Preparing for the ridiculous roller coaster that is sure to be Deadpool 2, I wondered to myself: As soon as Disney’s purchase of FOX finalizes, how many of the current big-screen superhero projects will actually continue or will they all eventually be rebooted? And does Disney have any room within the MCU for an R-rated antihero, when all the other Marvel properties are PG-13 endeavors?
Within the last few months alone, Black Panther became a cultural milestone, breaking all sorts of box-office records in the process, then Avengers: Infinity War took it a step further, most recently becoming the all-time highest grossing international superhero release and the fifth-largest global release of all time. And this week, Ryan Reynolds returns as the Merc With a Mouth in Deadpool 2. Currently appearing within the FOX superhero universe, should the acquisition go through as planned, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men and many more supporting characters would finally crash Marvel’s long-lasting (and better built) superhero party. That in itself would be a huge proposition to manage each group, let alone solo adventures within the larger storytelling umbrella. But to integrate the irreverent character who so often breaks the fourth wall with many so-called cookie-cutter good guys can and probably will become a big-screen problem.
Spider-Man constantly cracks jokes throughout his comic-book adventures and has some great oneliners here and there, but how would the situation be handled differently if Deadpool outdid him with the punchlines? And what if they were simply too outrageous and vulgar for young audiences, when the character is already appearing in R-rated misadventures for adults? Sure, Wade Wilson could be toned down or he could even have his curse words bleeped during his crossover team-ups, but that would definitely feel out of the ordinary for the character. And what about dealing all the storyline continuity errors when combining the characters from different backgrounds?
As if those weren’t enough questions that need to be addressed, another development might offer even more What If scenarios. It now seems that Comcast Corporation, the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue, has offered FOX a competing buyout option of $31 billion. Should that transaction go through, there would be no unification of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that would be sad, but FOX would remain a vital film studio, presumably not getting absorbed into another larger entity, such as Disney. Or maybe that could actually still happen. In the greater scheme of things, it’s still unclear what will happen with Deadpool in the future. But either way, hurdles remain in order to unite the Marvel movie mutants.
Until then, Deadpool deals with a time traveler in his second solo outing, ultimately forming the X-Force superhero team. Will there be an audience for this character’s outlandish behavior? Most likely. Will the movie make money? Most definitely. But will it break any box-office records? For that answer, the jury’s still out. With high admission prices at movie theaters these days, not everybody goes out to see a movie each and every week. People may wait to rent this one after seeing the big-screen spectacle of the Avengers recently, and Black Panther before that. And then Star Wars returns in another week. For some people, that’s a lot of movies (and more importantly, a lot of money). There also may be a bit of superhero fatigue creeping in, as the genre has produced and released more than a few hit movies lately. How much is too much, for the average moviegoer?
It seems Deadpool has already carved its niche within the superhero zeitgeist, now it’s Marvel’s turn to decide how to return the character back into the MCU fold, while expanding its cinematic universe for the included crossover characters and real-life audiences as well.