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The cycle of denial that began with Spider-Man: No Way Home is starting up again. Hollywood A-listers like Ryan Reynolds and Patrick Stewart have both shot down the rumors that their big screen X-Men characters — Wade Wilson/Deadpool and Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X — will appear in Sam Raimi's upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (out in early May).
“I’m really not in the movie,” Reynolds said during a larger interview about The Adam Project for Variety. He later emphasized: "I’m promising, I’m not in the movie." Hmmm...now where have we heard that one before? Oh, yeah! This is basically beat-for-beat what Andrew Garfield continued to say when asked about his potential involvement with No Way Home for months until the movie finally opened and exposed his lies.
Of course, actors are going to deflect stuff like this — not only because of strict studio NDAs, but also to provide fans with the purest cinematic experience possible. Of course, he could also be telling the truth and he's really not in the movie, but after No Way Home there's no way to ever know for sure until opening night.
Reynolds also assured Variety that his third Deadpool movie is still "coming along," though we haven't had any significant updates on the project since Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Loeglin were brought aboard to write the screenplay in November 2020. Since Disney has yet to really take full advantage of the Fox continuity (aside from Evan Peters showing up in WandaVision, though that one was a bit of a fake out), it makes a ton of sense to bridge the gap between blockbuster realities via Multiverse of Madness. Odds are good that the film will serve as a sort of Crisis on Infinite Earths-type adventure that simplifies the competing comic book dimensions.
The argument for Stewart's involvement is much more compelling after the release of the movie's Super Bowl trailer, which seemed to feature the voice of Professor X (hinting at the introduction of a secret society from the comics known as the Illuminati). With that said, we only hear Stewart's voice and glimpse what could be the back of a bald head, which gives the actor just enough wiggle room to claim identity theft.
"You know, people have been imitating my voice ever since I came on the stage 60 years ago," he said while speaking to ComicBook.com. "So, I can't be held responsible for that."
Marvel Studios ordered six additional weeks of "reshoots" in late 2021 after principal photography had already wrapped in the United Kingdom. While extensive reshoots could be perceived as a negative sign of studio interference in the face of wavering confidence, the general consensus is that the additional footage was simply a way to pack in more cameos from actors who weren't available during the initial shoot due to COVID-related scheduling issues.
"We're working incredible hard to make a schedule work to realize the full potential of the film — bits we want to do better, but also bits that were just impossible to do on the day because logistics, COVID, etc," Benedict Cumberbatch said around Thanksgiving. "We were so delayed in production, because of that. Luckily, not during production too much. Although everything is just a little slower."
We'll have an answer one way or another when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness portals into theaters everywhere Friday, May 6.