Ryan Reynolds’ first go at playing Wade Wilson in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t go so well. Fortunately, next month he’s getting another shot at Wilson in Deadpool, when we’ll finally see the character on the big screen the way he’s meant to be: a smart-ass, fourth wall-breaking mercenary dressed in red and black. However, it was thanks to his earlier role in Blade: Trinity that Reynolds was introduced to the Merc with the Mouth in the first place.
Six years before X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out, Reynolds played Hannibal King in the eponymous vampire hunter’s third movie, and it’s because of his performance that a Fox executive gave him a stack of Deadpool comics to read. Although Reynolds remembers the executive telling him that because there were many similarities between Hannibal and Deadpool, the actor explained to Empire (via Comicbook.com) that it was the differences that intrigued him more. Reynolds said the exec said:
Seeing as you’re essentially playing this guy anyway, maybe you should play him for real. … I pored through the comics and realized that this character occupies a space in the comic book universe that nobody else does. I still feel that way.
Like his comic book counterpart, Hannibal King started out as a private detective in the Blade-verse, but was changed into a vampire while on a case. After being rescued by the Nightstalkers and cured of his "condition," he joined the group and allied with Blade in the battle against the blood suckers in Blade: Trinity. However, rather than be serious like the comic book version, this Hannibal liked to crack jokes, much to Blade’s annoyance. Although Blade: Trinity is usually considered the worst of the Blade trilogy, at least some good came out of it, much like how Ryan Reynolds later met his future wife, Blake Lively, while working on 2011’s critically-panned Green Lantern.
Despite Reynolds taking a liking to Wade Wilson after Blade: Trinity, he only got to play a faithful (albeit more tame) version of the character for a few minutes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Later in the movie, he was turned into Weapon XI, and this transformation came with extra powers and his mouth sewed shut. In other words, not Deadpool in the slightest. Thankfully, after years of the Deadpool movie being stuck in development hell, fans will finally get a legitimate Deadpool next month, and as far as the humor goes, he’ll be more similar to Blade: Trinity’s Hannibal King.
We’ll see Ryan Reynolds in action as the real Deadpool when the Merc with the Mouth’s solo adventure hits theaters on February 12.