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Real Steel 2 With Hugh Jackman Is Still Possible, And Shawn Levy Says Netflix Is The Reason

Almost 10 years ago, Real Steel saw director Shawn Levy and star Hugh Jackman embark on a journey of emotional stakes in the world of robot boxing. While it wasn’t a Marvel-style hit, it built a cult fanbase that still celebrates the film to this day, and continues to grow. Thanks to a particularly successful debut on Netflix in 2020, it looks like Real Steel 2 is absolutely still possible.

I got to speak with Shawn Levy recently, during the promotional rounds for Free Guy. So I was tempted to inquire on any sort of updates on a potential sequel to Real Steel, not only as a journalist, but as a fan of that first film. Levy, visibly happy to hear this question, summed up how Netflix has fueled such hopes as follows:

It is amazing how streaming gives people an opportunity to rediscover [things]. Obviously, it happened with Cobra Kai and what happened to them when they moved from YouTube to Netflix. When Real Steel was on Netflix in 2020, and it was in the top trending titles, it really showed us, ‘Oh wait a second, that audience is still there, and maybe we can even grow it’. Hugh and I have definitely, we have seen each other recently, and I’m not gonna lie and say it didn’t come up.

It looks like that recent hangout between Hugh Jackman and Shawn Levy wasn’t merely to wind up Ryan Reynolds in the most friendly way possible. The collaborators and friends seem to have found time to discuss some Real Steel business, while work may not have been the impetus for their meeting. Which only shows how much both Jackman and Levy love the film that they put together so long ago.

Even if Real Steel 2 wasn’t something that either party was interested in, it would have been hard to stay away from that talking point altogether. Turning back to last year’s Netflix streaming triumph, as well as that announcement that Vin Diesel is making a Rock’em Sock’em Robots movie, bringing Real Steel onto the platform only made fans on the internet all the more hungry for that sequel to exist. Not to mention, as Shawn Levy admitted in our conversation, the subject is one that gets brought up quite a bit as of late:

It is remarkable how frequently this question gets asked. It had died, and while it’s not in active development right now, these are the kind of itches that Hugh and I are feeling more intensely and might need to scratch. What’s been interesting is we’re approaching ten years since Real Steel came out, the fan love has not waned. And it’s been this constant reminder to Hugh and I that, ‘Oh wait a second, that movie had something special in it. And maybe we should revisit those characters in that world’. So anything’s possible.

When a movie like Real Steel ignites the imagination of fans, while also warming their hearts, it’s a beautiful thing. Even after almost a decade passing since the movie was in theaters, the warmth of that concept is something that resonates with a lot of people-- most importantly Hugh Jackman and Shawn Levy. That sort of combination is a good force to have when you want to get a movie like Real Steel 2 made. However, even if it never happens, it’s still fantastic to see a cult gem bringing people together long after the posters are down and the marquee has shifted to the next big thing.

Coincidentally, that next big thing could be Free Guy, which debuts in theaters on August 13th. So if you’re a fan of Real Steel and Shawn Levy’s humanistic brand of blockbuster, you know what to see next weekend. Though if you’re looking to plan a little further down the line, and maybe want to see if another Hugh Jackman movie is on the way, feel free to use our 2021 release schedule to do so.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.