Among the multiple intellectual properties (IP) acquired within Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox was Deadpool. We know Disney will probably find a way to have the X-Men and Fantastic Four make their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Deadpool however, seems to be the odd one out here. President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige has said in the past that Disney CEO, Bob Iger doesn’t have a problem with future Deadpool films keeping to their R-Rated roots.
At the very least, we know that the vulgar integrity and violent intensity of the Merc with a Mouth will be maintained going forward. That being said, there are currently no plans to bring the character into the wider MCU with rumours of Deadpool potentially being in a sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home being thoroughly squashed. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess if Marvel Studios will try to incorporate Deadpool into the MCU but I think there’s a better question we should ask here. Should they even try?
It isn’t as easy as Deadpool just showing up, making a few self-referential jokes here and there before helping (or harming) the Avengers. There are a number of factors that need to be considered. Factors concerning the past, present and future of the character.
The Trouble With Timelines
We’ve seen in Deadpool and Deadpool 2 that Wade clearly has some history with the X-Men, based on his interactions with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. At some point, he was even a member (or trainee) of the team when the three of them were dealing with the troubled and abused pyrokinetic mutant, Firefist. In spite of the fact that we don’t exactly get an official entry for the two films in the timeline, the presence of legitimate members of the X-Men more or less confirms that Deadpool does exist somewhere in canon. Canon that is soon to be erased, mind you.
It has was announced all the way back from March that Disney plans on rebooting the X-Men franchise. This probably means that the old cast from the previous series will not be making their way back into future MCU films. More importantly, though, it means all the history established within the previously owned Fox franchise, which includes the Deadpool films, could be in jeopardy.
If Disney does decide to build from the ground up, then the inclusion of Deadpool within the MCU would be strange if not completely out of place. Especially with an entirely new cast of X-Men characters. We know for now that Marvel Studios has no plans on having the X-Men make their way into the MCU till at least 2021, so there’s still time to figure a way to bring the team into the fold. As for Deadpool, one of the ways they could have Deadpool enter into the MCU is by explaining his appearance as him being displaced by multiversal travel. He could play his entire involvement with the previous series and timeline off as a joke.
It’s unclear whether Disney would be alright with that level of metanarrative humour, seeing that it might derail or confuse its audience. Furthermore, the Deadpool films have become a sort of mini-universe onto itself. If Deadpool makes the leap over to the MCU, would the same Colossus of the first film be there too? Would Firefist, Cabal and Negasonic Teenage Warhead tag along? Is the X-Force film hinted in Deadpool 2 still on the table? Needless to say, there are some complications that would need to be worked out to accommodate Deadpool into the MCU.
I mean there is always the lazy man way of just pretending like Deadpool has been in the MCU all this while. Another way to have Deadpool in the MCU, though it would be an incredibly stupid and shortsighted move, would be to simply recast the character. That would absolutely kill any momentum or goodwill derived from the previous two films but it would tidy up the canon. Right but let’s forget about canon, timelines and multiverses for a moment. It probably wouldn’t matter if Disney’s Marvel Studios can’t find a way to have Deadpool in the MCU for tonal or thematic reasons.
Hitting The Fourth Wall
It’s safe to say our friend Deadpool here is quite a risque character, in both personality and presence. That being said, Disney has had a checkered past when it comes to taking risky ventures. One of the more notable cases of Disney’s conservative streak being when Edgar left the Ant-Man production due to creative differences that Disney had with the British director. In an interview with Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, Wright expressed the studio’s inability to allow him to follow through with his vision, saying that “I wanted to make a Marvel movie, but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie.” He eventually started to wonder what he wasn’t even doing on set.
Then there was the time Disney replaced Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with Ron Howard for Solo: A Star Wars Story. The duo directors’ “improvisational and highly collaborative creative process” didn’t go well with Lucasfilm and Disney. They wanted something a little more traditional compared to Lord and Miller’s signature balls-to-the-walls humour. The two are known for breaking the fourth wall and making satirical jokes with regards to the very film being made. 22 Jump Street is chalked full of self-aware humour from its “Cate Blanchett” budget jokes to the seemingly endless gag of sequels teased during the end credits.
To Disney’s credit, they were willing to take a chance with James Gunn’s Guardian of the Galaxy, a relatively unknown property that Gunn planned on turning into a sci-fi space action comedy. They even signed off on Gunn making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a uncharacteristically touching and hilarious family drama that dealt with themes of trauma and identity. So there are instances in which Disney is willing to make a gamble as long as they know it’ll pay off and won’t majorly affect the rest of the moving parts they have set up.
Which is why I believe if Deadpool was to show up in the MCU, he’d be one giant ass wrench in the Marvel movie machine. I mean as out-there as the Guardians films were, they didn’t break canon and still fed into the overall Infinity Saga. Deadpool, on the other hand, makes it his job to screw around with canon, break the fourth wall and deconstruct tropes and narratives. Disney would throw a fit if they had Deadpool denigrate their name, franchise and corporate culture, in the title sequence alone!
The other alternative, and again just as ridiculous the recast idea, would be to ask Ryan Reynolds to tone down the vulgarity, meta-humour and overall satirical nature of Deadpool. Fans everywhere would most likely perceive that as a betrayal to the character and Disney will have to deal with that backlash. They can only hope that it’ll draw in new fans and younger audiences to compensate for it.
In short, no, absolutely 100% no. There’s room for a new X-Men and a new timeline in the wake of Endgame. However in terms of canon, creative integrity and cultural value there just isn’t much room for Deadpool to manoeuvre in the MCU. Something would have to give. It’ll either muck up the pre-established MCU timeline with plot contrivances or sacrifice Deadpool at the altar of profit. In any case, someone (or maybe even everyone) will not be happy. If they want to perhaps reference Deadpool in a tongue-in-cheek manner as being off in some distant and strange universe then that’s fine. But to bring him into the fold though? It’s best to leave him out of the MCU and to merely let Deadpool be Deadpool.