Deadpool & Wolverine Could Be the Saviour the MCU Needs

Deadpool’s depiction in cinema has come a long way since his first live-action appearance in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In what can only be described as a misguided, bastardized adaptation of the character that Ryan Reynolds himself hated, this version of Wade Wilson bore little resemblance to his comic book source, even going so far as to stitch his mouth shut later in the movie, which was an incomprehensibly dumb decision considering the character’s nickname is literally “The Merc with a Mouth”. However, Reynolds saw the immense untapped potential of the character cinematically, and after leaking the initial CGI test footage for the film, the actor forced Fox’s hand into making the 2015’s Deadpool, which became the highest-grossing R-rated film ever at the time.

However, the rest is not yet history. Following 2018’s Deadpool 2, which narrowly beat its predecessor’s box office record at the time (before later being overtaken by Joker and Oppenheimer), fans wondered what the character’s cinematic future might hold, especially when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and the rights to Deadpool, the X-Men, and Fantastic Four, amongst others. Disney is known to avert association with more adult-oriented productions, even if a sequel would be released through their Marvel subsidiary, but there was concern that the character would not fit into their future MCU plans, or that a sequel would be watered down to fit its more family-friendly tone. Clearer heads prevailed, however, as Disney, Marvel, and specifically the MCU’s producer Kevin Feige, could not overlook such a revered, commercially successful character with an actor who was born to play the role in Reynolds. Now, its upcoming sequel, Deadpool & Wolverine, is not just the next big Marvel release, but it might just be the saviour of the MCU. 

In fact, Deadpool & Wolverine is the only true blue MCU movie that will be released this year, which is as surprising as it is warranted, given that 2024 was unequivocally the worst year, both critically and commercially, for Marvel since the inception of its unprecedented cinematic universe. You know things are bad when Sony’s pathetic offshoot of the MCU is releasing three times the number of movies, with Madame Web having already been released (and ripped to shreds by fans and critics alike), while Kraven the Hunter (which I admittedly have some hope for) and Venom: The Last Dance (for which I have little hope, especially with such an odd title) are set to release later this year.

Thus, Marvel has a lot riding on Deadpool, both narratively and financially, which is odd considering that just a few years ago he was part of a completely different film universe that seemingly had little hope of entering the MCU. Now, he’s at the heart of Marvel’s necessary pivot, as they correct course to once again place quality ahead of quality in this post-Endgame universe, reportedly cancelling sequels to Eternals, The Marvels, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Marvel appears to be making all the right moves here, as they somehow convinced Hugh Jackman, who is more synonymous with a single comic book character than any other actor on the planet, to make an unexpected return as Wolverine even though he seemingly retired the character after starring in the masterpiece that is Logan. And as the movie’s title indicates, this isn’t just some cameo either. He’s sharing a leading role with Reynolds’ Deadpool, likely doubling down on the type of love/hate relationship found between Deadpool and Josh Brolin’s Cable in Deadpool 2, but in this case, it will be at the centre of the movie’s comedy and drama. Given that they had already brought Montreal native Shawn Levy onboard as director and co-writer, who has a history of working with both Reynolds and Jackman, not to mention bringing back original screenwriters Rhett Reese and Wernick, it seemed all the stars were aligning. 

As convenient as it is clever, the movie’s recent Super Bowl trailer showcased the direction of the film’s narrative, as Deadpool’s time-jumping at the end of Deadpool 2 has clearly caught the attention of the MCU’s Time Variance Authority, or TVA, seen most prominently in the Disney+ series Loki. Of course, this version of Wolverine will be from an alternate universe, and the plethora of leaked pictures from the film’s production shows Jackman sporting the classic yellow uniform worn by Wolverine in the comics, delivering on over two decades of hopes that we would one day see a live-action Wolverine wearing his most iconic suit.

In spite of these leaked photographs, Marvel is nonetheless treating this rendition of Wolverine as the trump card of their marketing, and that same trailer only teased his appearance (and the appearance of his alter-ego, Patch), clearly seeking to capitalize on the fan fervour surrounding Jackman’s return. Although, Jackman is not the only actor returning to a Marvel role, as Jennifer Garner’s Elektra is confirmed to appear, to the shock of many, while further leaked set photos have confirmed the appearance of a Sabretooth closely resembling that of the one portrayed by Tyler Mane in 2000’s X-Men. It’s rumoured that Toad, who also appeared in the original movie, will make a cameo, in addition to recent rumours that James Marsten’s Cyclops might feature in the movie, which, if true, is a clear indicator, along with Wolverine’s classic outfit, that those behind the movie are as interested in nostalgia as they are about moving the MCU forward. What’s more, Cassandra Nova, played by Emma Corrin, will be the villain of Deadpool & Wolverine, which is very intriguing given that the character is the evil twin sister of Charles Xavier, possibly opening the door for a cameo from Patrick Stewart, or perhaps even James McAvoy, though the latter seems less likely. 

Whatever the case, we will find out soon enough as Marvel’s sole feature-length production of 2024 will release on July 26th.

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