WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Deadpool 2.
Deadpool 2 would be massively improved if Vanessa didn't die - especially since it means the sequel would avoid the women in refrigerators trope. Deadpool 2 hit theaters this weekend and the sequel to 20th Century Fox's massively successful Deadpool has already proven to be a success. Reviews for Deadpool 2 are on the same level as the original, and the sequel is already breaking box office records. However, Deadpool 2 isn't perfect.
One major criticism of the Deadpool sequel - and, if we're being honest, its predecessor - is how it treats its female characters, particularly Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). The first film ostensibly revolved around the love story of Vanessa and Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), which ended with Vanessa accepting Wade's new appearance and powers, and the pair getting back together. Deadpool 2 picks up with the couple still happily together and beginning to discuss starting a family. However, early on in the movie, Vanessa is killed by a stray bullet when their apartment is attacked.
Vanessa's death is the inciting incident for Deadpool 2, sending Wade on the path to becoming an X-Men trainee and eventually confronting Cable (Josh Brolin) over the fate of the young mutant Russell Collins (Julian Dennison). However, Vanessa's death actually drags down the sequel and further wastes the character, who, in the comics, is a mutant with shapeshifting abilities called Copycat. Deadpool 2 attempts to redeem the choice of killing the character by including an end-credits scene saving Vanessa, keeping her alive for future movies, but this coda proves her death wasn't necessary. As a result, Deadpool 2 would have been greatly improved without Vanessa's death in the first place.
Vanessa Didn't Have to Die
Yes, Vanessa's death is key to setting Deadpool on the path that leads to the entire plot of the sequel. However, there are other ways to set up the storyline of Deadpool 2 that don't involve killing off a main female character. In fact, in an interview with CBR, Deadpool 2 writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who penned the script with Reynolds) revealed that early drafts saw Vanessa break up with Wade. Certainly, a breakup can inspire similar feelings of grief to those displayed by Wade in the first act of Deadpool 2 and the ending would be the same, with Vanessa alive.
However, Vanessa wasn't always supposed to be saved. The writers said the credits scenes were added later, and they weren't part of the original plan. That means Deadpool 2 killed Vanessa and planned to leave her dead. This is an example of the Women in Refrigerators trope (more on that later). The trope is common in Hollywood, but neither its prevalence nor Deadpool 2's end-credits scene redeem the choice to kill Vanessa early on.
Instead, the writers decided the story necessitated Vanessa dying for Wade to be brought to his lowest point at the beginning of the sequel. The ensuing film sees Wade wrestle with immortality, with him wanting to join Vanessa in the afterlife, but needing to make sure his heart is in the right place. This inspires him to become an X-Men trainee, and then to save Russell from Cable, and finally to save Russell from himself. When Wade sacrifices himself for Russell at the end of the film, he's finally allowed to reunite with Vanessa in the afterlife - but Cable uses his time-travel device to bring Wade back and save him.
Related: Deadpool 2's Ending Explained
While Wade's trips to the afterlife would have played out differently, or needed to be cut entirely, if Vanessa lived, Deadpool 2 could have employed some other storytelling technique to explore the psychological effect of Wade's immortality on the antihero. Further, it isn't necessary for Vanessa to die to set Wade on his path in Deadpool 2. Wade potentially becoming a father, and wanting to shape up in order to set a better example for his kid than his own father set for him, would be motivation enough to join the X-Men. It could also serve as motivation to save Russell.
Plus, Vanessa is saved in the Deadpool 2 end-credits scene, anyway. The movie's end-credits scenes rewrite the timeline so that Vanessa lives, and due to the nature of time travel in Deadpool 2, the events of the film would still likely play out the same, or close to the same way. So, if the events of Deadpool 2 could be rewritten within the X-Men timeline and stay nearly the same, the movie itself could have been written without Vanessa dying. Essentially, Deadpool 2 didn't have to kill off Vanessa for the movie to happen. And, in fact, Deadpool 2 would have been better without Vanessa's death.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020