The amount of superhero movies announced over the past few months is obscene. D.C. alone has given us the dates for eleven upcoming movies, among which is rumoured to be stand-alone outings for Batman, Superman and Aquaman after at least one Justice League, while Marvel are looking beyond Avengers: Age Of Ultron, with Dr. Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 now on the slate. If anybody was expecting the superhero genre to slow down they’re going to be waiting for quite a while longer.
But none of those come close to the latest announcement which has sent the entire internet into excitement overload; there’s going to be a Deadpool movie.
Originally a regular Marvel villain before graduating to his own series, the anti-hero has become a central part of Marvel’s expanded roster. Allegedly the alter ego-cum-dominant personality of Wade Wilson, this artificially mutated assassin is a fan favourite thanks to his distinct style. Fully aware he’s a comic book character, the fourth-wall rarely stands for long, while his antics mark him out as one of the more popular mature heroes.
Outside of the fandom Deadpool’s had a slow ascension. Woefully misunderstood in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although better serviced in 2013’s self-titled video game, the upcoming movie will likely cement him as one of the most unique superheroes out there. Today we look beyond the amazing headline and dissect the Deadpool movie, bringing you nine important things you need to know.
9. It’s Happened Because of the Test Footage
A couple of months ago one of the most entertaining videos in a long time popped up. A two minute clip showing Deadpool attacking a bunch of goons, it was a test reel made when Origins: Wolverine, the first big screen appearance of the character, was still fresh in people’s memories. But this was a world away from Origins’ take. There was violence, there was swearing, there was fourth-wall breaking and best of all there was irreverence. This was Deadpool.
And the fans were excited. Racking up millions of views and reams of column inches (Chris McKittrick wrote a great summary of where the footage came from and what it meant), it quickly became apparent there was a sizable, vocal group who wanted a feature length outing for Wade Wilson. With Deadpool announced less than two months after the footage first ‘leaked’ online there no doubt that the fan response was the central motivation for the film getting green-lit.
Chris concluded that odds were this was not actually a leak of shelved footage, but Fox dipping their toe in the water, testing whether they should make the movie, which given the latest development seems pretty on the money.
8. Ryan Reynolds May Star
The biggest part of the story, besides the fact that the film exists at all, is that Ryan Reynolds, who played Wade Wilson/Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is rumoured to star again as the titular anti-hero. At the time of writing, however, that’s all the reports are – rumours.
Reynolds has been active behind the scenes on a Deadpool movie for a solid decade, lobbying to have the character appear and, once he did in Wolverine, trying to get him his own stand-alone film. It was Reynolds who provided the body model for the test footage and this all feels very much like a major passion project for the actor.
We certainly can’t see Reynolds not wanting to return to the character he’s fought so strongly for – after the disaster of Green Lantern he could do with a big hit – and he’s a big enough face for Fox to be happy to welcome back. However, as evidenced with Channing Tatum replacing Taylor Kitsch as Gambit in X-Men they’re not above switching things up. Keep an eye on casting reports.
7. It’s Been In Development For Longer Than You Think
It’d be easy to conclude that not only is Deadpool finally green-lit because of the test footage, but was actually kicked off pre-production due to it. However, you’d be wrong. The film has been writhing in development Hell for almost as long as the superhero genre (in its modern form) has existed; when we said Reynolds has been behind a Deadpool for over a decade, we meant it.
Around the time of Blade: Trinity, Reynolds and David S. Goyer (who has gone on to become a central force for D.C. movies) worked on a script, but it fell apart when the duo went their separate ways. Hugh Jackman proved instrumental in bringing the character into X-Men Origins: Wolverine (he had some involvement in the scripting process), where the plan was to use that film as a jumping board for a stand-alone flick (a post-credits scene reveals Wade Wilson survived the events of the film, with him looking through the screen and shushing the audience).
Even though the film was widely derided, pre-production began on a Deadpool film, with stories being drafted shortly after Wolverine’s disappointing release. However, as distance from the film increased it seemed less and less likely to occur (until the test footage appeared). If anything the passage of time was necessary; audiences needed time to wash out the bad taste Project X left in their mouths.
6. It’ll Be In The Same Universe As X-Men (Not The Avengers)
Everyone now knows superhero films don’t exist on their own anymore. Since The Avengers became the third biggest movie of all time everything has to be part of larger story. Marvel obviously has their Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. have all of D.C.’s back catalogue to play with, Sony is trying their best to make one character into a massive mythology and now Fox too is getting in on the act.
With its large cast X-Men’s always been more expansive than the likes of Spider-Man, while it tried stand-alone spin-offs before it was cool with Origins (and it really wasn’t cool). Now, however, they’re starting to build up a bigger universe with the other characters they own; next year’s Fantastic Four reboot is intended to eventually tie into the adventures of Xavier and co.
The same goes for Deadpool. Originally a villain for X-Men spin-off X-Force, he’s conventionally lumped with the mutants rights-wise (although technically, as a result of genetic mutation, he isn’t actually one of them), hence why Fox, rather than Marvel, is making the film (despite some websites reporting it as a Marvel flick).
Given how the film will be tonally distinct from the adventures we’ve seen on-screen before, with the audience winks being a particular difference, this was never certain; it could have been totally stand-alone. However, the linking of Reynolds to the part, as well as some subsequent points, make it clear he will be a part of the prejudiced world.
5. It’ll Arrive Before Apocalypse (in Which He’ll Cameo)
The release date for Deadpool as it currently stands is 12th, February 2016 (although looking at other movies, including Fox’s Fantastic Four, which has just been moved back a couple of months, this may be far from set in stone). On the face of learning, this does little, aside from giving us something to put in the 2016 section of our diaries, but in fact it says a lot about the intentions of the film and where it fits in within the X-Men universe.
Arriving a month before Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, it’s clearly trying to avoid a clash of fan interest, but the early-in-the-year release suggests something less conventional and distanced from the genre’s usual summer-friendly style; it’s the time of year when Watchmen was released.
In terms of the X-Men movies, Deadpool with be released before the already in-production X-Men: Apocalypse (but after Fantastic Four). This obviously means there’s be a quick production, but also could hint that Fox has a game-plan similar to the other studios. Rumours are that Deadpool will have a cameo in the next mutant extravaganza, possibly in the post-credit scene, with that likely building into a proper appearance down the line.
4. He Won’t Be Like The Origins Version
What sets Fox apart from the other superhero studios is their approach to continuity. Both Sony and Warner Bros. have rebooted and wiped away entire series of films, but with X-Men they’ve made an effort to keep things going; Days of Future Past may have been bringing a beloved story to the screen, but its main purpose was to clean up the narrative without the need to restart.
This of course poses a question for Deadpool; will the much-derided take from Origins: Wolverine, dubbed Project X, be the Deadpool we see? Initially, taking Ryan Reynolds’ casting into account, the answer seems to be yes.
However, this may not be the case. In the various reports of a Deadpool movie since he was first brought to the mainstream in the prequel mess, there’s been strong talk of it serving as a somewhat reboot of the character, an approach we imagine this film will follow.
The explanation for this in-universe is rather simple. The origins film was in the original timeline, whereas Deadpool takes place in the alternate timeline brought about in the aftermath of Days of Future Past (where Trask lives, Mystique is posing as Stryker etc.), making this Wade Wilson an alternate version of the one in Wolverine, with a totally different origin. And we know Deadpool loves alternate versions!
3. Zombieland’s Writers Are On Script Duties (And Have Been For Years)
If you’re a little wary about the short turnaround between the film’s announcement and its impending release (eighteen months from a two minute test clip to a two hour feature film ain’t no easy task), be thankful that the script is in good hands. And has been for a long time; the writers attached to the recently green-lit project have been been developing the film since Origins: Wolverine and are the ones who brought about the character reboot idea we mentioned earlier.
These aren’t just any old writers either; Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who’ve been working on Deadpool for years, are the geniuses behind Zombieland. An irreverent, gory twist on a much-travelled genre that featured bizarre subplots, exaggeratedly contradictory characters and copious fourth-wall breaking… stop us when you realise they’re the perfect guys to bring Deadpool to life. With over three years experience on the script already logged don’t expect the screenplay for the film to be a simple rush job.
The duo also admittedly scripted G.I. Joe: Retaliation, however we’re going to chalk that movie’s less than stellar quality up to director Jon M. Chu, whose previous experience was with Justin Bieber documentaries and the Step Up series.
2. Tim Miller’s Going To Direct
Just as Reese and Wernick have been involved in Deadpool for a long time, so has the film’s confirmed director Tim Miller. Initially, hearing Miller’s name attached may instil worry; he’s a first-time director with a history in visual effects. First time directors with big projects can often end up overwhelmed or swayed by studios, while the track record of VFX artist-come-directors is mixed; not everyone’s going to be a Gareth Edwards.
But Miller has a lot working in his favour. He’s been down to direct the film since the early days, being the man behind the test footage, while his visual effects experience puts him on top of his game; he co-created Blur Studio.
Blur has an impressive C.V. They did the cinematic trailers for the three latest Batman games (Arkham City, Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight), all of Avatar’s space sequences and, most excitingly, the opening sequence for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. A lurid, visually inventive sequence that seemed to pastiche James Bond’s involvement in the project (Daniel Craig played reporter Mikael Blomkvist), it perfectly set the tone for David Fincher’s thriller and shows the right level of creativity needed for a project as adventurous as Deadpool.
1. It’ll Be PG-13
One of numerous punch-lines in the test footage has Juice Newton’s 'Angel of the Morning' play over the title card while a victorious Deadpool lets out a sigh and mutters to himself “fuck me.” It’s a great end to the clip that really shows an understanding of the character. And it certainly won’t be in the film; according to Schmoes Know one of the conditions of the film getting green-lit was that it would come with a PG-13 rating.
On the one hand this is to be expected – if the character’s going to link to X-Men there needs to be some recognition with a younger audience. The days of an intense, gory property (RoboCop, Terminator) having some child-friendly facets are long gone.
But it seems totally counter to the whole ethos of the project and character in general. The script Reese and Wernick have been working on has long been reported as being a strong R, while the February release date seems much more suited to an adult film – 300, Sin City and Watchmen all came out in the first quarter of the year. With swearing and gore central to much of the character’s appeal, how could a family-friendly Deadpool be anything but neutered (see X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
The same reports of the PG-13 rating say the compromise was only made because the screenwriters found a way to still maintain the essence of the character, but after this seeming like a damn near ideal project it lends a niggling sense of doubt.
I am really super excited to catch this AWESOME MOVIE in theatres! I hope we all are actually! Even if its gonna be rated PG-13,who cares? It's Deadpool, people!