Real Steel is one of the greatest sci-fi sports movies of all time. Granted, the subgenre of sci-fi sports movies is pretty slim — especially ones where the entire movie focuses on that theme — but Real Steel is near the top of the list. And now, after years of the film’s fan base clamoring for more, it might actually be happening.
Deadline reports that the 2011 robot boxing movie that starred Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, and Anthony Mackie may get a second life as a Disney+ series. It’s unclear if the series would feature Jackman’s character and continue the events of the movie or just tell another story in the world of robot boxing, but according to reports, Disney is currently working with writers now to figure all that out. The film’s original director, Shawn Levy, is on board as a producer with his 21 Laps company (which made Free Guy and Stranger Things), as well as Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jacqueline Levine, Susan Montford, and Don Murphy.
The original film is about Charlie (Jackman) and his son Max (Dakota Goyo), who find an old robot named Atom in a junkyard and train it to become a champion in the lucrative sport of robot boxing. Which he almost does, ultimately showing down with the best robot around, Zeus. It blends that underdog sports narrative with one of a father and son struggling with their relationship. The whole thing is a bit cheesy, but still very entertaining.
Over the years, Levy, Jackman, and others have constantly been asked about a sequel (to the point where, when I told Levy I wasn’t asking about it during a Free Guy interview last year, he thanked me), so that it’s finally manifested itself in this new form makes sense. The trick now will be everyone settling on a concept that works for the streamer, something Levy himself has said proves difficult.
“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,” Levy said in 2016. “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.” Hopefully, they’ve got an idea or two that fix the problem.
Real Steel is currently streaming on HBO Max.
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