If you’re a fan of the superhero genre, you’ve probably come across the term fridging. Named due to an incident when Green Lantern’s girlfriend was murdered and stuffed in a refrigerator, it’s used to describe the worrying number of times in comic books when the female love interest is killed off solely to further the protagonist’s story. And now, many people think that Deadpool 2 is guilty of this.
In the film’s pre-credits sequence, the Merc ticks off some gangsters who proceed to shoot up his apartment, resulting in the death of his beloved fiancee, Vanessa. Though Morena Baccarin’s character does then reoccur throughout the rest of the sequel in the form of a ghostly vision that Wade Wilson dreams of when he’s close to death, some fans have reacted negatively to her being killed off so early into the movie.
But what does director David Leitch think of these accusations of fridging? As the man behind 2017’s female-oriented spy thriller Atomic Blonde, Leitch has a good track record with giving the women in his projects a lot of agency. As such, he understands why the critics of Vanessa’s death feel this way, but he believes that killing the character was the perfect way to start a new emotional arc for the Merc with a Mouth.
“I understand where they’re coming from. As a filmmaker, I believe I have a record of strong female characters and proactive female characters. But with Deadpool it’s different,” Leitch went on. “It’s Deadpool’s movie and you need to take everything away from him to humanize him. He can be grating and he can be sort of offensive and he can be all these things, but you need an emotional hook that grounds the movie that we can go on this journey with this character and experience Deadpool.”
Leitch went on to point out that it’s not like Vanessa disappears for the rest of the movie after that. She’s still there either physically, as we mentioned earlier, or metaphorically, as the lessons Deadpool learns from her death provide the “emotional context” for the sequel’s story.
“And quite frankly, she doesn’t leave the movie. She is a huge point of contact for him and learning his lesson in the world and learning that one of act of kindness can change history. And I think without her being the vehicle that he learns that from, I don’t know, it wouldn’t have been the same film and so we wouldn’t have had that emotional context. Even the scene at the end where they visit each other in the afterlife, hugely emotional, great performances by both of them. So, again, I don’t think she left the movie.”
And let’s not forget that Deadpool 2‘s post-credits scene see Vanessa rescued from certain death when DP goes back in time and prevents her from being killed. This wasn’t just a throwaway joke, either, as the pic’s screenwriters have confirmed that it’s canon, meaning Vanessa is alive again and free to appear in either X-Force or Deadpool 3, if that’s on the cards.