With the Disney/Fox acquisition finally complete, will Deadpool join the Marvel Cinematic Universe - or go it alone? The deal between Disney and Fox has been in the works for over a year, but at last it's complete, which means the film rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four franchises have reverted to Marvel Studios. While X-Men: Dark Phoenix is still sure to release (Disney has pledged to release all completed Fox projects) the fate of New Mutants is a lot more unclear. There's been some discussion Disney will choose to drop that on Hulu rather than opt for a theatrical release.
A Fantastic Four relaunch is inevitable, with Marvel sure to want to introduce major villains such as Doctor Doom and Galactus into the MCU. The X-Men are a little bit trickier, given the concept of "mutants" will drastically reshape the fabric of the shared cinematic universe; as such, it's probably going to be several years before fans get to see an X-Man standing side-by-side with Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, or Black Panther. Kevin Feige has openly reminded fans that it's not just a matter of what he called "marquee names" like Wolverine or Professor Xavier, too. "There are hundreds of names on those documents, on those agreements," he noted. Given Fox has been using the key X-Men since the year 2000, it wouldn't be a surprise if Marvel opted to introduce some third-tier characters before moving on to the more famous mutants.
But what does this mean for Deadpool? The '90s comic icon has had something of a revival, ever since test footage leaked online and Fox tentatively green lit a movie following the positive response from fans. The first film, which released in 2016, was an absolute hit, grossing a stunning $783 million. It was then matched by Deadpool 2, which grossed $785 million. It's clear the character is popular, and Ryan Reynolds has come to define the role in the same way Robert Downey Jr. defines Tony Stark. But the Merc With A Mouth doesn't quite fit with the tone, style, and(above all) family-friendly vibe of the MCU... so what will Disney do with him?
- This Page: Deadpool's Future At Disney Is Secure
- Next Page: Can Deadpool Be Part Of The MCU?
Deadpool Has A Proper Future Post-Disney
Disney CEO Bob Iger has always insisted the House of Mouse wants to keep on making Deadpool movies. Back in December 2017, shortly after talks between Disney and Fox first went public, he fielded questions from the press about Wade Wilson's fate. "There may be an opportunity for an R-rated Marvel brand," he noted, "as long as we let audiences know what’s coming." More recently, during a Quarter 1 earnings call for the 2019 fiscal year, he further stressed that he believes future Deadpool sequels will be R-rated. He pointed out that there is "certain popularity" with the Deadpool franchise, although he did stress that Marvel would need to be "carefully branding [R-rated films]… so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer."
Disney's logic with Deadpool is pretty simple: why mess with success? It looks as though Deadpool will be the only Fox character not to be rebooted by Disney, with Ryan Reynolds staying on and the movies continuing to be R-rated. What's more, given Iger has stated that he thinks all Marvel properties should be "supervised by one entity," most fans have assumed that means Deadpool will be entering the MCU. "There shouldn't be two Marvels," Iger observed in an interview last September.
Deadpool's Future Clashes With The MCU
The problem, though, is that Deadpool isn't well-suited to the MCU. Although Kevin Feige has suggested R-rated movies are "not out of the question," the fact remains that the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself is not R-rated. That's by design, and not by accident; it's because Marvel aims to produce tentpole four-quadrant blockbusters. Disney itself has a very distinctive brand, one that's aimed at a family audience, and they don't diverge from it. Recent rumors that Black Widow would be Marvel's first R-rated movie proved to be ill-founded, with Feige insisting Marvel never even considered the idea.
Meanwhile, it's important to remember that the Deadpool franchises have other recurring characters than just Wade Wilson. In part, the success of the Deadpool franchise is because Fox assigned just the right actors for the secondary roles as well: Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, Stefan Kapicic as Colossus, Josh Brolin as Cable, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Shioli Kutsuna as Yukio. If Marvel and Disney don't want to mess with success, then they'll need to retain the same secondary cast as well as Ryan Reynolds. But that binds the Deadpool films into a cohesive universe of X-Mansions and Blackbird Jets, of mutant prisons and secret genetic experiments. It doesn't sit well with the current MCU continuity.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019