When writer and artist Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza created the Deadpool character and introduced him into Marvel Comics with New Mutants #98 no one expected that the character would be leading his own blockbuster action film almost 25 years later to the day. That issue hit comic stands February 10, 1991 and as we learned yesterday, Deadpool will open in theaters on February 12, 2016.
Early development began on the film not long after Ryan Reynolds played a version of the character in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Riding off the success of Zombieland, which also hit in 2009, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were tapped to put together the Deadpool script and in 2011, special effects guru Tim Miller, who had worked on X-Men, X-Men 2 and Daredevil for the studio previously, was tapped to direct. More recently, Miller help construct the opening action-packed prologue of Thor: The Dark World.
Miller and his special VFX production house, Blur Studio, put together conceptual test footage to show Fox's decision-makers what the the character could look like on screen and what sort of tone a feature film could hit, striking the right balance of action and humor. For years we heard the occasional description of the footage by Liefeld, who's active in interacting with fans, the community and others in the industry, and then that footage leaked online in July during San Diego Comic-Con. Needless to say, it won viewers over, so much so that Twentieth Century Fox came out of nowhere last night with the surprise announcement that they were adding Deadpool to their release calendar. After all this time, what must Rob Liefeld be thinking?
"I am absolutely beyond thrilled that Deadpool has been officially announced!" he told Newsarama when asked to comment.
"I'm thrilled for Tim Miller, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds as well as all the guys at Blur Studio! This is a tremendous achievement for them! Rhett and Paul wrote a brilliant, and I don't throw that word around loosely, a brilliant script! Audiences are going to go on the ride of their collective lives with this film as they envisioned it! Tim Miller is a genius, he is brilliant as everyone who witnessed the leaked footage witnessed! There is so much more to come! Deadpool fans will freak out when they see all that Tim and the boys have in store for them!
"This is a huge triumph for all the fans that supported my work on New Mutants, X-Force over the years! The fans deserve this amazing gift from film makers who have proven they have what the fans desire! Very exciting! I know where Me and a gazillion fans will be on February 12th, 2016!"
No surprise there! Liefeld hopefully stands to gain some sort of royalties for the film use and merchandising of his own creation. The highlight of course is the namedropping of the director, writers and star Ryan Reynolds who are all expected to return for the production. With X-Men: Apocalypse coming in May 2016, just a few short months later, Deadpool needs to begin pre-production very soon with principal photography beginning early 2015. No official casting announcements have been made quite yet.
For fans, the big question is whether or not we could see any of Rob Liefeld's other creations introduced in Deadpool? We're thinking of Cable and Domino. Who do you want to see in Deadpool?
Deadpool is scheduled to hit theaters on February 12, 2016, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, The Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018. In other Fox/Marvel film news, Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, followed by Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th, 2017.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Header from art by Rob Liefeld.