We've learned that Will Smith is negotiating to possibly play a villain in the upcoming Pokemon Detective Pikachu 2.
For the first time in an Oscar-winning acting career spanning three decades, the Fresh Prince may finally play the bad guy. Our trusted and proven sources tell us that Will Smith is in talks to play the villain of the upcoming Detective Pikachu 2. Early in March, Deadline reported Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia) would direct the sequel and that Chris Galletta (The Kings of Summer) would be writing the script.
Assuming the negotiations go well and Will Smith signs on to Detective Pikachu 2, this would be a career first for the Bad Boys star. In over three decades of acting, Smith has never played a villain — at least not in the sense of an actual antagonist. Probably the closest he’s ever come is his cameo as Lucifer in the 2014 romantic fantasy Winter’s Tale; but while as Lucifer he’s certainly not a good guy, he’s also not the film’s antagonist.
Even when he played a supervillain in 2016’s Suicide Squad, he wasn’t an antagonist. Not only is he one of the protagonists as Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot but — considering he isn’t portrayed as either a deeply mentally ill clown or a cannibal — his assassin is arguably the most relatable antihero in the bunch. So, unless you’re an alien from outer space with an alternate interpretation of Will Smith’s performances in either Independence Day or the Men in Black films, Detective Pikachu 2 would be his first true villain role.
Considering the controversy that’s surrounded Will Smith since last year’s Oscar slap, it’s interesting that he’s choosing now as the time to humor the notion of a more villainous role. Not that playing a bad guy in Detective Pikachu 2 would either hurt or help Smith’s image, but at the risk of seeming presumptuous, when a guy acts in high profile screen projects for three decades and never once plays the antagonist, it creates the impression that maybe he has a real aversion to being seen as the bad guy.
For a while, it was looking like neither Will Smith nor anyone else would be starring in Detective Pikachu 2. In spite of 2019’s Pokémon Detective Pikachu proving a huge hit and quickly earning the record of the highest-grossing video game film adaptation of all time — which it lost the following year to Sonic the Hedgehog — chances of a sequel looked dim for a while.
In fact, in 2021 Pokémon Detective Pikachu star Justice Smith (who, we remind you, is no relation to Will Smith) told Inverse he didn’t think a sequel would happen, even going so far as to say “I think we have to just kind of bury our hopes. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I really hope so though.”
At the time, no director has signed on to Detective Pikachu 2, and instead of Chris Galletta, Oren Uziel (Mortal Kombat) was attached as screenwriter.