Production on a brand new potential franchise within the X-Men movie universe, the first non-Wolverine one, is underway in Vancouver. It’s called Deadpool and it’s something comic book movie fans should be keeping an eye on because of what it represents for the studio, Twentieth Century Fox.

More than any other X-Men movie to date, Deadpool is a passion project for everyone involved. In fact, that’s the main reason it exists. The outspoken fandom for the Marvel Comics antihero convinced the studio to finally greenlight the long-gestating project and to squeeze it in before their next core franchise installment in next summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

According to Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld, it was also the desire of star Ryan Reynolds to make this movie that helped make it happen too and he frequently thanks fans and the response to director Tim Miller’s conceptual test footage for making it a reality. With shooting about to begin and an exciting cast of likable co-stars in place, Reynolds locked comic book fans in for the ride yesterday by sharing the first official photo of him in the Deadpool costume. And of course, it was a perfect live-action recreation of the comic book design, red and black all over, mask included. And how fitting is this Burt Reynolds pose?

If the test footage up top and Reynolds’ tweets don’t scream Wade Wilson, than nothing will.

And building off of that reveal, Fox launched the official Twitter account (@deadpoolmovie) and website for the Deadpool movie, featuring the first official synopsis and movie logo (previously seen on chairs from the set). So let’s break that down.

[Click to Enlarge]

Deadpool Movie Logo First Look From Fox 1024x436 Official Deadpool Synopsis Hints At Larger X Men Connections

Deadpool’s release date is already set for next February and is beginning production now in Vancouver so unless there’s a delay – and Fox isn’t shy about shuffling dates (just look at Fantastic Four) – expect the Merc with a Mouth in theaters around that time even if it’s a relatively rushed production from greenlight to release. The only way Deadpool was able to be realized this quickly is because it had a star, a director and a script sitting and ready to go for years.

Official Deadpool Synopsis:

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Who is “the man” who nearly destroyed Deadpool? Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones, The Transporter Refueled) is reportedly playing the unnamed villain and fan speculation points towards his character being Garrison Kane, another creation of comic book veterans Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. Like Deadpool (and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine), Kane was a subject of the Weapon X program which enhanced his combative potential by giving him cybernetic arms.

If the rogue experiment referenced in the synopsis is another take (read: retcon) of the Weapon X project as seen in the earlier X-Men movies where Wolverine’s origins are explained (that’s where he got adamantium attached to his body and claws) – and it must be – the Deadpool film may have a more important part to play in the larger X-Men movie universe.

Ryan Reynolds Wade Wilson Swords X Men Origins Wolverine Deadpool Official Deadpool Synopsis Hints At Larger X Men Connections

Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Deadpool not only has the potential to undo the mess that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine by offering a brand new origin for Wade Wilson, but it can offer a better take on Weapon X itself, meaning it can offer – or a least tease – a new Wolverine origin too. That latter part may be especially important due to the timeline alterations resulting from Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. It could be the “out” Fox needs to recast Wolverine now that Hugh Jackman is teasing that Wolverine 3 will be his last time playing the character.

Jackman isn’t shy about admitting the Wolverine character will inevitably be recast and if director Matthew Vaughn stuck around in the director’ chair after X-Men: First Class, his version of Days of Future Past would have been a two-parter that featured a new actor playing the character with Jackman still playing the “older” version.

Can Deadpool do that much for the franchise and help re-introduce Weapon X to explain not only his own powers (healing) and that of the antagonist (if it is Kane), but also reset Wolverine for the future? Since X-Men: Apocalypse takes place in the ’80s, potentially not too far off from when Weapon X operated – and since it hits theaters just a few short months after Deadpool – perhaps there are some important connections to be made there while the rest of the movie takes place in modern times.

[Update (April 1 2015): Ryan Reynolds confirms Deadpool rating with THIS hilarious video! Click to watch!]

Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!

Next: X-Men’s Colossus To Be Played By New Actor in Deadpool

Deadpool is directed by Tim Miller off a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano and TJ Miller.

Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit on October 7 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.

Sources: Fox

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