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Free Guy Is Filled With Disney Easter Eggs, Teases Director

According to director Shawn Levy, the upcoming Ryan Reynolds-led sci-fi comedy Free Guy is filled with Disney references. Free Guy began development at 20th Century Fox before Disney acquired the studio and all its intellectual properties. Following the acquisition, the film was allowed to continue to develop and was eventually slated to release in July 2020. However, like most films last year, the date was postponed several times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and is finally expected to release this week.

Free Guy follows the story of a non-playable character (NPC) named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who resides within the virtual world of Free City. After the developers of Free City tamper with the game's code, Guy begins to develop self-awareness and gradually breaks free from his set programming. Action ensues as Guy attempts to center himself as the hero of his own story, rather than the nameless background character he had been programmed to be his entire life. The film is expected to be filled with pop culture references and winks to gaming culture in honor of its premise.

Related: Every Upcoming Ryan Reynolds Movie

Director Shawn Levy recently sat down with Screen Rant for an exclusive interview, revealing that Disney properties would be among the film's myriad of pop culture references. Levy said that the idea came about because the Disney acquisition was taking place concurrent to the film's pre-production. According to the director, he and Reynolds "made certain special requests [of] Disney to play with some of those tools; some of those toys." Much to the pair's delight, Disney "said yes to every request." Check out Levy's full statement below:

Oh, yeah. And I'm going to dance around this answer because who knows when this will be shared. But the movie got greenlit when 20 Century Fox was a standalone studio. While we were in pre-production, Disney basically swallowed Fox.

As Ryan and I started making the movie, it occurred to us, "Well, wait a second. Now that we're owned by that big behemoth conglomerate, they've got all these other cool things in their vault. Maybe they'll let us play with some of those toys." We didn't know whether we get a yes or no, but we knew we would regret not asking. So, we made certain special requests of the powers that be at Disney to play with some of those tools; some of those toys.

And to our astonishment, they said yes to every request. So, the movie is filled with some pretty great surprises.

Audiences got a taste of what's in store with the recent Deadpool and Korg reaction trailer, in which Deadpool and Korg (both of whom are Marvel characters owned by Disney) react to Free Guy's trailer in the style of YouTube trailer reaction videos. Because Free Guy now exists under the broader Disney umbrella, the film could reference the studio's various IPs. Levy did not specifically elaborate on how his movie utilizes Disney IPs, but the Deadpool and Korg trailer certainly hints at the ways that they could appear in the film.

In some ways, Levy's promise of easter eggs is reminiscent of Disney's 2018 animated film Wreck-It Ralph 2. In that film, various Disney-owned franchises such as Star Wars and Marvel make an appearance. However, critics claimed that the sheer volume of references in Wreck-It Ralph 2 worked to the film's detriment as they distracted from its main plot and characters. Hopefully, Free Guy can sidestep these pitfalls and utilizes its references to enhance the story rather than take away from it. If the initial glowing reviews are anything to go by, the film has succeeded in that department.

More: Why Deadpool's Disney Debut Was In A Non-Marvel Trailer

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