It’s going on 12 months since the Merc With a Mouth carved out a very specific corner of the X-Men universe to call his own. From this hypothetical vantage point, Tim Miller’s Deadpool was largely able to exist in its own universe – far enough away from any existing entanglements and continuity, but not too far that Ryan Reynolds’ wise-cracking lead wasn’t able to poke fun at 20th Century Fox’s juggernaut franchise.
The end result was a movie so fearless – so gleefully profane – that it’s triggered something of an epiphany at Fox. With a $760 million global box office haul in the bank, the studio quickly drafted up plans for Deadpool 2, and despite an early director changeover – John Wick co-director David Leitch took up the mantle in place of Miller, who bowed out citing creative differences – Fox’s sequel is beginning to coalesce.
Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are back in business after landing a prestigious WGA nomination for their work on the Merc With a Mouth’s solo outing and here, while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the latter spoke more on the irreverent tone of Deadpool and why the costumed anti-hero won’t be beholden to the X-Men continuity going forward.
“What’s nice is Deadpool exists in his own universe. He’s part of the larger X-Men universe, but in a way he isn’t. He interacts with that world but he is in the present. We don’t deal with the ’60s or the ’70s or the future. It’s here and now. More than anything, I think he’s going to have his fun with what they do in the other franchise. But fortunately, we don’t have to play by those same rules. Deadpool is a movie that did break all the rules. And I think we’re going to continue to break those rules. That involves knowing that he’s in a movie, talking to the audience, breaking that fourth wall, a characteristic that they established so brilliantly in the comics way back when. So yeah, I do think that timelines are something that we can make fun of and don’t have to be slave to.”
Similar to James Mangold’s handling of Logan, Reese and Wernick are working to ensure the focused, tight-knit nature of Deadpool isn’t lost amid blockbuster action and intertwining timelines. Ditto for the brewing X-Force ensemble movie. Speculation is rife that Fox wants to fold X-Force and the proposed Deadpool 3 into a singular, R-rated event film, and though there’s no update on that front just yet, here Reese discusses his hopes for a “sillier, edgier” X-Force.
“And I think what we stumbled into was a new tone, and I haven’t seen Logan, so it’s tough to say if they have it, but I think we hope to have our own universe that is defined less by characters and timelines and things like that and more by tone. The hope is Deadpool 2 and X-Force and future movies all be this new, consistent, sillier tone.
More self-aware tone. And edgier and rated-R tone. We want to be establishing the universe but also focusing on each individual movie and not worrying too much about building a larger threat to the world or a larger plot machination.”
Never underestimate the domino effect Deadpool has instigated over at 20th Century Fox. Both X-Force and Deadpool 2 may be without release dates at the moment, but Reese and Wernick are clearly ready to take the irreverent tone established last year and go one step further.