R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned was a surprise release in 2022 for a variety of reasons, with the biggest shock being the absence of Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds was the star of the original 2013 R.I.P.D., making it an odd choice to bring the franchise back nearly a decade later without its main character. However, there is an explanation as to why Reynolds doesn’t appear in R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned, and it actually makes a lot of sense.
Based on the comic book of the same name, R.I.P.D. tells the story of the titular Rest In Peace Department, a law enforcement agency that is tasked with finding the souls of people who managed to evade judgment. The 2013 film stars Reynolds alongside Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and more, with the movie having a production budget of over $150 million. A proper Ryan Reynolds R.I.P.D. sequel was rumored for years after the original was released, but this never came to fruition, with 2022’s R.I.P.D. 2 not featuring the beloved star.
RIPD 2 Is A Prequel, Not A Sequel Of Ryan Reynolds’ RIPD
A poster for RIPD 2: Rise Of The Damned
Although the title suggests that the film is a follow-up, R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned is actually a prequel to 2013’s R.I.P.D. Unlike the Reynolds film, which takes place in modern-day Boston, the prequel actually takes place in the wild west of the 1870s. This is an odd choice, as Bridge’s character in the 2013 R.I.P.D. is a lawman from the wild west, but he doesn’t appear in the prequel either.
The R.I.P.D. sequel was such a surprise because the original film was a notorious box office bomb. The film was clearly going for a similar market to Men in Black, but it was far less successful. On a massive production budget of over $150 million, R.I.P.D. needed to fill tons of seats in order to make money. However, it was a critical and commercial flop, with R.I.P.D. getting panned by critics and only making $78.3 million. R.I.P.D. 2 shows that Universal thinks the franchise has some value, but not enough to warrant another star-studded blockbuster.
What Happened To Ryan Reynolds’ Character in RIPD
R.I.P.D. Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds Poster
Reynolds stars in R.I.P.D. as Officer Nick Walker, who at the beginning of the film is a still-living Boston police officer. After being killed by his corrupt partner, he appears in an otherworldly office where it is revealed that Ryan Reynolds’ character is joining the R.I.P.D., having been recruited by the organization’s supervisor, Mildred Proctor. Walker is assigned the task of taking down Deados, partnered with Jeff Bridges’ Roy Pulsipher, and the events of the film carry on.
In the franchise, R.I.P.D. agents are given alternate appearances to humans, with the officers being blocked from revealing their identities to the living. The film ends with Nick and Roy taking down his former partner, Bobby Hayes, who is revealed to be a Deados. R.I.P.D. concludes on a strange note, with Nick Walker’s successful mission earning him a new identity: a young girl scout. While unusual, Reynolds’ character presumably continues on to go on other missions, making his exclusion from the story of R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned even stranger.