After years of lingering in development hell, the solo Deadpool film is finally on a clear path to the big screen. Last year, some well-timed concept footage director Tim Miller strung together leaked on the web, and the overwhelming positive reception launched the #WhyNotDeadpool movement, which was instrumental in getting the project the green light. With Fox looking to expand their X-Men film franchise, Deadpool is starting production soon, so it's ready for theaters in February 2016.
The prevailing thought is that the February release date will give the filmmakers a little more leeway than they might have in a traditional summer blockbuster slot. One of Deadpool's defining characteristics is his absurd, irreverent sense of dark humor, which includes elements (like fourth-wall breaking) that aren't what you may call "standard" in the comic book genre. Luckily, that hope is shaping up to be true, with star Ryan Reynolds promising loyalty to the comic canon.
While speaking with Shortlist, Reynolds expressed his belief that Deadpool is in good creative hands with Miller and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (whose script has been subject to much praise):
“I’m incredibly happy about it —we’ve got a director that understands that world and writers with a slavish devotion to the canon of that character. That’s the most important aspect: it’s made in a way the most critical of fanboys could embrace. Well, that’s the hope.”
This isn't the first time Reynolds has discussed the loyalty to the Deadpool comic canon being the chief driving force behind this film. And honestly, that's what fans of the character want to see. Wade Wilson made his official cinematic debut in the much maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which took several artistic liberties with the character and ultimately failed to do him justice. Correcting previous wrongs and doing the Merc With a Mouth the "right" way this time around will be a key selling point in drawing audiences to the new film.
The one part of Reynolds' quote that may raise some eyebrows is where he says the writers have "slavish devotion" to the source material. Since this is an adaptation, it's expected Miller and his team will pull from the comics, but they don't necessarily need to recreate panels from the page. As we've mentioned several times, superhero movies frequently deviate from what they're based on in order to make a more seamless transition to the screen. It's more important for filmmakers to get the spirit of the character right than recreating comic story lines like they're adapting a novel.
And frankly, it sounds like Reynolds is referring to that Deadpool spirit than an actual narrative arc when he talks about canon devotion. The meaning of his statement is probably more about the director's love and admiration for Wilson than anything else. From the beginning, Reynolds has maintained that Miller understands what makes the Deadpool character work and why he became a fan-favorite, and anyone who's seen the test footage would say it displayed some kind of loyalty to the comics. This quote is merely a reaffirming statement for those following the project to further drum up excitement.
It's safe to say that Miller, Reynolds, and everyone else involved have been playing at the fans' tempo so far. Comic enthusiasts have been clamoring for this film for year; and with the success of recent irreverent comic adaptations like Guardians of the Galaxy and Kingsman: The Secret Service, casual moviegoers could find something they enjoy in Deadpool as well. We'll have to see how it all plays out, but right now, there's little reason to doubt this is the right group for the job.
Deadpool will be in theaters February 12, 2016.
Header image by arrcs @ DevaintArt