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Deadpool 2 Director Defends Film's Divisive Death

Contains major spoilers for Deadpool 2

You can't have a Deadpool flick without a ton of deaths — the 2016 original proved that. And while the recently released Deadpool 2 featured its fair share of grim fates (don't get us started on what happens to Bill Skarsgård's Zeitgeist or Terry Crews' Bedlam), there was one that caused serious controversy: the death of Morena Baccarin's Vanessa, Wade Wilson's outspoken fiancée who was murdered in the first 15 minutes of the sequel. 

Many criticized the decision to kill off Vanessa, arguing that she had been "fridged," a term used when the girlfriend or wife of a hero is murdered or dies as a way to advance the plot and/or inspire the hero's self-discovery. Within Deadpool 2, that actually holds true: it took Vanessa dying for Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool to realize he wants to start a family, taking Julian Dennison's Russell under his wing as his pseudo-son. (A fire-shooting mutant son, but still.)

Amid the swirling controversy, Deadpool 2 director David Leitch opened up to ComicBook.com to discuss the situation and to defend Vanessa's divisive death. 

"I understand where they're coming from. As a filmmaker, I believe I have a record of strong female characters and proactive female characters," said Leitch, who directed the Charlize Theron-topped action thriller Atomic Blonde and had a hand in the Natalie Portman-led V for Vendetta.

Despite his past experience, however, Leitch stated that "it's different" with Deadpool. "It's Deadpool's movie, and you need to take everything away from him to humanize him," he said. "He can be grating and he can be sort of offensive and he can be all these things, but you need an emotional hook that grounds the movie that we can go on this journey with this character and experience Deadpool."

Leitch added that Vanessa is still heavily featured throughout Deadpool 2 — and was brought back in an emotional post-credits scene — and helps drive the narrative, bringing heart to the movie overall. 

"Quite frankly, she doesn't leave the movie," the director stated. "She is a huge point of contact for him and learning his lesson in the world and learning that one of act of kindness can change history. And I think without her being the vehicle that he learns that from, I don't know, it wouldn't have been the same film and so we wouldn't have had that emotional context. Even the scene at the end where they visit each other in the afterlife, hugely emotional, great performances by both of them. So, again, I don't think she left the movie."

Deadpool 2 screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick also spoke about Vanessa's role in the follow-up film, expressing feelings similar to Leitch's. 

"We didn't shoot Vanessa's material until the very last week on the movie or the last two weeks, maybe, and our lead camera operator, Luke Hosch came up to me right before we were about to shoot all that stuff and he said, 'You know, I love this from start to finish, I think it's so funny, but I'm worried that the movie won't be emotional enough,'" Reese told ComicBook.com. "And I said, 'Well, do me a favor.' I was like, 'Come back to me in two weeks, when we're done shooting, after we've shot all Vanessa's stuff and see if you feel the same way.' And at the end of two weeks he came back to me and was like, 'You nailed it, that was the spine it was missing in my mind.' So I do think that Vanessa was a little bit of the emotional underpinning of the movie and helped inform Julian's, the depth of Deadpool's feelings for Firefist and for the back and forth he has with Cable because they both lost a significant other."

Dead or alive, Vanessa will certainly remain an important part of the Deadpool canon for the foreseeable future — and might even pop up in another Deadpool or X-Force movie as her comic book alter-ego Copycat.