Deadpool has been steadily generating positive buzz since test footage leaked last year, and that buzz has exploded now that the first red-band trailer for the film has garnered over 22 million views on YouTube in just a few weeks. The excitement for Deadpool has been so overwhelming, in fact, that Twentieth Century Fox is already seriously considering a sequel that would feature Cable – another character commonly associated with the X-Men and Deadpool in the comics.
Twentieth Century Fox is the studio behind the mega-successful X-Men franchise that has spawned multiple spin-offs and, potentially, a live-action TV series. However, the future of Fox’s ‘X-Men Universe’ on the silver screen is somewhat up in the air beyond the release of 2017’s Wolverine sequel, which is set to be the last time Hugh Jackman plays the iconic character.
Fox is poised to finally crossover their primary X-Men franchise with other Marvel characters that they own the cinematic rights to, such as the Fantastic Four. There have reportedly been talks about making a Fantastic Four/X-Men team-up movie for the summer of 2018, which is a follow-up to the already announced Fantastic Four 2 – set for a June 9, 2017 release. However, considering how badly the troubled Fantastic Four reboot is bombing both critically and commercially, it’s difficult to see Fox going ahead with their plans for a sequel and major team-up with the X-Men. Although, crossing over the Fantastic Four and their cast of very talented actors (Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell) with the X-Men may be the best way to salvage that franchise… and keep its rights away from Marvel Studios.
Where does Deadpool fit in to all of this?
The reason why Fox even owns the rights to Deadpool is because, despite the popularity of the titular character on its own, he is essentially part of the X-Men. Wade Wilson underwent the same ‘Weapon X’ procedure that gave Wolverine his healing powers and has been part of the X-Force, a mutant militia of sorts. Putting the ‘merc with the mouth’ in an X-Men movie is a natural progression of the movie universe Fox is cultivating (and has been done before in a movie that won’t be mentioned by name because it almost killed the character’s chances of ever getting a movie) and is almost guaranteed to happen if Deadpool is even remotely as successful as it’s expected to be.
Deadpool has the potential to be the lynchpin franchise Fox wanted Fantastic Four to be, reinvigorating a connected cinematic universe that includes seven total X-Men and Wolverine movies (and two other Fantastic Four movies that aren’t apart of this universe’s continuity). A character like Deadpool can also take over for Wolverine in this universe once Hugh Jackman is through playing him. Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of ‘Pool seems to have the gravitas and charisma that set Jackman’s Wolverine apart from the other members of the X-Men. While it’s likely that Fox recasts Wolverine at some point sooner rather than later, having Reynolds as Deadpool alongside Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X (both actors are rumored to have agreed to contract extensions with Fox) is an intriguing dynamic that can sustain the universe for years to come.
Fox seems to be confident in the potential of Deadpool as a franchise and may decide to give the June 9, 2017 date that Fantastic Four 2 is currently occupying to Deadpool 2, assuming that the ‘merc with the mouth’ can live up to the hype his movie has generated. It bodes well that Deadpool is truly a passion project for Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller, and that they seem to be sticking true to the vulgar and fourth-wall-breaking nature of the character. The crude humor and graphic violence Deadpool is accustomed to dishing out seems difficult to fully integrate into the X-Men Universe, given that it’s primarily a PG-13 landscape. However, there are ways to work around that without completely watering the character down. If Wolverine can get away with telling Magneto and Professor X to [expletive] themselves in X-Men: First Class, then Deadpool can surely get away with worse.
It remains to be seen what happens with Fox’s X-Men Universe as a whole, as the studio needs to consider life post-Hugh Jackman, the colossal failure of Fantastic Four, and whether or not Deadpool will be a success that’s worth exploring more (it will be). Deadpool is sure to be a stand-alone hit with fans and has the potential to drag Fox into an exciting new phase of the X-Men Universe, as long as Fox doesn’t make the super-suit green… or animated.
Deadpool will hit theaters on February 12, 2016.
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