The MCU"s Post-Endgame Problem Proves Fox"s Deadpool Movie Concerns Right

  • Deadpool's standalone nature was in part because of Fox's concerns about the series fitting into the X-Men universe, a worry the MCU now grapples with via many of its own new heroes.
  • Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool thrives as a self-contained character, a stark contrast to X-Men Origins: Wolverine's portrayal.
  • Deadpool's disconnected nature could make integrating him into the MCU seamless, providing a unique strength.
20th Century Fox had specific concerns about a Deadpool movie early in development, but recent Marvel Cinematic Universe properties have, interestingly, embodied their worries. The Deadpool movie franchise began in 2016 with the titular film – despite its inclusion of two X-Men superheroes – largely existing on its own in the Fox X-Men movie universe. At this time, the MCU timeline was in the midst of Phase 3, with audience investment in the franchise’s continuity and characters at a high point as the films built towards the climactic conclusion of the Infinity Saga.
2016’s Deadpool was a groundbreaking movie, as it not only gave Ryan Reynolds a much-needed second chance at playing Wade Wilson (now far more comic-accurate than his original incarnation in X-Men Origins: Wolverine), but it also proved that R-rated superhero movies could be profitable if done right. Deadpool’s gratuitous fourth wall-breaking and raunchy humor made it highly successful in a year packed with major Marvel and DC film adaptations, leading to two sequels. Following Avengers: Endgame, however, the MCU has struggled with one franchise concern that the Deadpool films have, ultimately, turned into a strength.
2:23 Related All Marvel Movies Releasing In 2024 The Marvel movies releasing in 2024 offer a range of film experiences - and some confusion, due to the changed dates of several incoming installments. Fox Was Worried Deadpool Wouldn't Fit Into The Wider X-Men Movie Narrative Close At the height of the MCU’s popularity, other film studios, like Warner Bros with their DC Extended Universe and 20th Century Fox with their Marvel X-Men movies, sought to match its success with their own shared universe franchises. Fox’s X-Men franchise had recently undergone a soft reboot via X-Men: Days of Future Past, giving it the perfect opportunity to take a chance with a Deadpool movie. According to Ryan Reynolds, one of Fox’s biggest worries with Deadpool was making him fit into the larger X-Men universe, with Reynolds noting in an interview with Junkee:
“Fox’s concern was, ‘we love the character but how does he fit in with the rest of the universe?’. But as soon as they let go of that idea and realized that he doesn’t have to fit in with the rest of the universe, he can be his own thing, then they got behind it.”
Of course, the two released Deadpool films keep their larger X-Men universe connections sparing. Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead play supporting roles in both films, and the post-Days of Future Past X-Men team briefly appear in Deadpool 2 in a visual gag. Deadpool himself even acknowledges his confusion over which X-Men universe he is part of in the first film.
Deadpool & Wolverine A sequel to the highly successful Deadpool and Deadpool 2 starring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth. The third film will be the first film in the franchise to be developed under the Marvel Studios banner following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Ryan Reynolds is returning to play the character, alongside Hugh Jackman, reprising his Wolverine role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time. 
The MCU Has Struggled To Integrate Its New Characters Since Endgame Close The MCU, on the other hand, is by far the most successful example of a shared universe superhero franchise. The MCU’s quality, both in individual films and the overarching narrative, peaked in its first three phases, introducing superheroes who were easy to intertwine in the Avengers crossover films. Every new character was relevant in the Infinity Saga, but the franchise has, unfortunately, seen a noticeable drop in quality after Endgame. While some films, like Spider-Man: No Way Home, have been highly successful, many of the MCU’s new properties have struggled to maintain both the shared universe and viewer investment.
The MCU has the beginnings of a Young Avengers team via legacy characters like Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye, but many of its new heroes, like the Eternals, do not have an obvious route to be integrated into the next major MCU crossover film. The MCU is currently experiencing the precise scenario that Fox feared during Deadpool’s early development. New MCU heroes, however successful they may be in their respective films or TV shows, are not as connected to the larger MCU mythos as their Infinity Saga predecessors were.
Movie Title
Release Date
February 12, 2016
Deadpool 2
May 18, 2018
Deadpool 3
July 26, 2024
How Deadpool's Potential Problem Has Turned Into A Strength Close Fox’s worries about Deadpool were correct, as proven by the MCU, but the franchise’s disconnection from the wider Fox X-Men mythos worked well. Deadpool and his movies are – by design – irreverent and self-aware comedies, so they work best without major ties to the rest of the X-Men movies. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine iteration of Deadpool, by contrast, lost sight of Deadpool’s appeal by tying him so closely to Wolverine’s backstory. By remaining relatively self-contained, the Deadpool solo movies not only saw success but also secured Deadpool future as a character.
The MCU is in the midst of integrating a new version of the X-Men into the franchise, with the forthcoming Deadpool & Wolverine set to bring Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool into the MCU. Thanks to his lack of an overt connection to the wider Fox X-Men franchise and his metafictional self-awareness, Reynolds’s Deadpool will have little difficulty entering the MCU and perhaps remaining in the franchise for good. Even as the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe struggles with integrating their new characters into the larger storylines, Deadpool’s relatively standalone nature makes it fairly easy for him to switch franchises.


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