Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld revealed the famous test footage that was created to pitch the original film was shot with Ryan Reynolds the weekend Green Lantern opened. While the Deadpool movies may be huge now, the first film had a famously tricky birth. Reynolds had wanted to make a live-action Deadpool movie prior to appearing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he claims he was essentially pushed into taking the movie with the loose promise of a solo Deadpool spinoff somewhere down the line.
Origins’ botched take on the character is infamous to this day, to the point that it's a recurring joke in the movies. From there, a script was written for a Deadpool movie, and Reynolds shot some test footage with director Tim Miller to pitch the studio. Sadly, then Fox head honcho Tom Rothman didn’t get the appeal of the character, so it lingered in development hell. The test footage then leaked in 2014, and after near universal praise, the film was greenlit within a few months.
To this day, the identity of the Deadpool test footage leaker has yet to be revealed, with all of the key suspects denying it was them. In a new Q&A with Collider, creator Rob Liefeld claims Fox is totally aware of who leaked the teaser, but have chosen not to do anything about it, and revealed Reynolds actually shot the footage the weekend another of his comic book movie projects was opening.
I would go watch that footage at Tim’s studio for three years. People forget! That footage was filmed in 2011. Ryan filmed that the weekend Green Lantern came out. I was at Blur studios. Ryan filmed that the weekend Green Lantern was opening, that’s how old that footage is!
Green Lantern was poised to launch a major new franchise, but the movie proved to be a huge critical and commercial disappointment. A planned sequel never happened, and Reynolds himself has spoken many times about how the movie just didn’t work. Reynolds has since worked several cutting in-jokes about Green Lantern into both Deadpool movies – including a post-credits gag in Deadpool 2 that’s arguably the funniest joke in the entire movie.
It’s a strange piece of serendipity that Reynolds shot test footage for what would become his crowning success on the same weekend Green Lantern opened. The overwhelming response to the leaked footage unquestionably led to Fox greenlighting the project, and Deadpool is already one of the biggest R-rated franchises in movie history. The character will return next for the X-Force movie, though Reynolds has claimed a solo Deadpool 3 may not happen.