Despite early fears that Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox might mean an end to the Deadpool franchise, the Merc with a Mouth seems to have a strong future ahead of him at Walt Disney Studios. Many fans were afraid that Deadpool would be forever sealed in the Disney Vault because of the acquisition, due to Disney's policy of not releasing any films with an R-rating under their banner and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole being kept at a PG-13 level. Thankfully, recent events and comments from Disney management indicate that Wade Wilson will not be vanishing from movie screens anytime soon.
The first Deadpool movie defied Hollywood wisdom in 2016, proving that their was a market for adult-oriented superhero movies that closely adhered to their comic book roots. The film ultimately went on to shatter box office records, becoming the highest grossing R-rated movie internationally. This fact was noted in a fourth-wall breaking moment in the sequel, Deadpool 2, which has also gone on to be a critical and commercial success.
It remains to be seen if Deadpool will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe or if he'll continue to operate in his own little world. In either case, audiences shouldn't expect too many major changes to the formula of the franchise. While Disney may have to clean Deadpool up slightly for the sake of their brand, they've shown little inclination in the past to change what works. Should it come to that, however, it has been proven time and time again that Deadpool works as a concept without cursing and excessive violence.
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There Won't Be Another Deadpool Movie Before Disney Buys Fox
It's important to note that any future Deadpool movies will have to be made under Disney's banner. Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox, which has been in the works for well over a year, will be finalized in early 2019. This means that any future projects utilizing the properties sold as part of the deal (including Deadpool, X-Men, and Fantastic Four) will have to be approved by Walt Disney Studios, despite the fact that the Mouse House wants to allow Fox to continue to do what they do best.
Even assuming there are no creative differences between the studios and the creators, it will still be some time before audiences see a new Deadpool film. While there has been tentative talk regarding a Deadpool 3, everyone involved wants to make an X-Force film first. Unfortunately, everyone signed on for the X-Force movie and/or Deadpool 3 already has a busy schedule in the coming year. It could be 2020 before a script for either film is written, which means the soonest we might see a complete movie is 2021.
Ryan Reynolds is finishing up shooting on the action movie 6 Underground and is supposed to be starting pre-production on a new movie based on the board-game Clue shortly. He's joined on this project by his co-writers for Deadpool 2, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who are currently finishing up work on Zombieland 2. Drew Goddard is signed to write and direct the X-Force movie, but he may have his hands full as an executive producer on NBC's The Good Place. Despite this, Goddard has affirmed his commitment to X-Force and said that he would start work on a script for the movie once his most recent film, Bad Times At The El Royale, was in theaters.
Bob Iger Wants To Keep Deadpool Going At Disney
Deadpool has one powerful and unexpected ally among Disney's upper-level management - CEO Bob Iger. Back in December 2017, around the time when Disney made their first bid for 20th Century Fox, Iger spoke about Marvel characters currently owned by Fox and how they wanted to create mature films such as Logan and Deadpool, saying, "There may be an opportunity for an R-rated Marvel brand as long as we let audiences know what’s coming." Iger specifically singled-out the Deadpool franchise as one he wished to see continue. With Deadpool 2 going on to become one of the most popular movies of 2018, it seems Iger would have even more reason to want to see more Deadpool movies in the future. It's a good business decision.
Once Upon A Deadpool Shows PG-13 Deadpool Can Work
Even if Disney ultimately proves unwilling to sponsor an R-rated Marvel film line, there's no reason to think that future Deadpool movies would suddenly stop being as funny or as popular should they be made to adhere to a PG-13 standard. It's worth noting that the vast majority of the comic published today by Marvel Comics are written for a 12-and-up audience. This includes the vast majority of Deadpool comics in print.
Ignoring the comics, the recent release of Once Upon A Deadpool proves that Deadpool can still work on a cinematic level with stricter guidelines. Released just in time for the holidays, Once Upon A Deadpool centers around Deadpool reading a heavily censored version of the story of Deadpool 2 to a captive Fred Savage, in imitation of Savage's famous role as the sick grandson in The Princess Bride. The plot of the movie plays out exactly the same, but with Savage interrupting to complain about the sloppy writing.
While many complained about the bowdlerization of Deadpool 2 and the gross-out humor that was cut to make Once Upon A Deadpool, most agreed that the new film worked for what it was. While the scenes from the original film suffered somewhat, most agreed that the new scenes unique to Once Upon A Deadpool worked well. The scenes with Fred Savage were signaled out for being particularly funny, as Deadpool cautioned a furious Savage to watch his language because there was a limit to how many times they could use certain words, resulting in a furious amount of beeping as Savage's tirade was censored. This proved that the creative team behind the Deadpool movies could flex their creative muscles and still be funny while working around the limits imposed by a stricter rating.
Deadpool May Be The One Aspect Of Fox X-Men To Survive
Strictly speaking, there's little else for Disney to bother bringing over from Fox apart from Deadpool at this point. The upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie is poised to close-out the X-Men reboot timeline and it is still unclear what audiences will think of New Mutants. The horror-fueled take on the X-Men series had its release date pushed back for over a year, despite having one trailer released in theaters already and is scheduled to undergo reshooting in anticipation of an August 2019 release. The reasons for the reshoots were reportedly to make the movie scarier, but it was also presumed Fox was trying to rework the film into something less violent so as to meet Disney's standards, though other reports say New Mutants will still open with an R-rating.
The only other superhero movie using Marvel properties Fox had planned was a Gambit movie starring Channing Tatum. Shooting has yet to start, however, and the status of Gambit is still up in the air despite being scheduled for a March 2020 release. It's entirely possible that Disney could decide to discontinue production, pending a forthcoming announcement regarding which Fox projects in pre-production will continue after Disney's purchase is confirmed.
There's some irony that Deadpool - long cast as the black sheep of the mutant community in the comics and the movies - may be the one aspect of Fox's X-Men universe to survive and be transplanted into the Marvel Studios movies. Between the success of the Deadpool franchise itself and Reynolds' star power, there's little else that Disney might feel the need to attach to their own brand. The only other major star to be born of the X-Men films is Hugh Jackman, and he's made it clear that he's done playing Wolverine, despite Reynolds' continued requests he come back for one more team-up with Deadpool.