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Going into 2018, it looked like this would be the biggest year yet for the X-Men franchise, as three mutant-centric movies were scheduled for release. But within months, Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants were pushed back to 2019, leaving only Deadpool 2 to entertain audiences. And the Merc with the Mouth certainly delivered on that front, earning positive critical reception like its predecessor and making over $734 million worldwide. After Deadpool 2 had its theatrical run and was released on home media (both the theatrical version and the Super Duper Cut), naturally it was assumed that Wade Wilson's time on the silver screen this year was done, but word came in last week that a PG-13 Deadpool movie is arriving in December, leading fans everywhere to utter a collective, "Wait... what?"
Let's backtrack a little bit. Last week, Ryan Reynolds posted the below picture on social media, showing Deadpool in all his costumed glory reading to an adult Fred Savage in his oddly juvenile bedroom.
The scene is clearly a parody of Fred Savage being read to as a kid by Peter Falk in The Princess Bride, and if you look closely, you'll see that one of the pages shows Juggernaut ripping Deadpool in half. Reynolds didn't provide any context for his post, but minutes later, word came in that 20th Century Fox had scheduled an untitled Deadpool movie for December 21. Officially, that's all Fox is willing to say, but it was subsequently reported that this will be a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2, which is an unusual idea since Ryan Reynolds' version of the character is right at home in the R-rated realm. Days later, word came in that this Deadpool movie is supposedly called The Deadpool Before Christmas, suggesting there will be a holiday feel to this presentation.
Until Fox provides more details, we can't say with 100% certainty what this December Deadpool movie is. But working off the available information, it appears that the studio decided to give Deadpool 2 a little extra time in theaters and make it a little more family-friendly. Now that by itself isn't enough to warrant being called The Deadpool Before Christmas, so either some extra scenes have been thrown in that have a holiday-bent, or we're actually getting cutaway gags of Deadpool reading to Fred Savage Princess Bride-style. Remember when Peter Falk told the young Fred that he'd skip over the scarier parts of the story? This is Deadpool's excuse to follow suit and skip over the gorier and raunchier parts of his sequel adventure.
On the one hand, the opportunity to see Ryan Reynolds riff with Fred Savage is almost enough to get me to see Deadpool 2 in theaters again, and I already own a copy of the movie. And sure, this would allow the young'uns to catch a movie that they'd normally only get to watch on the big screen if there was an adult accompanying them or if they snuck in (c'mon, we all know this still happens). Nevertheless, I still can't help wondering why Fox decided to do this. First off, it's not like Deadpool 2 was commercially unsuccessful. Yes, it made a little under $50 million than Deadpool did, but sequels don't always outperform their predecessors, and Deadpool 2 was unquestionably still profitable.
Plus, the weekend of December 21 is already incredibly crowded. Even with Alita: Battle Angel moving to February 14, 2019, we still have Aquaman, Bumblebee, Welcome to Marwen, Holmes & Watson and Cold War all coming out as well, not to mention Mary Poppins Returns arriving two days earlier and movies like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mortal Engines still catching eyes. Admittedly, releasing a Christmas-themed Deadpool 2 wouldn't work if it came out after Christmas, but there are only so many people who will want to check this out when there are so many movies that haven't already had their time in theaters available.
Most importantly, why give us a PG-13 cut of an existing Deadpool movie when these Ryan Reynolds-led stories works so well within that R rating? It is possible to give kids their own version of Deadpool to enjoy, as the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series proved, but needless to say, the current Deadpool movies are in no way meant for children. They thrive in getting to be super violent, utter profanity left and right and toss around innuendos. And, of course, break the fourth wall, although that trope knows no age limit. Which leads me to wonder if this is Fox testing the waters for what's to come with a certain Mouse House.
As most of you reading already know, Disney bought 20th Century Fox, which means that eventually the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties will absorbed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney CEO Bob Iger said last year that there might be an opportunity to create an R-rated Marvel brand so that Deadpool's current adult-oriented schtick wouldn't be affected, but what if this PG-13 Deadpool 2 is a way to gauge audience interest in Deadpool movies that better fit within the MCU. Opinions will vary on if this a good idea, but if this is indeed the reason for the re-release, it's an interesting approach. Regardless, this December Deadpool movie is coming, so if you're a fan of the character and looking to see his take on holiday cheer, then you'll have the opportunity to do so just days before Santa Claus comes crawling down the chimney. And rest assured, as more information comes in about the Merc with the Mouth's winter theatrical appearance, we'll let you know.
As things now, aside from this December Deadpool movie, the Merc with the Mouth is expected to return with Cable and Domino in the Drew Goddard-helmed X-Force. There is also a Deadpool 3 in development, although who knows if that can move forward before the Disney/Fox deal goes into effect. You can check out our X-Men movies guide to learn what other projects are being worked on for the franchise.