Evangeline Lilly pitched Real Steel sequel with Hugh Jackman, but studio turned her down

Evangeline Lilly reveals to us her plans for a Real Steel sequel with Hugh Jackman and Shawn Levy

Evangeline Lilly in South of Heaven, Real Steel

There’s a Real Steel TV series in the works for Disney Plus, but it’s not the first follow-up to the 2010 science fiction movie that’s been attempted. Anthony Mackie has had ideas, and Evangeline Lilly has revealed to us that she pitched for a sequel soon after the original.

“About five years [after Real Steel], I made a pitch to Shawn saying ‘Listen, we need to make a sequel to this movie’,” Lilly tells us. “‘The movie was so well received, people loved that movie, kids loved that movie, we should make a sequel, here’s my pitch, here’s what I would do with it’.”

She recalls that Levy had a conversation with her about it, but ultimately, it came down to studio interests. “He was like ‘It’s just not going to happen, the studio’s not going to go for it’,” Lilly says, adding that the core team wanted a sequel: “Me and Hugh and Shawn, we all wanted to make another one, but the studio wasn’t going for it.” She describes the new upcoming series as “bittersweet” because if there’s a sequel coming, she’d like to do with Jackman. To be fair, we’d love to see it, too!

Real Steel was a 2010 Disney movie about boxing robots. Lilly and Jackman were the stars, with fellow MCU star Anthony Mackie also involved. Levy directed, from a script by John Gatins, from a story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven.

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It’s based on a short story called Steel, by Richard Matheson, and it went on to be a modest box office success at the time, making $299 million on a $100 million budget. Interest was reignited over lockdown, when the robot movie became hugely popular on streaming service Netflix.

We’ll have to see if Lilly, Jackman, or Levy somehow become part of the Disney Plus version. You can see Lilly in Marvel Phase 4 with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on July 28, 2023, and in South of Heaven, which comes to UK theatres January 24.