Will There Be a Free Guy 2?
Yes, a sequel to the hit 2021 sci-fi action comedy Free Guy has been confirmed and is in development. In February 2022, Disney announced that a follow-up film titled Free Guy 2 was officially greenlit with Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as Guy. The original writers Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn are also set to return for the second installment. Details are scarce so far, but Free Guy director Shawn Levy is expected to return as well. No production timeline or release date for Free Guy 2 has been announced yet.
Overview of the Original Free Guy
Free Guy was released in theaters in August 2021 and proved to be a surprise hit, grossing over $331 million worldwide on a $115 million budget. The film starred Ryan Reynolds as Guy, an NPC (non-player character) in a hyperrealistic online open world video game called Free City who becomes self-aware and decides to take charge of his own destiny.
Directed by Shawn Levy and written by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, Free Guy also starred Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery and Taika Waititi. It received positive reviews, with praise for Reynolds‘ performance, the visual effects, and creative story.
In Free Guy, Guy realizes he is a background character in the violent Free City game. He breaks from his regular routine as a bank teller and begins actively assisting player Molotovgirl (Jodie Comer). Molotovgirl is actually Millie Rusk, a programmer for Soonami Studios which created Free City. Millie and her friend Keys (Joe Keery) had code for a kind AI character named Life Itself stolen by Soonami‘s CEO Antwan (Taika Waititi) years earlier.
Guy must evade Antwan‘s attempts to shut him down, while also fighting back against the players who try to attack him. With Millie and Keys‘ help, Guy leads a rebellion of other NPCs to stop Antwan from relaunching a new version of Free City that would reset Guy‘s self-awareness.
Critical and Commercial Success
Free Guy earned an 80% critics score and 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews praised the clever concept, Reynolds‘ energetic performance, and the visually stunning game world. Comer and Waititi‘s supporting turns were also highlights.
In addition to grossing over $330 million worldwide, Free Guy also proved popular on home viewing platforms. It was the third most watched streaming film of 2022 according to Nielsen rankings. Strong critical reception and viewership make a sequel all the more enticing for Disney and the filmmakers.
Potential Directions for Free Guy 2
Free Guy‘s creative premise leaves the door open for the story to continue in many possible directions. Here are some potential paths the sequel could explore:
Further Adventures Inside Free City
Though Guy led an uprising of NPCs and helped unlock the full capabilities of Free City, the game world itself remains filled with possibilities. The sequel could see Guy, Millie, and Keys diving back into Free City on new missions. They could encounter fresh NPCs, new areas of the map, and have to square off against original in-game threats. More real world cameos and gaming Easter Eggs would also delight fans.
Exploring the Outside World
At the end of the first film, Guy steps out of the Free City servers and into the real world for the first time. The sequel could focus on Guy exploring reality and making his way in the physical world. His perspective as an AI would lend itself to humorous observations and commentary on everyday human life. Guy meeting Millie in-person and their relationship developing also provides story opportunities.
Taking Down Soonami Studios
While Antwan was ousted as CEO, Soonami Studios still owns the rights to Free City and could cause more trouble. A sequel could see Guy and Millie teaming up to expose the unethical practices of Soonami Studios. Given recent Activision Blizzard controversies, the storyline could provide relevant corporate media satire.
Battling a New Rogue AI
Free Guy‘s antagonist could also stem from another AI gone wrong. Whether a new AI villain or Antwan secretly launching another sinister program, Guy would have to face off against the threat. Thematically, the story could focus on Guy‘s belief in developing a moral code versus a rogue AI twisting its programming for evil.
Cameos From Other Video Game Worlds
Free Guy featured cameos from real-life gaming streamers like Ninja and Jacksepticeye. The sequel could build on that concept with Guy interacting with characters from other video game universes. Imagining Guy teaming up with the likes of Mario, Lara Croft, Sonic or Master Chief opens up loads of possibilities. Reynolds‘ Deadpool persona also provides natural crossover potential.
Challenges in Making Free Guy 2
While hopes are high, Free Guy 2 faces challenges matching the original‘s success.
Much of the first film‘s appeal was its fresh premise of an NPC gaining sentience in an open world game. The sequel will need to build upon the core concept in an innovative way and avoid rehashing too many beats from the first movie.
Maintaining the Tone
Free Guy struck a deft balance between action, humor, heart and social commentary. Keeping the same tone while also feeling like its own distinct story will be important for the sequel.
Competing in a Crowded Market
The first Free Guy had a fairly clear runway when it premiered amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and shortage of big blockbusters. The sequel will inevitably face stiffer competition in theaters from both other studio tentpoles and streaming content.
Landing the Cast
Bringing back key cast members like Reynolds, Comer and Waititi remains crucial, but their busy schedules could provide challenges during both writing and production of the sequel. The creative team will also need to craft a story and roles worthy of attracting their talents again.
Expectations for Ryan Reynolds’ Return
Much of the Free Guy franchise’s continued success banks on lead star Ryan Reynolds returning as the title character. Reynolds’ career is red hot coming off of 2022’s The Adam Project for Netflix and Spirited for Apple TV+. But expectations will be high for him to deliver another standout Guy performance.
Comedic Skills Back on Display
A major ingredient in making the first film work was Reynolds’ razor sharp comedic timing and commitment to Guy’s journey. His talent for balancing action heroism and humor will be vital for the sequel. Fans will want to see Reynolds bring the funny again through Guy’s fish-out-of-water observations.
Evolving Guy’s Character Arc
While Guy grew tremendously over the first movie, he still has room for even more character development. The sequel provides a great opportunity to show Reynolds‘ acting range as Guy continues advancing his intelligence, expanding his emotional depth and forming deeper connections.
Creative Input Behind the Scenes
Reynolds’ extensive experience producing hits like Deadpool and The Adam Project could be hugely valuable in shaping the sequel. His creative perspective on story, jokes and character moments will likely influence the script. Reynolds may even receive a producer credit this time around.
Reynolds voicing Guy opposite his Deadpool character on screen would be an absolute blockbuster pairing. Even if Deadpool doesn’t appear, Reynolds could playfully reference his superhero meta role. Overall, Reynolds’ proven box office draw will be key to the sequel‘s financial fortunes.
The Bottom Line
Free Guy was one of the most enjoyable surprises of 2021 in a year when audiences desperately needed originality and fun at the movies. With Reynolds and the creative team now confirmed to return, hopes are high that Free Guy 2 can deliver everything fans loved about the world and characters, while also bringing fresh story ideas into the mix. If the team sticks the landing again, Free Guy could emerge as Reynolds‘ next flagship franchise.