Deadpool is gearing up a for a big opening weekend after months of buzz for the R-rated superhero movie culminated in it earning generally positive early reviews. Reportedly, Fox is so confident in Deadpool‘s success they’ve already greenlit a sequel, with screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick already hard at work on the script — which the studio will officially announce in the coming days.
Even this early on, a Deadpool sequel makes a lot of sense, especially if Fox is serious about expanding this new pocket of their X-Men universe. There’s also the opportunity for a sequel to improve on Deadpool‘s failings — which while few, have basically boiled down to Deadpool being a tad too conventional, holding back from embracing the character’s full potential.
One of those aspects where Deadpool plays it safe is by putting the widely-accepted as pansexual Wade Wilson in a heterosexual relationship. That isn’t to say his relationship with Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa doesn’t push the boundaries of what’s generally seen from heternormative couples in mainstream films, but a male hero with a female love interest is all too typical.
Still, even if Deadpool’s pansexuality isn’t a major point of the film, it wasn’t simply forgotten by the filmmakers. Speaking with Variety at the film’s New York screening, Reese said they knew they wanted to “honor” Deadpool’s sexuality in the movie, but admitted to doing so in “subtle ways.” Producer Simon Kinberg, too, said: “There’s veiled references to it in this film. It’s in the DNA of the character.” Only T.J. Miller ever went so far as to adamantly proclaim their Deadpool was pansexual, but it’s evident that facet of the character has been toned down for his big budget, blockbuster debut.
However, star Ryan Reynolds remains open to further exploring Deadpool’s pansexuality, telling Variety: “I love that about Deadpool. I love that he can break any boundary. In the future, I hope we get to do that more.” Reynolds goes on to say it would “nice” if Deadpool had a boyfriend in the future, adding: “I certainly wouldn’t be the guy standing in the way of that. That would be great.”
It’s encouraging to hear those involved — in particular Reynolds, who was such a force in making Deadpool happen — speak so candidly about Deadpool’s fluid sexuality. For too long, straight has been the Hollywood default, and while certain films and roles highlight LGBTQ characters, the disparity remains staggering. Certainly among superheroes, heterosexuality remains the norm, but Deadpool isn’t one to conform and could perhaps be the first mainstream superhero to begin challenging that trend.
Then again, superhero movies’ reluctance to include prominent queer characters likely stems more from financial reasons than social ones, seeing as the overseas market makes up a significant portion of a film’s box office haul. China, especially, has grown into the dominate foreign market and isn’t as tolerant of homosexuality, which could pose a problem were a major studio’s superhero film to star a gay character. Of course, Deadpool is already banned in China for its excessive violence, nudity, and language, so it’s not as if giving Deadpool a boyfriend or two would have made much of a difference this time around.
In the future, audiences may see a Deadpool whose love can truly know no bounds, but at least for now, Deadpool could stand as the most sexually progressive superhero film to date (in its own raunchy, dirty, foul-mouthed way), and that’s not anything to be scoffed at.
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.