WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Deadpool 2.
Deadpool 2 director David Leitch has addressed the decision to kill off Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). For a movie chock full of shocking deaths, the killing of Deadpool's main squeeze was one of the most surprising -- and controversial. After all, in the first Deadpool, she was defiant and outspoken, breaking the damsel-in-distress mold. In the sequel, she was abruptly killed off in the first 15 minutes.
It also caught audiences off guard thanks in part to the film's marketing campaign, which featured her character prominently. Even though the mid-credits scene does undo Vanessa's death, fans are nonetheless upset over the "fridging" of her character. This is where a female character endures some kind of tragedy solely as a plot device for the male protagonist. After all, it did take Vanessa dying to prompt Deadpool to start his whole emotional journey about starting a family.
In an interview with ComicBook, Leitch explained why they chose to kill off Vanessa. For Leitch, it was a decision that best served the overall story:
"It's Deadpool's movie, and you need to take everything away from him to humanize him. He can be grating and he can be sort of offensive and he can be all these things, but you need an emotional hook that grounds the movie that we can go on this journey with this character and experience Deadpool."
Though he's sympathetic to the fans' reactions, Leitch is quick to point out his numerous other projects with strong female leads. This includes directing the Cold War action flick Atomic Blonde, which stars Charlize Theron as a brutal spy. Leitch's other work aside, killing off a major female character just for the benefit of the male hero's story does seem a little bit antiquated. Especially for a franchise like Deadpool, which is usually so eager to subvert overused tropes like this one. Leitch also argues that Vanessa "doesn't leave the movie," even despite her death. And while she does appear to Deadpool during a near-death vision, it doesn't necessarily rectify her character's "fridging."
Although, when you consider that Deadpool going back in time and saving her life is officially canon, there is a chance we'll see more of Vanessa in the larger X-Men universe. Deadpool 2 co-writer Rhett Reese has said that the character could take a cue from her comic book counterpart and don the mantle of Copycat. Even though Deadpool 2 has been killing it at the box office, the Merc with the Mouth's next outing is looking to be a straightforward X-Force movie. If that's the case, then there's a real chance that Vanessa could start getting some superpowers of her own.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Feb 14, 2019
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Gambit (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019