The little foul-mouthed engine that could, Deadpool, has blown away critics and expectations, cruising past Iron Man’s box-office notch and pulling in over $700 million globally. Just over a month after its release, Deadpool’s blend of superhero action, risqué humor, and well-developed characters has left its indelible mark on superhero cinema. And as 20th Century Fox tallies up its receipts, a sequel is already on the way.
With the film’s success, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and director Tim Miller are in a unique position. Not only will they be scripting and directing the Deadpool follow up, but the studio will likely give them something resembling carte blanche with regards to the script and stylistic choices. The big fear, however, is as always: will pressure to up the ante for Deadpool 2 – especially with larger than life X-Man Cable on board - lead to a case of sequelitis?
Not according to Miller. The Deadpool auteur recently spoke about his concepts for Cable at the Silicon Valley Comic Con with Comic Book.com, and said that doesn’t feel that trying to outdo the first film is the right direction to head in. Miller says Deadpool’s success wasn’t really about putting a lot of effects onscreen or building action set pieces:
“I don’t think bigger is better. You tell a story that's organic to the character. Deadpool's world doesn't mean you have to go bigger. I don't think the fans of the movie like it because we had big effects. It had a lot of heart…a lot of humor [and] a main character that's different than anything else that was out there. [Going bigger] wouldn't be honest to who he is and why people like him."
Of course with time-traveling mutant Cable in the mix, as well as a wealth of storylines available including the shared Cable and Deadpool comic book arc, it would clearly be tempting to craft a sprawling superhero epic – which wouldn't be entirely out of line. Regarding Nathan Summers, though, Miller seems to already have an idea of who his Cable will be. Has the fan debate on actor choice affected his perspective, though? Yes and no, Miller says:
“Yeah, you listen to it, but it's like if you're a Republican or a Democrat. If you have an idea of what you want government to be, then that's kind of what you hear — to support your own ideas. I have an idea of what Cable should be from reading the comics. So, someone in Des Moines, Iowa, may have a different idea of Cable from reading the comics. I may not like his idea. I might read it, but I may not do it. I would say I listen to all of them, but I don't look to that to guide me. I look to the comic and why people like these characters.”
Miller’s comments ring accurate to the challenges of developing any comic book character for the screen. It sounds as though Miller’s Cable will be, much like Deadpool, very comic-book oriented, which is a good sign. Even though Cable is probably too musclebound for most actors to play, he also has a very distinct personality. As a time traveler cursed by Apocalypse, he has a unique take on reality, as well as a sense of right and wrong which often contrasts Deadpool’s more unpredictable and slightly looser morality. The deadly pair's on-again off-again antagonism throughout their shared story arc really served to developed both characters and bring them lasting popularity.
Of course, Miller, the screenwriters, and Fox will likely make a few modifications. Despite the attempts of companies like Marvel or DC to lock down a character’s general look and feel, each new artist and writer who contributes to a property adds their own style and persona to the DNA of the character. Miller, Reese, and Wernick have a great track record going with Deadpool, so hopefully their commitment to the character's flavor and origins will keep the feel Cable as relatively organic as his cohort.
Deadpool is now in theaters; X-Men: Apocalypse will open in U.S. theaters on May 27th, 2016, followed by Wolverine 3 on March 3rd, 2017 and unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.