The big news today was the official announcement of the Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox, but the future of Deadpool was a major conversation within that story. The foul-mouthed antihero has become phenomenally popular since the launch of his solo movie, but there was great concern that he would no longer be able to remain an R-rated character in the hands of Disney. Concerns were quickly put to rest by studio CEO Bob Iger, and it could be said that few were happier about this than Rob Liefeld:
[Disney CEO] Bob Iger didn't deliver this unprecedented level of historic success for Disney by accident. This man gets it. He understands the culture and more importantly he understands the concerns of the fans. Addressing the Deadpool issue right out of the gate gets high marks and in all honesty, why would they mess with the success that Ryan Reynolds has achieved as Deadpool?
Rob Liefeld, who co-introduced Deadpool to Marvel Comics along with Fabian Nicieza back in 1992, has been very outspoken about the character's place in pop culture, and during an interview with ComicBook.com he expressed happiness about the merger news and the Merc With The Mouth's place within in. A few weeks ago he was critical of the notion, fearing that the potential of Deadpool and the upcoming X-Force wouldn't be seen by Disney, but it seems his fears have been allayed by Bob Iger's comments.
Up until now, Marvel Studios has been a big extension of the Walt Disney Company's family friendly vibe, and Bob Iger went on the record after the successful release of Deadpool saying that the company had no immediate interest in making an R-rated blockbuster. The merger with 21st Century Fox clearly changes the conversation, however, now making the big question more about how these adult-oriented properties can be branded (Bob Iger may want to do some research into the Marvel Max imprint)
No matter what the future holds regarding possible R-rated superhero movies, nobody wants to see a PG-13 Deadpool feature following the success of his 2016 solo hit. Rob Liefeld said as much in his statement about the merger, saying,
The next person I encounter that tells me they want a neutered version of Ryan [Reynolds]' Deadpool will be the first person to express that to me. So smart of Iger to lay that foundation of trust and I for one am so appreciative. It definitely alleviated a concerned Deadpool base.
Release schedules aren't expected to be impacted by the Disney-Fox merger, which means that fans can still expect to see the hotly anticipated and still-untitled Deadpool 2 in theaters on June 1, 2018. Exactly when we'll start to see him merge into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe is a question that doesn't currently have an answer.
You can check out the rest of the 2018 release calendar here.