Now that it's been confirmed that Deadpool will remain his R-rated self after Disney acquires Fox, the hero's fanbase was finally able to exhale a sigh of relief. Now be prepared to take another breath, as recent comments by Disney CEO Bob Iger have me concerned about one big thing in the character's future going forward. Iger recently told investors during the meeting that while Deadpool will remained untouched, the movies will be "carefully marketed" to prevent confusing consumers. So what will that mean with his potential interactions with other Marvel characters?
What that specifically means specifically is still up in the air, but it's safe to say Wade won't be included in the lineup of Disney princesses anytime soon. Jokes aside, careful marketing may assure that future Deadpool and X-Force films are kept at arms length from the rest of the MCU. After all, what would happen if he popped up in Avengers: Endgame and parents suddenly thought that meant taking their child to Deadpool 3 was a good call?
One would think the franchise is well-established enough that the general public would know better, but it only takes one viral complaint to spark a massive backlash that Disney would rather not deal with. Keeping Disney family friendly has been a high priority for some time now, to the point it's acquired studios to release some of its riskier ventures. Ergot, the odds of Deadpool popping up in an Avengers adventure seem really low, if it's feasible at all.
It also lessens the odds that other MCU characters will cross over into his films, as once again, that could potentially confuse audiences and lead them to believe a beloved character is no longer family friendly. This isn't a huge deal, as I'm sure few expected to see Captain America joining up with the X-Force for a side adventure, but it creates a barrier and potentially bars more realistic additions to the team from possible inclusion.
For example, what happens should Marvel pull the trigger and incorporate the X-Men universe? Is the long-running arc of Deadpool mercilessly taunting Wolverine finally going to get a big payoff? If Marvel has a mega crossover that incorporates Logan in with other current members of the MCU, that may never happen. That would potentially be the case for the rest of the mutants, which could put the X-Force and Deadpool franchise in a real pickle.
The big problem if the X-Men get established in the MCU is that there will likely be more pushback from Marvel on what characters the Deadpool franchise is and isn't allowed to use. Guys like Juggernaut may already be tainted because fans already have the visual of him getting electrocuted by a massive cable shoved up his anus. It was a hilarious moment, but it may take a toll on the character's future viability in the franchise.
Perhaps that won't be the case, and while Deadpool may never officially integrate into the MCU, characters will hop from his films to bigger adventures without much drama. Even then, it's hard for me to imagine a world where that doesn't create some thematic problems. Will Disney be willing to let a character go buck wild in the Deadpool series with all sorts of gore and violence, and then clean them up for big screen adventures?
It's not impossible, and the Wolverine franchise is a good example of that. The character's level of violence has escalated and de-escalated in terms of gore throughout the years, and audiences haven't really complained about it. Of course, that was when Fox was running the show. While Marvel television has shown it's willing to show a darker side of superheroics through shows like Daredevil and The Punisher, it never once tried to bring those characters into the MCU proper.
The sad part of all this is bringing Deadpool into an MCU adventure wouldn't be that hard, and actually quite hilarious. Wade's ability to break the fourth wall would obviously allow for some self-awareness that he's in a PG-13 movie, and that he'd have to tone things down if he wants to be in the mix. Fans could probably get behind that, right?
That's not what the numbers say. Once Upon A Deadpool, which was the PG-13 cut for Deadpool 2 with some added footage, failed to impress at the domestic box office. The film may have fared better in China, but its low financials stateside may have been what convinced Disney to keep the character a Rated-R superstar, although all proceeds ended up going to charity so it may have had nothing to do with any of this. Regardless, evidence shows that audiences aren't all that thrilled to see Deadpool toned down.
With that said, that's not to say folks wouldn't compromise and be cool with a PG-13 Deadpool in a larger Marvel adventure. There's quite a difference in making a R-rated film PG-13, and featuring a Deadpool as a minor character in a much larger movie. If he's not the focal point or central character of the movie, then the impact of what's lost in making him PG-13 friendly is drastically reduced.
Whether or not Disney will see that or it will be scared that families will stay away from the theater if they see Deadpool appear in a trailer for a standard Marvel feature is another story. Sure, his films do well, but they don't make Avengers: Infinity War money and probably won't make Avengers: Endgame money. If there's even a chance his inclusion would hurt the bottom line of an ensemble film, it makes sense Disney would sooner just leave him out.
It's would be understandable, but a real shame at the same time. If Deadpool isn't allowed actual inclusion into the MCU, is the line drawn between Marvel heroes too violent for future ensembles? Would Blade get turned away? What about when Marvel's allowed to use Daredevil and the rest of the Netflix universe again? It's certainly a tricky situation to navigate, and I'm genuinely curious to see how Marvel and Disney work through it as their available hero list expands.
Those who have thoughts on Deadpool, whether he should be included into the MCU, and what solutions there are for this situation can share them in the comments or vote in our poll. As a reminder, the MCU could be getting a hell of a lot bigger soon, but it's also probably going to shrink with some major exits following Avengers: Endgame. Check out the heroes most likely to be out after Phase 3, as well as why.
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Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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