In a recent interview, Ryan Reynolds gave an update on plans for a starring Marvel’s fourth-wall-breaking “Merc With a Mouth,” Deadpool. Reynolds confirmed that a script has been written, and that said script is the one that was leaked online. According to Reynolds, the film is a “risky property,” one in which the protagonist “knows he’s in a movie…he names studio executives.”
This meta-fictional behavior would not be out of line for Deadpool – and probably a welcome departure for fans from the poorly received iteration of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In the comic book world, Deadpool is known for addressing himself, the other characters, and even the readers themselves not just as a maniac in a mask and tights, but as a maniac who’s hand-drawn and made of ink. Most depictions of the character have displayed his irreverence for the fourth wall, including his recent self-titled video game, and his appearance in the direct-to-DVD film Hulk Vs (2009). Origins: Wolverine relegated Reynolds and Deadpool a minor supporting role, and while the character did maintain his humor (at least, until his mouth is sewn shut), he never displayed the comic book version’s bizarre sense of self-awareness; that fact, plus Deadpool’s drastically altered appearance gave the impression that he was an in-name-only character.
Most comic book fans, and a decent number of casual film goers were left wanting after viewing Deadpool’s debut, and the follow-up X-Men movies, X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine made no references to Origins: Wolverine.
Along with the meta humor and naming of names, the Deadpool film faces another hurdle: the desired R-rating. R-rated superhero films have not had the best track record when it comes to earnings. While Kick-Ass (2010) more than tripled its budget at the box office, its follow-up in 2013 did not gross near that total. Watchmen (2009) also underperformed, and 2008’s Punisher: War Zone (another Marvel property) was a flop.
Reynolds has previously expressed his enthusiasm for a solo Deadpool film, so his heart is clearly in it. If nothing else, the film has a big name supporting it.