

For as massive a success as Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was at the 2019 box office, it’s kind of amazing that a sequel hasn’t been put into production yet. The Ryan Reynolds-starring action/adventure caper has seemed to stall out, or at least that’s what some would think. As Sonic the Hedgehog, The Last of Us and even the 2023 new movie release The Super Mario Bros. Movie all potentially level up the game, this early adopter of cinematic success needs to make its move soon.

Thanks to a new report assuring the audience that this Pokémon follow-up is still very much alive, it’s time to talk about a couple of things; mainly, why Pokémon Detective Pikachu 2 shouldn’t need Reynolds’ participation in order to happen. In that respect, let’s begin with some quick history of where the project stands before moving into why Ryan Reynolds shouldn’t be a holdup for the Pokémon series’ cinematic development.

Detective Pikachu holds a magnifying glass to his eye in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

What’s Happening With Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2?

The news that kicked this whole train of thought off came from Polygon, as a statement from an unnamed rep from Legendary Entertainment provided an update on where Detective Pikachu 2 currently stands. Only three words were given, and they form a familiar phrase one might of expected to hear: “in active development.” This basically puts the project right where it’s been for some time.

Around the time of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’s May 2019 release, a sequel was already announced to be in the works. So while we’re not so sure who’s involved in the potential sequel, it is known that Warner Bros and Legendary are still interested in making it happen. The lack of any cast members mentioned as part of the project does highlight the main issue that could be gumming up the works.

Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith walking together from the train station in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

Ryan Reynolds’ Return Is A Bit Difficult To Write After Detective Pikachu

While Detective Pikachu is definitely a movie that sells the Pokémon brand first and foremost, you can’t discount the fact that Ryan Reynolds’ participation helped electroshock the crowd into digging in. Unfortunately, the novel way that the movie explained how an electric mouse found itself with the voice of Deadpool’s lead makes it kind of hard to replicate that scenario. 

Thanks to a random accident involving the psychic powers of Mewtwo and a willing PIkachu, Detective Harry Goodman (Ryan Reynolds) found himself swapped into the body of Pokémon Detective Pikachu’s functional lead. To do that all over again would seem rather repetitive unless a really good reason prompts Detective PIkachu 2 to repeat that story mechanic. With that inspiration, let’s take a look at how this long in development project could move forward, with or without Reynolds in the mix.

Video Game Movies Since Detective Pikachu

Sonic the Hedgehog charged with blue electricity

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Here's how the world of video game movies has progressed, by release date & worldwide box office, since the release of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (WB) - 5/10/19 - $433,230,304
Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
- 2/14/20 - $320,954,026
Monster Hunter (Sony) - 12/18/20 - $42,145,959
Mortal Kombat (WB) - 4/23/21 - $83,601,013
Werewolves Within (IFC FIlms) - 6/25/21 - $937,490
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (Sony) - 11/24/21 - $38,600,612
Uncharted (Sony) - 2/18/22 - $401,748,820
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount)
- 4/8/22 - $402,656,846

Justice Smith smiles uncomfortably while talking in Ken Watanabe's office in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

Option 1: Detective Pikachu 2 Focuses More On Tim Goodman

Here’s the simplest way to keep Ryan Reynolds and Detective Pikachu in the picture. With Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) becoming a detective himself at the end of the first film, the doors are open for Detective Pikachu 2 to focus on his character a bit more. If the powers that be really want to make a sequel that requires another body swap, the change to another lead being body swapped would at least offer a fresh angle.

Harry Goodman could return as much or as little as possible to assist in the new case, as well as the potential amnesia that Tim would be suffering from, without having to merely retread the Detective Pikachu experience. Also, previously auditioned actors like Hugh Jackman or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could play a fresh character that’s befallen these very familiar circumstances. Then again, who’s to say another Pikachu absolutely needs to be involved, especially if Detective Pikachu 2 is still a concept that allows for some flexibility. 

A Bulbasaur shown in the wild, up close, in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

(Image credit: Warner Bros./Legendary)

Option 2: Other Pokémon Detectives Could Become The Star

This next concept would allow Ryan Reynolds to pop in with a cameo that doesn’t need to connect to the Goodman family’s story at all. Detective Pikachu 2 doesn’t even need to be a proper sequel, but rather another entry in an anthology that allows other species of Pocket Monsters to become the main attraction. Why limit yourself to Detective Pikachu when Detective Bulbasaur is an equally exciting potential?

Reynolds’ detective/family man can easily nurture another investigative mind transplanted into one of Pokémon’s finest species, with new abilities to take advantage of. Pokémon Detective Pikachu 2 could still be on the back-burner of development, should the public really want to see it come to fruition. Although, that same status could be in play whether a family friendly whodunnit is in the cards or not.

Misty and Brock, friends of Ash's in Pokemon.

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Option 3: A Totally New Pokémon Movie Could Take Detective Pikachu 2’s Place

The world of potential Pokémon movies is as expansive as the menagerie it connects to. While the initial strategy was supposed to deliver Detective Pikachu 2 before moving into the proper expansion of the cinematic universe, it’s not the only answer. If neither of the concepts above yield a story that properly builds on the previous Ryan Reynolds-starring film, it might be the right time to move onto something new.

In a post-Sonic the Hedgehog world, Nintendo is clearly making other moves in keeping competitive with the market. Thanks to The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s latest trailer showing off some other concepts from the gaming giant’s library, with the PIkachu-featuring Super Smash Bros. being one of them, that competition is only going to get even tighter. Perhaps it’s time to kickstart Netflix’s live-action Pokémon series that’s been in development, or maybe to bring Pokémon Snap to the table. 

It’s not that Detective PIkachu 2 is a bad idea, but the brand is connected to Ryan Reynolds in such a way that it requires some delicate thought before returning to the well. That just might be the major concern that’s holding up the works on getting back to Ryme City, and if so, the concepts above are all valid pathways to glory. 

For now, video game movie fans will have to wait for The Super Mario Bros. Movie to get their next fix of digitized combat. That adventure arrives in theaters on April 7th, so it's not going to be too long before that excitement takes hold.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.