News that 21st Century Fox is selling off many of its entertainment assets to The Walt Disney Company is dominating every entertainment conversation on the internet today, so naturally various celebrities were bound to react to the news eventually. As part of the deal, Disney -- and by extension the Disney-owned Marvel Studios -- is getting back the rights to characters like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, which includes fan-favorite Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool.
Deadpool -- once a character relegated to a rather mutilated role (literally and thematically) in a Wolverine spinoff movie -- is now the breakout star of Fox's X-Men universe thanks to starring in one of the most successfull R-rated films of all time after years of development. The film wasn't just a massive financial hit, though. It was credited, along with fellow R-rated hit Logan, with reinvigorating Fox's mutant movies by proving that you could tell vastly different kinds of stories within the same superhero universe. It was a massive success on many levels, but now that Disney will soon own the character (the deal is expected to be finalized in 12-18 months), what does that mean for Deadpool's future?
Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, seems just as uncertain as the rest of us. Reynolds, who spent years personally lobbying to finally get the film made, has endeared himself to comic book fans more than almost any other star with his dedication to the role and his emphasis on fourth-wall-breaking comedy even when marketing the film. Last month, when reports of this deal first began to circulate, he wondered aloud just what it might mean for his beloved character. Today, at least in tweet form, he seems to have embraced Deadpool's future as a Disney Bad Boy.
It's difficult to tell exactly where Deadpool will end up. Deadpool 2 is set to be released ahead of the projected timetable to complete the deal, so that will likely pass through to release day relatively untouched by Disney. Beyond that, it's not clear. It definitely doesn't seem likely that Disney will simply cut Reynolds loose, given the level of fan devotion he's built up and the dedication to the Deadpool brand that he has.
Plus, of all the X-Men characters, Deadpool seems like the one who could most easily just slip right into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, almost as a "How the hell did I get here?" joke. Whatever happens next, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger did stress that he has no qualms about keeping the franchise R-rated, even at the House of Mouse.
"It [Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool," Iger said on a conference call with investors after the deal was announced (Via THR). "As long as we let the audiences know what's coming, we think we can manage that fine."
Yes, Disney is most often associated with family entertainment, which makes R-rated films a bit of a risk, but Marvel Comics itself has long been dipping its toes into mature readers titles with things like the MAX imprint, and Marvel's Netflix shows haven't shied away from adult content. In many ways it feels like the next logical step for Disney's ever-expanding Marvel movie line, and after Deadpool's massive success, Wade Wilson might be the guy to lead the way.
Oh, and perhaps lost in all of this, Reynolds also tweeted out a piece of new Deadpool 2 promo art, featuring Josh Brolin's Cable and a couple of (mild) dirty jokes. Check it out: