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SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Deadpool. If you haven’t had a chance to see the film yet, and don’t wish for any part of it to be ruined, please click away to one of our other wonderful articles!
During the big climactic battle scene in the third act of Deadpool, the titular anti-hero finds himself face-to-face with an old colleague named Bob (played by actor/stuntman Rob Hayter). For most, this is probably seen as just another silly moment in a long line of silly moments in the film, but it’s actually a special moment for fans who have followed The Merc With The Mouth in Marvel Comics, and a reference to DP’s frequent companion/adversary, Bob, Agent Of HYDRA. It’s a pretty cool little Easter Egg, but what makes it extra special is the fact that the blockbuster didn’t actually have the rights to use that character.
Given that Marvel Studios owns the rights to the evil organization HYDRA (as seen in the Captain America movies and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), this means that 20th Century Fox could not legally include Bob, Agent Of HYDRA in Deadpool. This little technicality didn’t really wind up slowing down writers/producers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, however, as they revealed to me in an interview before the movie’s release that they couldn’t technically use Bob, but found a way to do it anyway. Explained Wernick,
That’s why he’s just called Bob. The hardcore fans will go, ‘Oh my God, is that Hydra Bob?’ but the lawyers at Marvel won’t go, ‘Wait, that’s Hydra Bob, they don’t have the rights to it.’ We did take some liberties. Fox has a list of characters that they own and that we can use, and Simon Kinberg, who is a producer on the project, is the keeper of the X universe. So he was a great source for us in knowing what we can use, how it’s going to play into the larger story, and overall arching stories of the X universe. So between Simon and legal, they kind of guided us to what we can and can’t do or have access to, and then it was up to us to see how we were going to use those characters creatively, once we knew we really did have the rights.
In the X-Men Cinematic Universe, we meet Bob while he is employed as a henchman for Ajax (Ed Skrein), but apparently he has a special forces background that led to him meeting Wade Wilson while on a mission in Jacksonville, Florida (which apparently has a T.G.I.Fridays to die for). Given how short the cameo is, it’s hard to say how similar he is to Bob, Agent of HYDRA (who was created by Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown in 2007 and is generally cowardly and stupid), but we do know that both characters are married.
Including Bob, Not An Agent Of HYDRA could be seen by some as a poke in the ribs to Marvel Studios, but it’s hardly the only one featured in Deadpool. Jeremy, the pizza delivery boy at the beginning of the film, works for a company named Feige’s Famous Pizza (a reference to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige), and you may have noticed that the entire third act takes place on and around what certainly looks a hell of a lot like a decommissioned Helicarrier. Plus, the post-credits scene even takes a swipe at Samuel L. Jackson’s legendary appearance at the very end of Iron Man, showing up in a saucy little leather number and an eyepatch. Of course, all of these jabs seem to come from a place of love rather than spite.
Did you pick up all of the Marvel Studios references in Deadpool? Are you a big enough fan of the titular character that you immediately identified who Bob really is? If the answer to those two questions is no, then the good news is that Deadpool is out in theaters and ready and waiting for you to watch it again.