Fans were dismayed to learn last week that the Deadpool animated series being developed by Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover at FX was no more. The official line was that the Glovers and FX were both backing out of the series over creative differences with Marvel, and that Marvel reserved the right to move forward with the series on its own with a new team. This was upsetting news, especially since the Glovers and their writing staff had already written many of the scripts and were heading for a debut of sometime later this year.
We haven’t exactly heard what happened to the show, but there are certainly many theories floating around. Perhaps burned by the weirdness of the Marvel/FX collaboration Legion, Marvel didn’t want another “weird” series on TV. Or maybe in the wake of Inhumans’ failure they wanted a surefire hit. Or perhaps given the popularity of Deadpool, Marvel wants something more mainstream.
Well now Donald Glover himself is speaking up about the matter, but not in a direct way. The Atlanta creator took to Twitter to share 14 script pages from Deadpool: The Animated Series, an episode called “The Finale.” The script pages were shared with the note “for the record: i wasn’t too busy to work on deadpool.”
As you start reading the pages, however, it becomes clear that this isn’t exactly a finished script for the show, but instead a script that Glover wrote very recently (like yesterday recently) to offer up his own comments on the show going south. Glover uses the Deadpool character, wrapped up in an Ace Venture: When Nature Calls-like poaching plot, to consider why Marvel cancelled the series. It results in some shockingly candid thoughts like this:
DEADPOOL: You know, I’m not mad about this whole “cancelled” thing. I actually think it’s a good thing. I mean, is it even a good time to have a violent, gun loving white man ranting on TV? (hard sell) Other than the PRESIDENT!
DEADPOOL: I mean, I get it. Maybe they just wanna sell toys. And this style of comedy isn’t it. It’s more “ha-ha, but I’m mad”. I get that.
Glover Deadpool even gets into the fact that the whole writing staff was black:
DEADPOOL: Do you think they cancelled the show…cause of racism?!
DEADPOOL (CONT’D): Yeah, but all the writers were black. And the references were pretty black too. I heard they went over the lunch budget ordering Jamaican food at least once a week.
The character also takes a moment to consider the show’s attitude towards Marvel in general:
DEADPOOL: What? The Marvel stuff I said in it? All I said was Marvel was trying to sell toys to seven year old boys and fifty year old pedophiles. That’s just funny. They’re cool. They get it.
The Marvel hits don’t stop there…
DEADPOOL: It just feels like everyone wants something different, but no one wants to do anything different with it. Doesn’t Marvel have enough feel-good minority shows everyone supports but doesn’t watch? I mean, I think our show woulda been funny. I just wanted a place to be honest. (tearing up) And I guess that place is Freeform.
The entire script is worth a read, as it’s hilarious, biting, and does not hold back. I too would like some answers as to what exactly went down. Jeph Loeb is the current head of Marvel TV, but it’s also important to remember that Marvel TV still falls under the purview of Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, who famously butted heads with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige so badly that Feige had to lobby to Disney to move Marvel Studios away from Perlmutter’s influence around the time Doctor Strange was being made. That left Perlmutter with the toys, merch, and Marvel TV, and indeed the CEO’s hands-on approach has led to missteps before.