A key component of the growing Deadpool franchise is poking other superhero movies in the eye. But, according to Deadpool and (along with Ryan Reynolds) Deadpool 2 screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, any and all poking comes from a place of love. Bring up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the place where the Avengers hang out, which is not the same world as the one Deadpool resides in), and they have nothing but nice things to say — in fact, they might want in on the action.
“We would love to do it,” Wernick tells Vulture when asked whether they’d ever write an MCU picture. “You look at Thor: Ragnarok. Thor: Ragnarok was brilliant, and funny, and heartfelt, and had all those things that we love to do. Iron Man — there’s some wonderful characters out there that we adore that we would love to write. Absolutely.”
It’s a sentiment that permeates a conversation with Reese and Wernick. Though Deadpool’s irreverence for anything and everything is a bedrock element of his personality, the writing duo are passionate fanboys, doing more than their due diligence in researching the comic-book source material from which they draw, then figuring out how they can build on the mythology rather than taking the lazy routes of either carbon copying it or making fun of it.
“Our take on the comics, when we read them — and we’ve read all of them, and read them pretty thoroughly — is that we try and get a tone and a feel for the character, and then we put down the comics, and, in our minds, go, Okay, what’s the story we want to tell?” says Wernick. “This particular Deadpool 2 story is not a story from the comics. It’s an amalgamation of a bunch of different stories that have appeared in various runs through the comics, but this group of characters, I don’t think you’ve ever seen interact in a Deadpool comic, or an X-Men comic, or an X-Force comic. We use the comic books as guideposts, but we kind of do our own spin on it.”
Take, for example, the character of Cable. The grizzled antihero mutant from a dystopian future, played by Josh Brolin, is one of the most important members of the Deadpool 2 ensemble. But comics fans will notice that a lot of his backstory is either missing or altered. If he is, as is true in the comics, Nathan Summers, the son of X-Man Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey, there’s no mention of it in the film. Nor does it seem that sinister mutant overlord Apocalypse (played somewhat memorably by Oscar Isaac in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse) rules Cable’s native future, as was the case in his printed adventures. And though we see that he has a cybernetic arm, there’s nothing about it being created by the “techno-organic virus” that plagues him on the page. That’s all by design, say the scribes.
“Different writers have taken a crack at it, and it’s been rebooted or twisted around different ways,” Reese says of Cable’s mythos. “So you’ve got Nathan Summers, and he’s got a techno-organic virus, and there’re just all these interesting deep-dive issues, but when you’re dealing with an hour-and-45-minute movie, it’s just tough to service all that and do it justice without it becoming just a morass of details.” But fear not, Cable fans — we haven’t seen the last of him, and we’re going to learn more. He’ll at least be appearing in the planned spinoff X-Force, written and directed by Drew Goddard. Though Reese and Wernick aren’t penning that one, they’re still deeply involved in the franchise and say one key comics detail will be explored. “I think you’re gonna have to understand the techno virus, and how it’s killing him, and why, and so forth,” says Wernick.
Their fannishness extends to at least one person behind the comics, too: writer-artist Rob Liefeld co-created Deadpool (along with writer Fabian Nicieza) and Cable (along with writer Louise Simonson), and Reese and Wernick are proud to know that he’s a fan of their work. “After he saw the first one, Rob was like, ‘This is the definitive source of how people who don’t know about Deadpool should learn about Deadpool,’” says Wernick. “That’s the ultimate compliment from a guy whose brain this came from.”
And as for the superhero genre as a whole, they’re optimistic that it’s going to continue to be a staple at the box office. “I don’t think there’ll ever come a time when people are sick of watching superhero movies,” Reese says. “There may be other things that jump to the fore, but I think superhero movies are here to stay. I just think they needed to get to a place where the visual effects could handle the imaginations.”
Wernick concurs. “I don’t see the fatigue ever setting in,” he muses. “I mean, we had some people turn down Deadpool because directors at the time thought that the superhero genre was played out, and that was back in 2010! So, that’s eight years ago. They thought there was fatigue setting in, and that just couldn’t be less the case. So, I don’t ever see it ending.” If that’s the case, they have plenty of time for the MCU to make them an offer.