Who leaked the Deadpool test footage? That's the question that's hung over the big screen success of the '90s comics icon since a short clip of some concept footage leaked online and created such hysteria that, according to Ryan Reynolds, "Within twenty-four hours, we had a green light." The video, only a few minutes in length, was a CGI version of the highway action scene from the movie, in which Deadpool kills a bunch of a suited cronies in a gruesome high-speed sequence, complete with wise-cracking and fourth wall-breaking. Not only does he look the part in his signature red-and-black spandex but, crucially, actor Ryan Reynolds' delivery of the mercenary's acerbic humor was completely on-point, really bringing the character to life.
Ever since that footage went viral, the identity of the mystery leaker has been the topic of much discussion across the information super-highway. Not that anybody's complaining - quite the opposite. Fans just want to know where to send the thank-you cards for what's become one of the most-loved comic book movies. But whomever it was, they put their career on the line in the hopes of proving Deadpool was a film worth making.
If fans had rejected the footage, then Fox would've been made to look careless and it's likely some heads would've rolled behind-the-scenes in the search for the culprit. As it stands, everyone ended up making a lot of money instead, so Fox seems happy to let this one go... But that hasn't stopped us wondering.
- This Page: The Leak, The Reaction, The Green Light
- Page 2: Who Leaked Deadpool's Test Footage?
The Leaked Test Footage Is What Got Deadpool Made
Comic book movies are usually a very meticulous, studio-organized affair, and the way Deadpool came about was something that really threw the entire process for a loop. Ryan Reynolds, the star, had been trying to get a Deadpool solo flick green-lit for more than a decade, to no avail. Fox were interested in the character, putting a Deadpool spinoff into development after the success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in which Reynolds played a heavily altered and much-derided version of the Merc With A Mouth. However, Reynolds' leading man credentials took a substantial hit with 2011's Green Lantern for DC and Warner Bros., a critical and box office bomb, souring Fox on him shouldering another big superhero production.
Ever the true believer, Reynolds kept pushing behind-the-scenes, meeting with multiple possible directors before Tim Miller signed on to make the movie his directorial debut. Miller was a respected creator in Hollywood, his special effects company Blur Studio having produced work for several major releases. Together, he and Reynolds, along with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, made a CGI mock-up using one of the bigger set-pieces of exactly what they wanted to do with a Deadpool movie to show executives. Unfortunately, said executives were even less convinced than before - the fourth-wall-breaking humor and hardcore violence considered just too outlandish for a comic book movie. The footage sat on the shelf as Marvel Studios movies continued to break bank and Fox continued to toy with using Deadpool in some sort of bit-part for one of the X-Men movies.
Then came July 2014, when the CG-clip Reynolds et al had been holding onto found its way onto online video providers and swiftly became a viral sensation. Fans loved it – this was Deadpool exactly as he is on the page. And suddenly Fox's quiet refusal to give Wade Wilson a film became the topic of public outrage. Why had they been denying everyone two-hours of this joy? Did they really think something so offbeat wouldn't draw an audience?
A few weeks later, we learned that Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds had been given the go-ahead to make the gnarliest Deadpool movie they could, based on Reese and Wernick's script. Finally, it was on, and they had the fans and their guardian-leaker to thank. A smooth shoot, more than a few jabs at Fox's mishandling of the X-franchise to date and $738 million later, Deadpool's got an even bigger following that he's ever had with a sequel on the horizon.
And this was very likely always the plan.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018