How The Leaked Deadpool Footage Changed The Superhero's Fate

The Deadpool movie, for lack of a better term, was dead in the water. Despite passionate pleas from fans – and cajoling on the part of Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld – Hollywood couldn’t figure out how to get wise-cracking mercenary Wade Winston Wilson off the comic-book page and on to the big screen. (The less we say about his unfortunate portrayal in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, the better.) Then, something happened. The tides changed behind the scenes at 20th Century Fox, and – as we reported earlier – a Deadpool movie received both a greenlight and a release date. What changed?

Rob Liefeld, creator of the iconic anti-hero, credits the leaked Deadpool footage that blasted its way across the Internet a few weeks back with finally cutting through the red tape and getting Deadpool into pre-production. In an exclusive interview, Liefeld referred to that leaked footage – and the positive response to it from fans – as the "last and most important piece" to the Deadpool puzzle. The way he explains it:

I had meetings on the Fox lot that following week [after the footage leaked], and that Deadpool footage was all the buzz. It had an impact. You could see it and feel it in the executive suites. It was palatable.I absolutely believe that the leaked footage served as one of those signature moments when fandom united across all social media platforms and made their voices heard. Can you imagine if the masses had disapproved of the footage? In this ruthless take down culture ... it could have been ugly. Fortunately for all involved, it broke on the overwhelmingly positive side. It was a tidal wave of unbridled enthusiasm."

The Deadpool test footage connects back to a screenplay Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick penned for director Tim Miller. Self-referential and sarcastic, the screenplay treatment poked a lot of fun at the ways that Fox executives mishandled Deadpool, the character, in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine. But this CGI trial run tried to show how Wade Wilson could dispense with a car-load of adversaries while continuing to break off his trademark one-liners.

There are still a few major questions that need to be answered regarding Deadpool. Will Tim Miller direct? Is Ryan Reynolds (featured in the test footage) going to be able to play Wade once again this time in a proper Deadpool movie? We’ll continue to track the movie’s progress, but for now, Rob Liefeld confirms what we believed: The leaked Deadpool test footage was a major game changer in the long fight to bring Deadpool to movie theaters. Give yourselves a round of applause, Internet fans!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.