Deadpool 3 Needs To Be In The MCU’s Phase 4 (Because Of Loki)
Deadpool 3 is being produced by Marvel Studios, and while it may be part of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s plans for Phase 5, Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth is better suited to Phase 4. Thanks to the events of Loki – and the Kang-revealing finale twist – the MCU timeline is something of a mess. Spider-Man: No Way Home should deal with the consequences of less stringent control of multiversal branches by bringing in “alternate universe” characters, and Deadpool’s origin should be dealt with in similar terms. If the so-called Multiverse of Madness is seeking chaos, why not bring in the most chaotic Marvel character of all?
The first two Deadpool movies were released under the former 20th Century Fox banner, but Disney’s acquisition of the studio and all of its assets means the beloved character could join the MCU. But while the film is on the way, Deadpool may not be joining the Avengers anytime soon. During San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Kevin Feige unveiled the release dates of the MCU’s Phase 4 film slate. While everything from Black Widow to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were delayed due to the global pandemic and production shutdowns, Deadpool 3 was never even on the list to begin with. The good news is the sequel is still moving ahead, with writers Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin (Bob’s Burgers) now attached to co-write the script together. The film also has an R rating, as confirmed by Kevin Feige, which further compounds the need to bring him into the MCU multiverse in Phase 4.
Right now, it’s still unclear whether Deadpool 3 is set to be a standalone movie or if the character and the plot will connect to the rest of the MCU. Ryan Reynolds said he’d be happy with a solo movie or a team-up, as long as Marvel commits to making the character divergent and what better way to ensure that than to introduce him into a creative landscape where rules no longer matter? In July 2019, Ryan Reynolds posted an image and caption that slyly hinted Deadpool 3 would be a part of Phase 5, but his debut needs to be more immediate, considering Marvel’s usual trend of moving past major storylines quickly. If the multiverse is “solved” in Phase 4 and Deadpool misses the opportunity to debut in the MCU as part of it, Marvel will be ignoring the perfect answer to how they can explain his existence.
Marvel committing to an R-rating is a huge deal but it also makes the compatibility of Deadpool 3 and the MCU somewhat difficult to imagine. For a while, it was presented as “proof” that Deadpool 3 couldn’t possibly be part of the MCU, given the conflict with the franchise’s central principles. But the multiverse changes that by throwing the rules out of the window: ‘Pool is meta, obscene and ill-fitting with the family-friendly rules of the MCU, but that can be played into. Deadpool is uniquely qualified to be able to lampoon the differences and to use the multiverse as a legitimate explanation for why his own principles are so different. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse had a character retained in black and white, because that was the medium of his universe, so why couldn’t Deadpool’s outrageousness be played off as a construct of his reality? Rather than trying to remold him into the MCU’s shape, lean into the difference for comic effect and allow Deadpool to be different.
Loki’s ending was a game-changer and should be viewed not as a short-term story opportunity that can be fixed in the climactic event of Phase 4 (or at the start of Phase 5); it should represent a fundamental change to the makeup of the MCU. Having alternate universes (or timeline branches), better reflects the comic book medium, and also provides solutions to major problems like recasting original characters Tony Stark and Steve Rogers without a full reboot. It can also bring in the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and other missing characters in this continuity and Deadpool is the opportunity among them most tied to the multiverse’s promise of difference. To overlook the change to put him into Phase 4, where the multiverse’s scary and exciting differences are writ largest would be a travesty.
Whether this is at all likely is more difficult to nail. Honestly, Feige announcing Blade as a part of Phase 5 despite the fact the movie won’t arrive for years implies how confident Marvel is in the project and its place in the MCU. The same can’t yet be said for Deadpool 3, unless plans are consciously being withheld for a big reveal somewhere. During Disney’s Investor Day presentation in December 2020, Deadpool 3 wasn’t even mentioned on the list of upcoming projects, though Feige did confirm its existence as an MCU property and rating in January 2021. For the sake of Deadpool’s easy transition to the MCU, it should be hoped that they have more immediate plans for it than it currently seems they do.