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As we specifically wrote about earlier this week, part of the charm in director Tim Miller’s Deadpool is the fact that it rights some previous wrongs of the X-Men franchise, specifically by making characters like the titular Merc With The Mouth and Colossus much more like their comic book counterparts. What’s notable, however, is that the film also simultaneously introduces a brand new mutant, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and completely changes her power set. Before you raise your pitchforks and torches in anger, however, know that writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had some very good reasons for the choice: specifically that her new abilities are much more in-sync with her name, and the fact that she has a general lack of presence in Marvel Comics history.
I had the chance to chat with the screenwriters late last week, and it was while discussing Negasonic Teenage Warhead as a later addition to the script that Reese and Wernick explained why she was included and why what we see in the performance from actress Brianna Hildebrand in Deadpool doesn’t resemble what comic books remember about the character from the page. Opening up about the character, Reese told me,
The original draft does not have Negasonic Teenage Warhead. It had a lot of gun play and sword play, and Tim [Miller] said he wanted to see more in the way of superpowers and traditional superpowers, so we chose Negasonic Teenage Warhead to fit in there. We chose her largely for her name, because it was so cool, but we ultimately ended up changing her powers from the comics.
Named after a song by Monster Magnet, Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s first comic book appearance came in an early issue of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run – featured as a mutant student of Emma Frost’s in the mutant-dominated city of Genosha. In her debut, she demonstrates psychic abilities, as she describes to her teacher dreams of eminent death and destruction. It turns out that she is absolutely right, and winds up dead just a few panels later. In Deadpool, however, she is shown to be an X-Men trainee being instructed by Colossus, and has the ability to basically generate giant explosions (somewhat reminiscent of the Marvel villain Nitro). Or as Rhett Reese put it,
We changed her to having this kind of explosive… because just the sound of the name - "Warhead" - implies to us that she could kind of become a human bomb, and we ran with that. There will be a few people offended by that, but she wasn’t a major enough character that I think we won’t piss too many people off.
It’s true that Negasonic Teenage Warhead was brought back twice after her death in Genosha – first as an illusion of Emma Frost’s, and again when she was resurrected only to be killed again. But even those passionate about the collection of panels in which she’s featured probably won’t really take issue with what’s featured in Deadpool.
You’ll be able to see this brand new version of Negasonic Teenage when Deadpool arrives in theaters this Friday, February 12th.