Marvel Confirms Radical MCU Reboot, ‘Deadpool 3’ Release Canceled

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A person in a red and black Deadpool costume with crossed-out eyes gestures with their hands, standing in a foggy environment.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Marvel has revealed its intentions to radically alter the MCU following internal developments, confirming that Deadpool 3 is officially no more.

The journey to Marvel Studios, and by extension, The Walt Disney Company, gaining ownership of the Deadpool franchise has been a long one. With rumors flaring about the current direction of Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, including how the studio will navigate the path to 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars, the continued discussion over the cancelation of Deadpool 3 continues.

Deadpool in red and black suit converses with Logan/Wolverine in a dimly lit room, adorned with lights, suggesting a casual, slightly tense atmosphere.
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Journey of Deadpool 3

How did Deadpool become owned by Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company?

In 2009, comic book movie fans were introduced to Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, for the first time in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Here, the actor’s turn as the Merc with a Mouth was negatively received–as was the entire feature film–but, nevertheless, Reynolds returned to the role in a self-titled soft reboot.

Tim Miller’s Deadpool (2016) and David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 (2018) exist in Fox’s superhero universe. Alongside the X-Men series, which features films like X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), and X-Men: The Last Stand (2007), as well as the Fantastic Four movies (both the 2005 and 2007 duology and 2015’s complete misfire), the Deadpool two-parter was distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'
Credit: 20th Century Fox

However, in 2019, The Walt Disney Company acquired most of the assets of 21st Century Fox–as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation had renamed it in 2013–including the 20th Century Fox film studio. Following the purchase, which came in at $52.4 billion after an initial bidding war between the Mouse House and Comcast (which later dropped out), Disney renamed the 20th Century Fox film unit to 20th Century Studios.

As such, with Marvel Studios already under Disney following a 2008 acquisition, the company that brought the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe into the pop culture canon suddenly had the likes of Deadpool, Wolverine, and the Fantastic Four under their authority.

Deadpool holding a boom box
Credit: 20th Century Studios

What films does Deadpool appear in?

While under 20th Century Fox, the popular mercenary character appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Deadpool (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018), and Once Upon a Deadpool (2018)–a remix retelling of Deadpool 2. Ryan Reynolds played every iteration of Deadpool across these films and also starred as the character in the short film No Good Deed (2017) and Deadpool and Korg React (2021).

Ryan Reynolds also played Juggernaut via motion capture and cameoed as himself in Deadpool 2. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese scribed both Deadpool feature films, with Reynolds credited as a writer as well on the sophomore movie.

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Credit: 20th Century Studios

What plans were there for Deadpool 3?

As development got underway for Deadpool 2 in 2016, Fox was also planning a spinoff of the franchise with a movie centering on the X-Force team. In 2017, Rhett Reese, a writer for the Deadpool films, said that the X-Force spinoff would be different from a future Deadpool 3.

“Yeah, Deadpool 3 will be different from X-Force,” the Marvel writer told CinemaBlend. “So I think we’ll be able to take two paths. One is where we’re launching something bigger, but then another where we’re contracting and staying personal and small. So I think best of all worlds, really.”

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Credit: 20th Century Studios

While Deadpool 3 never got off the ground following Disney’s 21st Century Fox purchase–even with the 2020 announcement of Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Loeglin writing a script–Dopinder actor Karan Soni recently revealed how this seemingly “personal and small” third movie was going to happen.

“Yes, I think it’s online a little bit, so I can. It was going to be originally a road trip movie where Deadpool tries to save Christmas, so we all go to the North Pole,” Soni said to Screen Rant in early 2024.

Deadpool 3 would not happen, though, after Disney got involved. In 2020, it was reported that all X-Men projects, including the proposed X-Force movie and Deadpool 3, were all canceled. The last entries in the X-Men franchise were X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) and The New Mutants (2020).

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix
Credit: 20th Century Studios

More on Deadpool & Wolverine (2024)–the film that replaced the defunct Deadpool 3–later, but before Marvel Studios could get to the point of introducing Deadpool into the MCU, they needed a plan. In fact, Ryan Reynolds had 25-plus pitches ready for Kevin Feige.

In a recent Empire Magazine feature, Ryan Reynolds shared that the Marvel Studios President shut down his initial pitch. This, a Rashomon story, saw multiple characters narrate contradictory versions of the same event. “It was a way to make a large-scale movie in a very small way,” the actor told the publication.

Despite this, though, Feige says Reynolds kept bringing him more.

Wade Wilson (Deadpool) and Dogpool
Credit: Ryan Reynolds, Instagram

“The truth is, I wasn’t even sure how to incorporate Deadpool yet,” the Marvel boss said. “I was very much thinking about how to bring mutants and the X-Men into [the MCU], and I thought it needed to be more than just playing the hits. But the truth is, Ryan is an idea machine. So he may have pitched that to me, but he also pitched 25 other thoughts and ideas.”

Those included Sundance-style movies with a less than $10 million budget, as well as big blockbuster versions and everything in between.

Kevin Feige at D23
Credit: D23

“We definitely spun our wheels a little bit trying to find the reason for this movie to be,” executive producer Wendy Jacobson told the outlet. “Once Hugh [Jackman] raised his hand, two months later we were prepping. It was honestly one of the fastest turnarounds I’ve ever seen.”

And so, eight years after news surfaced on its development, fans will finally get to see Deadpool 3–no, Deadpool & Wolverine–this July.

Wolverine and Deadpool stand in the middle of a deserted street, dressed in their superhero costumes, with a damaged pharmacy and debris in the background.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Deadpool & Wolverine

How did Deadpool & Wolverine happen?

As alluded to above, the addition of Hugh Jackman drastically changed the premise of the third Deadpool movie. In fact, so much so that director Shawn Levy is leaning into this reboot notion by claiming his movie is not Deadpool 3.

“It also gave me an opportunity. It’s the third Deadpool movie, but it’s not Deadpool 3,” Levy told Screen Rant at CinemaCon earlier this year. “It’s a different thing that’s very much Deadpool and Wolverine. And it’s not trying to copycat anything from the first two movies. They were awesome, but this is a two-hander character adventure.”

A heart made with Deadpool and Wolverine's hands
Credit: Marvel Studios

Deadpool and Wolverine are perhaps two of the most beloved Marvel Universe characters, and their inclusion in the live-action canon portrayed by two Hollywood heavyweights only added to their popularity.

In late April, Levy acknowledged the interconnectedness of the MCU. Speaking to AP News, the director said, “[t]his movie is built for entertainment, with no obligation to come prepared with prior research.”

This adds to the idea that Marvel is aware of the pressure for fans to consume everything they release. In fact, months ago, the studio announced its latest banner, Marvel Spotlight, which focuses on individual stories set within the MCU, the first of which was Echo.

Alaqua Cox as Echo/Maya Lopez in 'Hawkeye'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Now, Levy is revealing just how much Hugh Jackman changed the development of the third movie. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Levy said:

“Everything changed radically on the day that Hugh called Ryan [Reynolds]. We had been workshopping a lot of ideas about possible stories for a third Deadpool movie. Those were story ideas that were more sequelly to the first two Deadpools, but none of them imagined such a seismic shift. I can safely say that the story completely changed and, in fact, came to us very, very quickly starting that day.”

Hugh Jackman, channeling Wolverine, looks intense with a stubble, wearing a white t-shirt, as he stands in a misty field with tall grass and ruins in the background.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Levy goes on to clear up the assumption that he and Reynolds were the ones pestering Jackman to board the production. “But even more miraculously, this was the result of a Hugh Jackman epiphany,” Levy told EW. “He wanted to do this team-up of Logan and Deadpool, and so it really was a sky-opening gift from the heavens type of phone call that changed everything.”

The director also repeated his comments from CinemaCon, letting people know that this movie is a true two-hander of two massive movie stars. No Deadpool 3, just Deadpool & Wolverine.

A close-up image of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and intense expression, wearing a yellow and black suit, seemingly viewed from a low angle in "Deadpool 3.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Who is directing Deadpool & Wolverine?

Shawn Levy is directing Deadpool & Wolverine for Marvel Studios. Levy’s notable credits include directing the Ben Stiller-led Night at the Museum film franchise, which was released from 2006 through 2014, and producing Netflix’s massive streaming hit, Stranger Things. The series, starring Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, and Winona Ryder, returns for its fifth and final season in 2025.

Levy is also no stranger to his two leading men. The director helmed Real Steel (2011) with Hugh Jackman while more recently directing Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy (2021) and The Adam Project (2022). The latter also featured Disney’s Percy Jackson actor Walker Scobell in his feature film debut. Jackman also appeared in smaller roles in both Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) and Free Guy.

Deadpool in full costume stands in an elevator, holding up an index finger as if making a point or waiting for someone to listen, with a wood-paneled background and elevator buttons on the side.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Who is in the cast of Deadpool & Wolverine?

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman co-lead the cast in their iconic roles as Wade Wilson/Deadpool and James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine, respectively.

Deadpool & Wolverine also stars Emma Corrin as Cassandra Nova (Charles Xavier’s twin sister), Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, Rob Delaney as Peter, Matthew Macfadyen as Time Variance Authority agent Mr. Paradox, Karan Soni as Dopinder, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Aaron Stanford as John Allerdyce/Pyro, Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios, Shioli Kutsuna as Yukio, Stefan Kapičić as Colossus, and Lewis Tan as Shatterstar.

Deadpool (L) and Dopinder (R)
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Also seen in various production footage, including the latest trailer, are the characters Sabretooth, Toad, Lady Deathstrike, and Azazel from various films in the X-Men series.

Unfortunately, there has still been no word on whether the rumored appearance of global music megastar Taylor Swift will be joining the MCU ranks. “The Tortured Poets Department” creator has been teased at playing Dazzler or Lady Deadpool–another Variant of Deadpool, with confirmed Variants already including Dogpool, Kidpool, Headpool, and Babypool.

Taylor Swift in promotional shot for The Eras Tour
Credit: Taylor Swift Productions

Hollywood star Blake Lively, Reynolds’ wife, has also had her name thrown in the ring of potential actresses to play the Lady Deadpool character, although nothing has been confirmed.

When is Deadpool & Wolverine being released?

Deadpool & Wolverine is being released worldwide on July 26, 2024, exclusively in theaters. Watch the latest trailer here:

Where does Deadpool & Wolverine take place in the MCU?

Deadpool & Wolverine takes place in Marvel Phase Five, following on from Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels (2023) in the expanding Multiverse Saga. What started with the negatively-received Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) will end in 2025 with Thunderbolts*.

However, while this new Marvel movie is being released in Phase Five, there’s no real confirmation whether it will take place in the MCU’s current day. Part of this is due to orchestrations behind the scenes that suggest Marvel Studios is aiming to, in the words of the Time Variance Authority, prune its own franchise.

loki and tva agent b-15
Credit: Marvel Studios

Deadpool & Wolverine looks to heavily involve some aspects of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki series, namely the Time Variance Authority (TVA). In the first teaser trailer, Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is accosted by TVA agents at his home and is later told by Mr. Paradox (Macfadyen) that he is needed to rectify the Sacred Timeline.

As Deadpool, no Marvel Jesus, says while watching clips of classic MCU movies featuring the Avengers: “Your little cinematic universe is about to change forever.” Watch out, Captain America; someone else is apparently going to save the day this time.

Mr. Paradox (L) and Wade Wilson (R) watching scenes from the MCU involving Captain America at the Time Variance Authority
Credit: Marvel Studios

This idea that Deadpool & Wolverine is not unfounded. In the world of the film, that is, the world of the MCU canon, rumors have swirled regarding the events that may transpire. A mechanism called “The Anchor” has been explored, which sees a Variant’s entire universe supposedly pruned when they die in the so-called Battleworld-style area of the movie.

When taking into account another report that says 70-75% of the film will be spent in the Void–the area where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) found his Variants in the first season of the Disney+ show–and the appearance of Alioth in the trailer, it seems to suggest that an important Multiverse-level event is about to take place this summer.

Deadpool jumping
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: Actress Walks Away From ‘Captain Marvel’ Leaving MCU Future Shattered, Addresses Exit

Then, behind the scenes, Marvel Studios is rapidly trying to steer the course of this turbulent period. With movies like the third and second Ant-Man and Captain Marvel movies bombing at the box office and so-called superhero fatigue flaring through the audience, Disney’s action seems to be one of quality over quantity.

In fact, just this week, Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger confirmed that moving forward, there will be a maximum of three MCU movies released per year, but two ideally. Alongside this, a maximum of two Disney+ series will also released.

Bob Iger posing in front of several screens displaying various Disney owned properties
Credit: Disney

“We’re slowly going to decrease volume and go to probably about two TV series a year instead of what had become four and reduce our film output from maybe four a year to two, or a maximum of three,” Iger said during Disney’s recent earnings call for Q2, adding the company is working hard on this chosen path (via Deadline).

These comments come just months after the CEO challenged this perception of audience fatigue ruining Marvel’s movies. At the 2024 Morgan Stanley conference, Iger said people will come if great movies are made.

Deadpool holding a small, suited creature, standing next to Wolverine, with a serious expression, in a gloomy urban setting from Deadpool 3.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Disney Officially Shares Marvel Franchise “Self-Destruction” Imminent

The pressure is on for Shawn Levy, Ryan Reynolds, and Hugh Jackman. Here’s hoping the summer does not fall flat for superheroes and that audiences are ready for the MCU’s first R-rated movie.

For those that cannot wait to see this iconic pair team up onscreen, “Deadpool and Wolverine: WWII” from Joe Kelly and Adam Kubert for Marvel Comics hits stands this May.

Are you looking forward to seeing Deadpool & Wolverine this July? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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