With two Golden Globe nominations and $783.1 million at the box office to its name, it seems silly in retrospect that Fox was reluctant to green light Deadpool. However, the Ryan Reynolds superhero vehicle infamously spent several years lingering in development hell and only got off the ground when some test footage conspicuously made its way online and gave viewers a taste of what director Tim Miller had in mind. The fan approval of the material was so enthusiastic, the studio had no choice but to forge ahead with the film, and now they have a very lucrative franchise centered around a great character.
The Deadpool test footage has gone down in film legend, but one thing that has not been revealed yet is the identity of the one who posted it on the web. In the years since, moviegoers have formulated their own theories about the incident, and now Reynolds has chimed in… and he’s fairly certain he is not the guilty party.
In an interview with Variety, the actor discussed the test footage leak, careful to not definitively name any names. “I have an entertainment lawyer. I’ll leave it at that,” he stated. That said, Reynolds knows it had to have been someone close to the production:
“I know that one of us did it. There’s four of us. There’s me, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Tim Miller, the director. One of us did it. We all sort of said at the beginning, ‘Someone should leak it. Someone should leak it’…but I’m 70 percent sure it wasn’t me.”
Deadpool was a passion project for the quartet Reynolds mentions, as he, Miller, and writers Reese and Wernick worked tirelessly to get their vision for the Merc With a Mouth off the ground. It isn’t entirely surprising to hear that one of them was responsible for the leak, but who was ultimately behind it is a secret that will forever be locked in the vault. Instead, the creative team would rather credit the fans for getting Deadpool made, with Reynolds making note of the “enormous groundswell” that ensued once the footage went viral. There is a lot of truth to that sentiment. If the leaked sizzle reel landed with a thud, it’s unlikely Fox ever moves ahead with the film, but since people loved it, the studio was convinced Deadpool would do well.
While it would be fun to know one day who the culprit was, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that the test footage got out, and Fox now has a lucrative and profitable cash cow that they have big plans for. Regardless of who ultimately pulled the trigger, it’s safe to say this was a win-win for all involved. Audiences got a refreshingly subversive superhero film, Reynolds made good on his comic book redemption, and the studio executives get to enjoy the bottom line. If Deadpool 2 is anything like its predecessor, it’ll be a treat for everyone.