Marvel Comics' Deadpool hasn't found the most consistent success in Hollywood. The anarchic character's introduction to the big screen fell short with a blundered supporting role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, Ryan Reynolds got a second chance to wear the leather body suit in Deadpool, revitalizing both his career and the character and creating one of 2016's splashiest success stories. The sequel, Deadpool 2, didn't have the same critical or commercial triumphs, but it was still a sizable hit. The future looked bright for the self-referential guy.
But when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019, renaming it 20th Century Studios, the foul-mouthed anti-hero's next steps were cast in shadow. Now fans understandably have questions about Deadpool's destiny at Disney, notably since he's now owned by a company with family values and young viewers, which goes against his delightedly disdainful demeanor. With that in mind, here are some questions we have about the future of Deadpool.
When Will Deadpool Appear In The MCU?
When it comes to the future of Deadpool, particularly after the Disney-Fox merger, one question that constantly comes up is whether or not Disney will squeeze Deadpool into its perpetually-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Wade Wilson lives in Fox's soon-to-be-defunct X-Men franchise, the character's self-aware style and meta-humor allows him to have the flexibility to jump into this separate superhero-filled cinematic universe.
Certainly, if there was any character that could/would make the leap between these two on-screen worlds, it'd be Deadpool. But while Deadpool would come guns a-blazin' into the MCU if given the opportunity, is that something producer Kevin Feige and his Marvel team will ultimately do in the future? While there's lucrative potential, it might possibly be a bridge too far for this Disney-owned cinematic universe.
Disney definitely has avenues it can explore when it comes to Deadpool. Since the insolent character is extremely meta and super self-referential, he could easily make a few flippant jokes or pointed comments about MCU's limiting rating restrictions or even be bleeped/censored. This sort of fourth-wall breaking would be fitting for Deadpool, though it might be a little odd in the MCU. Even though this screen universe features walking, talking trees and giant purple men from space, having a character as gleefully sardonic and self-aware as Deadpool might take folks out of this long-running cinematic universe. If Disney incorporates Deadpool into the MCU, it'll have to do that carefully and considerably.
If Deadpool Is In The MCU, Which MCU Movie Will He Be Introduced In?
Of course, if Deadpool does wiggle his way into the MCU, the next question is, "Where?" In the constantly-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a number of properties through which Deadpool could be introduced (or, rather, re-introduced). Could Deadpool be seen in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie? That seems like the most accessible option, even if it's a space-based adventure. One would imagine James Gunn would have a field day with the Merc with a Mouth.
How about Ant-Man 3? Could Wade Wilson be chummy with Scott Lang? Thor: Love and Thunder? Taika Waititi is friendly with Ryan Reynolds, and they've worked together before. Could they work together again? How about Spider-Man? (We'll get more to that one in a little bit.) There are several different possibilities of MCU movies Deadpool could show up in — some of them less likely than others, though.
What's Happening With Deadpool 3?
At this point, we don't have any confirmed details about Deadpool 3. When the Disney-Fox merger happened, the next chapter in the character's story became unclear, and there are still no definitive answers. One would expect Deadpool 3 to come out next, but during Deadpool 2's promotional rounds, there were talk of a potential X-Force movie. However, Rob Liefeld, the co-creator of Deadpool, claims that the Disney merger put the kibosh on that idea. He also blames other Deadpool delays on Disney.
There's also the possibility, as discussed earlier, of Deadpool squeezing his way into a future MCU movie before Deadpool 3, but that's undetermined. Therefore, with no clear idea of when Deadpool 3 might be released and other possible plans left in flux, we're left to wonder what will happen with Deadpool. That said, Ryan Reynolds claims he's "working" on the threequel with Disney.
How Long Will Ryan Reynolds Play Deadpool?
While Deadpool's powers prevent him from ever truly dying, Ryan Reynolds is notably much more mortal than his on-screen counterpart. The 43-year-old actor fought very hard to bring the comic book character back to the silver screen, and he was rewarded for his hard-fought efforts, but how long can he play Deadpool? If he's waiting for further instructions from Disney, the clock is currently ticking for his availability to play Deadpool once more. It's hard to imagine him playing the juvenile wise-cracker in his 50s, not to mention years beyond that. There will come a point when Reynolds needs to hang up the tights and call it a day — even though he's still in exceptional shape.
If the delay for Deadpool's return is longer than a few years, he might not get the chance to reprise the role, but that's maybe a little too speculative. It's possible that CG and body doubles could enter the equation, especially since Deadpool is someone who often wears a mask and hides his identity. It'd require Reynolds doing more ADR work than acting on-set. Would that affect the character's charismatic mojo? Would it be half-hearted of Reynolds to play Deadpool this particular way? With that in mind, is there a hard-and-fast deadline for when he retires the character for good? While Disney could recast the part if needed, it wouldn't be the same without Reynolds.
What Will Future Deadpool Movies Be Rated?
When it comes to Deadpool, one of the reasons why the eponymous character's movie was so successful is because his ribald, irreverent humor was such a stark, yet enjoyable change of pace from the more child-friendly PG/PG-13 superhero/comic book properties at this time. While there were R-rated comic book movies before, such as the Blade trilogy, Deadpool's success was undeniably connected to its mature rating. The same goes for its sequel; without the R-rated theatrics, the raunchy character couldn't really thrive. This was made apparent in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and was also the case for Once Upon a Deadpool, Deadpool 2's tepid PG-13 edit.
While there were folks who might've enjoyed the retooled sequel more, the general conscious was mixed-at-best. Granted, it might not be fair to judge Once Upon A Deadpool on its own since it's a deliberate, even cheeky attempt to make Deadpool 2 family-friendly. If anything, it's interesting to see what flies with PG-13 and what falls into R-rated territory. But it's hard to deny that this Christmas-themed remastering is an effort on the part of the studio/producers to see if Deadpool could work under PG-13 restrictions. If this PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 is a proper indication, the answer is no. While the screenwriters could come up with clever ways to address/work around this rating change, one assumes the audiences who came to the first two films want the same raunchy comedy and gory violence. Reports claim Deadpool will stay R-rated, but will that interfere with his MCU prospects?
When it comes to Marvel, one of the reasons why the studio has remained so successful is because it knows what people love about those characters. While Marvel takes a couple risks, it understands the characters and the material. It makes a point to appeal to the audiences to come to see blockbuster after blockbuster from their familiar studio. Therefore, it should know that Deadpool's potty mouth is the source of his gold-plated success. Those in charge probably don't want to jeopardize that, but it'll be hard to keep the inappropriate character true to himself while also finding a way to work him into the MCU without complaint or risking, say, Avengers 5's PG-13 rating.
Will Spider-Man Appear In Deadpool 3?
Now this one is maybe a bit of a stretch. Even with the Disney-Fox merger in place, Spider-Man is owned primarily by Sony — as the company certainly reminded Disney last year — which means there's a lot of legal red tape to go through if Peter Parker and Wade Wilson ever met-up on-screen. The likelihood of this happening isn't great, but stranger things have happened. Certainly, as many comic book fans know, Spider-Man and Deadpool have a history together, sharing page space in several recent, kooky comic adventures.
Does that mean Spidey and the Merc with the Mouth will share the silver screen one day too? One can't say, but outside of the X-Men characters, this team-up isn't impossible based on their past ink-sharing. But, of course, Deadpool's lewd antics might go against both Disney AND Sony's squeaky-clean image for the boy superhero.
Will Deadpool's Possible MCU Introduction Also Pave The Way For Other X-Men Characters To Appear?
If Deadpool is introduced into the MCU, that certainly provides an interesting conundrum for Disney. With Fox's X-Men cinematic universe expected to come to a more formal close with The New Mutants (whenever the hell that comes out), thus paving the way for Disney's plans with these relicensed comic book characters, Deadpool is stuck between two worlds. Literally. Although he was an outsider character in the X-Men cinematic universe, never really interacting with the X-Men outside of the occasional visits to their mansion, he does exist in that universe.
If Ryan Reynolds reprises his role inside the MCU, under Disney's leadership, he'll serve as the only throughline character between Fox's X-Men universe and Disney's MCU. Therefore, if we get Deadpool crashing straight into the MCU, will he introduce other X-Men characters into this universe too? It's something worth pondering.
What do you think Deadpool's future holds? Do you think Disney will make any Deadpool sequels in the near future? Let us know in the comments.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.