Marvel may have shut down Donald Glover’s animated Deadpool show, but FX CEO John Landgraf believes the company will eventually revisit the idea and make the series happen. Deadpool fans were excited when they heard Glover and his brother Stephen, the creative team behind the acclaimed FX series Atlanta, were developing an animated version of Deadpool for the same network. But fans' dreams of a hilarious, highly adult Deadpool animated series airing on one of cable's most envelope-pushing networks were shattered when the project was abruptly canceled.
Shortly after the cancellation, both Glovers made statements intimating that Marvel and not FX was responsible for shutting down their version of Deadpool. Donald Glover went so far as to release fake script pages parodying Marvel’s decision, while Stephen Glover indicated the company was simply uncomfortable with the extreme nature of his and Donald’s take on Deadpool, whose humor Stephen likened to Rick and Morty. The original Deadpool comic book is of course noted for its violence and language, as are Fox’s Deadpool movies, which have grossed a combined $1.5 billion worldwide.
Despite Marvel’s refusal to let the Glovers have at Deadpool, at least one person involved in the whole canceled animated series affair believes the project will eventually happen. Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, FX CEO John Landgraf said he thinks sooner or later Marvel will revisit the idea and go forward with an animated Deadpool series (via Variety):
“I think that Marvel will revive it because they have the rights. They own the IP and they have the rights to do an animated adult series based on any of the X-Men characters, and based on Deadpool specifically.”
Landgraf also made it clear that FX would have absolutely gone ahead with Donald and Stephen Glovers’ Deadpool had Marvel given the okay. All signs indicate that the Glovers had a vision for Deadpool that would have pushed the boundaries even more than the movies when it comes to extreme content, but Marvel simply got cold feet when they realized just how far the writing team wanted to go.
Of course, the dark shadow looming over this whole story is the monolithic presence of Disney. Marvel is tied to Disney via the MCU, and now even Deadpool is set to be folded into the Disney empire thanks to the company’s merger with Fox. Fans have already begun wringing their hands over fears that future Deadpool/X-Force movies will be watered down now that Disney owns Fox. As Landgraf said, it’s possible Marvel could ultimately relent and let a Deadpool animated show happen, but all things considered it seems unlikely that this prospective series will be anywhere near as crazy as what Donald and Stephen Glover seemed to be aiming for.
In a sense, Deadpool is the victim of its own success. With the movies making so much money, Marvel has reason to be protective of the IP and very selective about who they give stewardship over the character. And after the Disney merger, Marvel has even more reason to be careful about how they manage their characters' images (and by extension their own). Will there ever be a Deadpool animated series? It seems the answer is a very strong maybe. But will that series reflect hardcore fans' vision of what the character should be? It appears unlikely.