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Deadpool: Will We Ever See The Merc With A Mouth In The MCU?

Ever since the Walt Disney Company acquired the majority of 20th Century Fox's assets, successfully becoming one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world, people have wondered what the Mouse House and Marvel Studios would do with all the comic book characters now under their ownership. Heroes like the Fantastic Four and the Nova Frankie Raye, odder characters like Madrox the Multiple Man and Legion, super-groups like the X-Men and Alpha Flight, and villains like Doctor Doom and Annihilus now call Marvel Studios home — and fans are flipping over the thought of the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting bigger with those characters' potential debuts. 

But there's no character fans are more excited about possibly becoming an MCU mainstay than the Merc with a Mouth himself, Deadpool. They've all been asking the same question: Will we ever get to see Deadpool in the MCU? Let's discuss. 

A foul-mouthed, leather-clad, mutated anti-hero who obtained his powers after undergoing experimental treatment for cancer, Deadpool (real name: Wade Wilson) has graced the silver screen three times — first in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine (a movie we're sure many would like to forget actually exists) and then in a pair of 20th Century Fox films, Deadpool and Deadpool 2. In all three instances, the irresistibly charming Ryan Reynolds brought Deadpool to life. 

Like Spider-Man, the Merc with a Mouth is indeed a Marvel Comics character, but hasn't until now been property of Marvel Studios due to complicated film rights. Tom Holland's web-flinging superhero found his way into the MCU thanks to a 2015 agreement between Marvel and Sony Pictures that sees the studios share the rights to Spider-Man films. Sony distributes and has final creative say over the Spidey solo movies in the MCU, with Disney retaining the right to distribute films in which Spider-Man isn't the main character. Something similar could have happened with Deadpool, but the official acquisition of Fox by Disney is an even better outcome, as it basically guarantees that Deadpool will be a part of the MCU at some point in time. 

Unfortunately, Deadpool probably won't get initiated as a legit MCU member for several years. 

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said in April 2018, just under a year before Disney finalized its purchase of Fox, that it would be "years" before the merger affected the MCU in any way. This is, as fans would later find out, because Marvel has a five-year, post-Spider-Man: Far From Home content plan in place. That means that Marvel has completely mapped out its film schedule from 2020 (when Phase 4 will officially begin) through to 2025 (presumably the end of Phase 5). From there, no one but Marvel brass knows what will happen, but that's apparently the earliest that Deadpool could become a part of the MCU. 

"Any of that deal would take a while to get going and years from whenever ... it happens. Certainly it won't impact the five movies we've announced," Feige said at the time, referring to Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. "And it probably wouldn't impact anything for a handful of years after that. Because really, we're not thinking about that. We're thinking of delivering on what we promised. Any movie, especially for any characters we don't have the rights to yet until someone tells us we do, would be even further after that."

After the acquisition took place in March 2019, Feige reiterated these sentiments in an interview with io9. When the outlet asked Feige about when the X-Men (which includes Deadpool) will join the MCU, the Marvel boss said that "it'll be a while" and that the five-year plan is the studio's first priority. He continued, "It's all just beginning and the five-year plan that we've been working on, we were working on before any of that was set. So really it's much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they're home. That they're all back. But it will be a very long time."

Just because Feige has said it won't happen for a while doesn't mean that it's never going to happen. All signs point to Deadpool joining the MCU, with remarks that Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger made in the past serving as solid evidence to back that up. 

In December 2017, Iger stated that one of the biggest things the company was looking forward to post-acquisition was "expanding the MCU to include X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool." That same month, Iger discussed his openness to adjusting the parameters of the MCU to allow Deadpool, his love of violence, and his penchant for colorful language to better fit into the franchise without needing to water him down. He told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, "[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what's coming, we think we can manage that fine." 

At the end of the day, Feige is in control of X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool at Marvel Studios, so the final call on how and when to introduce Deadpool into the MCU is his. The most plausible way in which the Merc with a Mouth will hop into the MCU mix will be through a third Deadpool movie, which character creator Rob Liefeld has said is going to come to fruition at some point. Liefeld tweeted in January 2019, "Nothing like deadlines to clear your head... let me be clear Deadpool 3 will happen, some form, some fashion. That's not a concern to me. Disney paid $60 billion [editor's note: it was actually $71.3 billion] for Fox and Deadpool is most valuable asset in today's market. Makes more than X-Men films."

Some fans speculated that perhaps Deadpool would appear in the third Spider-Man movie before appearing in his first solo MCU movie, but Feige has said that isn't true in the slightest: "We're certainly having conversations about the future of all of those Fox properties, how to weave them in and when to weave them in. That one, in particular, is not the case."

Anyone worrying about whether Deadpool will get the same treatment as Spider-Man — that is, recast with a new actor and rebooted for a whole new film series — can breathe a sigh of relief. There's basically zero chance that Marvel will replace Reynolds in the role, as Feige once said, "When we [Marvel Studios] were purchased, Bob said to us, 'If it's not broke, don't fix it.' There's no question that Deadpool is working, so why would we change it?" 

All this considered, when pondering about when Deadpool will become an official MCU hero, remember the promising words Disney chairman Alan Horn once shared: "You'll be seeing more of Deadpool in the years to come."