There's simply no silencing the Merc with a Mouth.
After years — years! — of stopping, starting, teasing and threatening, Fox is finally getting their act together with the "Deadpool" movie. The fourth-wall-shattering antihero will finally get his own feature film in 2016, with Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller still attached, though their deals are not completely finalized.
No one's complaining that "Deadpool" is finally moving forward. It's a welcome surprise — but it is most certainly a surprise, considering just how long it took for this movie to finally come together.
This version of "Deadpool" dates back at least as far as 2009, when Ryan Reynolds appeared as sword-slinging, snark-shooting mercenary Wade Wilson in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," opposite Hugh Jackman's Logan. For years, fans pointed at Reynolds as the perfect actor to bring Deadpool to life — and while that casting panned out, the character did not. The "X-Men Origins" version of Deadpool, featuring optic blasts and a sewn-shut mouth, was not exactly accurate to the comics, to put it nicely.
But that didn't stop enthusiasm for a "Deadpool" movie. After "Wolverine" debuted with nearly $90 million in its opening weekend (despite a massive piracy leak and bad word-of-mouth), Fox officially announced "Deadpool," with Reynolds set to bring the acerbic assassin to life. Much to the relief of fans, Reynolds insisted that the "Deadpool" movie would be much closer to the character's comic book origins than what was seen in "X-Men Origins."
"He's going to be the Merc with the Mouth, [we’re going to give] all those answers that everyone wants," Reynolds told us in a 2009 interview, shortly after "Deadpool" was announced. "He's going to have the scarred-up face, he's going to be in the suit — and, it’s going to be incredible."
Only two months later, the "Deadpool" situation took a turn for the cosmic. In July 2009, Reynolds signed on to play Hal Jordan in "Green Lantern," a move that left many fans scratching their heads. Could Reynolds play both Green Lantern and Deadpool? Would that confuse audiences too much? For his part, Reynolds maintained his enthusiasm for "Deadpool," insisting that there was no reason he couldn't play both characters.
Even with production on "Green Lantern" underway, news and rumors still surrounded "Deadpool." "Zombieland" scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick joined the project. Robert Rodriguez was rumored to direct. But starting in September 2010, little more than a year after "Deadpool" was announced, Reynolds started whistling a troubling tune.
"We'll see," he told us when asked if "Deadpool" was still on the table. "It's coming along."
Months later, in April 2011, Reynolds insisted that the slow development of "Deadpool" had nothing to do with Reese and Wernick's "tonally perfect" script. "There's a lot I could say about it right now, but there are moving parts that I really want to see to fruition and I want to see them happen, so I don't want to get into and put the cart before the horse," he said.
The "Deadpool" tree bore fruit only days later, when VFX guru Tim Miller signed on as the project's director. It felt like things were back on track.
And then came the "Green Lantern" bomb. The DC Comics movie debuted in June 2011 to grim reviews and box-office returns. Lofty plans for "Green Lantern" sequels never took flight. "Deadpool" remained motionless. Reynolds returned to the comic book movie well with "R.I.P.D.," but that fared even worse than "Green Lantern," critically and commercially.
By 2014, "Deadpool" felt like a lost cause. The "X-Men" franchise was alive and well thanks to "First Class," "The Wolverine" and "Days of Future Past," but the promised "Deadpool" was nowhere in the mix. Would it ever see the light of day? Would Fox ever green-light an R-rated comic book film?
There was one ray of hope — a fabled piece of test footage, created by Miller and featuring Reynolds' voice, chronicling a fully costumed Deadpool snarking and stalking his way through violent situation after violent situation. "Deadpool" co-creator Rob Liefeld even acted out the test reel during a convention appearance, further fueling the footage's legend.
Then, something miraculous happened. The legend became reality. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, the fabled footage leaked online this past summer, traveling far and fast, reigniting excitement and enthusiasm for the "Deadpool" movie after years of all-bark-no-bite. Finally, it was clear what Reynolds, Miller and the rest of the "Deadpool" team were driving after — and it worked.
While it certainly wasn't the only factor, the timing can't be ignored: Less than two months after the "Deadpool" test footage leaked, Fox announced a release date for "Deadpool." And here's another fun bit of timing: Earlier this month, mere weeks before the "Deadpool" release date was announced, Reynolds piped up on the test footage leak.
"The movie has been in a state of limbo for a while," he told the Niagra Falls Review (via Superhero Hype). "There was such an overpowering reaction to the footage, you sort of feel like, 'Oh, so we weren't crazy for our reasons for loving this character, for loving this role.' It's interesting to see the power of the Internet. It's awe-inspiring, actually."
So, why is the "Deadpool" movie finally happening? Many reasons — but one of those reasons is you. How's that for breaking the fourth wall?
"Deadpool" finally, finally arrives on February 12, 2016.