Deadpool 2 launches into theaters this week and is plotting an impressive opening, with delighted critics already calling it a worthy follow-up, but imagine the brilliant cameos and action scenes that could’ve been. As it stands, the original shattered predictions with its meager $58 million budget, plotting the course for an unexpectedly prosperous Marvel movie franchise.
The original Deadpool was directed by Tim Miller, and all forecasting points to its success as a fluke. However, Ryan Reynolds finally discovered his superhero calling, with fans and neophytes alike celebrating the character’s comedic fourth-wall breaking antics, R-rated violence, and over-eager sexual appetite. Having since raised over $750 million globally, the Deadpool franchise is alive and well, with a collection of hilariously inspired ad campaigns ushering in the highly anticipated sequel.
One would expect that, this time around, the Deadpool 2 filmmakers were handed a blank check, but it appears that ambitions are still being reigned in. Co-writer Rhett Rheese, who also worked on the first film, weighed in on the potential mutant mayhem that might’ve been, if only the budget allowed it.
“Mr. X was one, a villain. Black Tom was much expanded in an earlier draft. I think those were the only two that I think played a prominent role. Sluggo had a bigger role. Sluggo's in the movie, in the prison. He was in a bigger role in the prison in earlier drafts where there was more mayhem. There were versions early on where in the prison, when Cable broke in, all the mutant collars failed and so all of a sudden all the mutants had their abilities and it was just this mayhem of every mutant fighting every other mutant with every ability possible, but budget - budget kind of brought us back down to earth there and we did it a little more traditionally. The collars stayed on, but those are probably the only ones that had a bigger role that that dropped out.”
Mr. X is a bloodthirsty, death-obsessed, psychically-powered mutant; the tragedy is that the Deadpool film franchise might be one of the only places that could serve as a sensible home for him. As for Banshee’s cousin Black Tom Cassidy, early reporting on Deadpool 2 implied the more significant role described in Rheese’s comment. And then there's strongman Sluggo, who joins Wire in the group of cut or diminished characters, and he's relegated to a quick cameo in the sequel.
Maybe budget concerns on their own should be given an honorary co-director credit in this franchise, as the first Deadpool film was similarly hounded and eventually transformed by financial hesitations. Garrison Kane was originally set to feature in the film, but the elaborate effects required for his bionic arms in every scene prompted his removal. And the glorious set piece at the end, where Deadpool forgets his bag of guns in the cab and simply has to make do with his swords? A clever script mutation added to reduce the gun wrangling and effects budget on set.
In the end, we trust the filmmakers, and the critical response indicates that these were the right decisions. Still, the thought of an all-out R-rated superpowered brawl in a mutant prison seems like a tragically missed opportunity, no matter how you (*ahem*) slice it.
- 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