Just days after Deadpool opened in theaters, it was clear 20th Century Fox would be announcing a sequel very soon. Indeed, we heard a few days previously that the studio had already enlisted Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to start work on scripting Deadpool 2, but given the massive box office we don’t just have a successful superhero movie on our hands, we have a game-changer.
The team behind Deadpool was so bullish on continuing the story in a future film that the movie’s post-credits tease reveals that Deadpool 2 will bring comics character Cable into the fold, and indeed the fan-casting for the character has already begun. While Fox will likely officially set things in motion for the Deadpool sequel soon, when Steve spoke with Reese and Wernick a couple of days before Deadpool hit theaters for an extended conversation, he took some time to talk about where the story might go in the follow-up.
Addressing that Cable tease in particular, Reese said the character is “a very natural place to go,” but was quick to add that just because Deadpool’s getting a sequel doesn’t mean the property will now become a traditional superhero movie:
“I think there’s a real conceptual difference between taking other characters and big things and bringing them into Deadpool’s reasonably small, gritty world and the opposite, taking Deadpool and placing him among big ensembles who are fighting aliens or in the future where he and Cable are doing something in the future.
I think if Cable and Deadpool team up, it will likely be in Deadpool’s world. That allows us to control that budgetary thing a little more; I don’t think we’re gonna see Deadpool and Cable on some far-flung planet 300 years from now because I just feel like that’s gonna be expensive, A, and will also take away from the relatability of Deadpool. I think at this stage in the game it’s about taking other people and dropping them into this reasonably insular, gritty, urban, dark world of Deadpool.”
Wernick went one further by pointing out that, ideally, Deadpool 2’s budget won’t be astronomically bigger than the modest $58 million of this first film:
“We don’t want $150 million to go make the next movie, that’s not Deadpool. Deadpool doesn’t lift cities up into the air or battle aliens coming down to earth, that’s just not Deadpool. So we’re happy in that little small budget range that they have us in; we don’t wanna blow this next one out.”
Now this interview was conducted before the film exceeded all expectations and made more money opening weekend than any other X-Men film’s opening in history, so it’s possible Fox may be thinking closer to $150 million now that this is a bona fide phenomenon and a cornerstone franchise for their X-Men universe. But it’s hard to disagree with Wernick—what made Deadpool so popular was that it was something wholly different in the superhero genre. If the sequel’s budget balloons to the size of every other superhero film, with the air battles and explosions that go with that, it loses some of that edge. On the other hand, if the creative team can use that budget to push the boundaries of the genre even further, all the better.
But seeing as how Wernick and Reese were already well underway with planning for Deadpool 2 at the time of the interview, Steve asked the duo what lessons learned from screenings of Deadpool‘s response might impact their approach to the sequel, with Reese singling out the signature sensibilities of the Deadpool character:
“People love the fourth-wall stuff, we’ve learned that. I think people appreciated the fact that the story was simple… There’s so much zaniness that I think just having a clear throughline, a pretty simple story, not a ton of plot twists or weird things you have to try to figure out or understand, makes you able to just have fun with all that zaniness that you throw on top of it. So I think we learned keep it simple, keep it zany, go ahead and break the rules in all the ways that Deadpool does, and hopefully you’re in a pretty safe space.”
Wernick was quick to point out there’s one other aspect of Deadpool that really connected with audiences, and that’s its emotional throughline:
“And give it a beating heart, make it feel emotional. I think the love story does that in this particular case, is it does give all that zaniness a chance to be offset by you really feeling for these characters and his journey.”
So, if you’re looking to find out what we could see more of in the sequel, fourth-wall-breaking, a streamlined story, and a strong emotional core appear to be the foundation off of which the follow-up could be built.
But when it comes to sequels, you’re gonna need some new characters. Cable is confirmed, but what other X-Men characters could we see in Deadpool 2? Wernick revealed that they’ve been thumbing through Fox’s “Master List” of characters that they have the rights to, but Reese added it’s a bit more complicated given the current X-Men timeline:
“It’s a legal list but it’s also a creative list, because X-Men: Apocalypse has plans, they have plans for future X-Men movies, and we also have timeline issues. We have actors who are now playing the parts who are a younger generation, we have the older actors—where does Deadpool’s timeline fit in with the others? These are all things that Simon Kinberg worries about for the moment instead of us. Colossus was easy to do because he’s chrome and there was no live-action actor playing him, Negasonic was easy to do because she’s a very minor character, but if you start talking about Professor X or Beast you do start running into timeline issues and we’re gonna need guidelines on that.”
Indeed, now that Deadpool has launched a successful franchise, Fox has to be thinking about how to incorporate the character into the rest of its X-Men universe. The logical choice is an X-Force movie, which is like a harder-edged X-Men and a film that producer/X-Men overseer Simon Kinberg previously told us could potentially be R-rated. For Reese, X-Force seems like a no-brainer:
“[X-Force] certainly could be a path. Those decisions haven’t been made yet, but if you look at Iron Man it’s like you establish him in one movie, you do one more solo movie, and then you move to Avengers. That might be a pretty nicely prescribed path, but it just hasn’t been decided so I don’t know.”
Again, this interview was conducted before the film blew the roof off the box office, so Reese also talked about the possibility of incorporating the Deadpool character into a PG-13 movie like X-Force or another X-Men film:
“You’d have to have him pushing the edge of that PG-13 harder than any character in it because he does need to feel out of place in a PG-13 movie, if that makes sense. But I could see Deadpool very easily commenting on the fact that, ‘Suddenly I’m trapped in a PG-13, there’s certain things I can’t do around here.’ That could be fun for us. We get to break rules like that. Deadpool knows he’s in a movie, if he knows he’s in an R-rated movie and now he’s in a PG-13-rated movie, he’s probably gonna be frustrated by that. We would play to that, actually.”
Ultimately I imagine Reese and Wernick are churning away at the Deadpool 2 script as we speak while Fox is working to find the perfect release date for the sequel. Reese admitted that, ideally, the sequel could hit theaters two years from now and take ownership over the Valentine’s Day sequel. But while two years seems like an apt timeline, I wonder if Fox might instead want to position Deadpool as a bona fide tentpole in the middle of the summer.
Last we heard, the intention was for the entire creative team to remain intact for the follow-up, including director Tim Miller, and if so, hopefully they can ensure that the sequel remains true to the spirit of the first film while also expanding the character’s horizons a smidge. Let Deadpool be Deadpool, if you will, and trust the guys who spent years trying to get this thing made to enact their vision.
For more on Deadpool, peruse our recent coverage below:
- ‘Deadpool 2’: 5 Things We Want to See in the Sequel
- No ‘Deadpool’ Director’s Cut Coming
- ‘Deadpool’ Script Originally Included Wolverine and Taskmaster Cameos
- Watch the ‘Deadpool’ Q&A from Our IMAX Screening with Tim Miller, Simon Kinberg, and Rob Liefeld