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Was Ryan Reynolds' secret Marvel meeting about Deadpool 3?

Is Ryan Reynolds trolling us, or is Deadpool edging closer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The star recently took to Instagram to post an image of himself apparently standing in the lobby of Marvel Studios (along with a characteristically cheeky caption), renewing speculation that the Deadpool franchise will soon continue in the MCU.

Reynolds, strangely enough, was not decked out in Deadpool's costume for his visit to Mighty Marvel. (We just kind of assumed he wears it more often than not.) Instead, he appeared in slacks and a buttoned shirt, looking for all the world like the normal guy that we all know he's not. The caption read, "Auditioned for the role of 'Anthony Stark.' Didn't come even remotely close, but the nice man with the taser escorted me to the ground."

Reynolds may be the unofficial social media humor champion, but if he doesn't know that this image is going to send the Marvel faithful into an absolute tizzy, then we here at Looper are actually the Avengers. Ever since the film and television assets of Fox Studios were acquired by Marvel Studios' parent company Disney earlier this year, Reynolds has been teasing just how down he is with the House of Mouse — and despite the fact that both films in Fox's Deadpool franchise carried the hardest of R ratings, fans have been breathlessly awaiting the announcement that Deadpool 3 will indeed take place in the MCU all year long.

Well, we haven't gotten it yet — but this image is the strongest indication so far that the idea is being kicked around, although we should caution you that it could also mean absolutely nothing. Perhaps Reynolds was just in the neighborhood, and he decided to drop by to gift Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige with a nice box of muffins from that bakery down the street. But if — if, mind you — Marvel is far enough along with their plans for Deadpool 3 to actually bring the star in for a chat about the project, then it's possible that we could be getting that official announcement in the near future.

What have Deadpool's writers said about the character's future in the MCU?

Reynolds is apparently savvy enough to keep from talking too much about the prospect of an MCU-set Deadpool 3, but fortunately for us, the guys who wrote the first two movies haven't been able to keep their mouths shut about it. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who also penned the soon-to-be-released Zombieland: Double Tap, have had Deadpool on the brain during their promotional rounds for that film — and if they are to be believed, fitting the Merc with a Mouth into the MCU is simply a matter of timing.

During a wide-ranging interview with Uproxx, the pair were asked a simple question about whether they were "in the loop" regarding Deadpool's future after the Fox-Disney merger. A simple "yes" might have sufficed, but Wernick's jaw came unhinged, and this poured out: "We are in the loop. And the plan is to keep Deadpool in his R-rated universe. I think Disney knows what it has in [the] Deadpool [franchise] and how special it is, and unique, and I think they'll let us continue to play in that sandbox." 

Oh, but he wasn't done. "The hope moving forward... is that we get to bring in some MCU toys along the way. And that's where we're at. And Deadpool lives in our head on a daily basis," the scribe said. "We wake up thinking about it and go to bed dreaming about it. So, you know, we have to land on the right idea. We're always in touch with Ryan Reynolds. He's a good friend of ours. We have many projects with him. And so the subject comes up often. And once we land on that one idea that we all get excited about, I think it'll be off to the races."

Reese echoed these remarks when asked the same question by Den of Geek, and Wernick improbably had even more to say. "We're just waiting for the word from on high," he said. "There's a lot to be sorted out, like how Deadpool fits into the Marvel Universe with the other characters and into the release schedule of the MCU. Then it's, do the X-Men get in there at some point? Fantastic Four? There's a lot to be sorted out, and I think we're all getting a much needed rest from Deadpool — Ryan and us and everybody."

Okay, we've got to take issue with the suggestion that anybody needs a break from Deadpool, with the possible exception of Reynolds' wife. But all of these remarks certainly seem to suggest that Deadpool 3 has been on the minds of Disney and Marvel brass, and we're going to go ahead and guess that Reynolds' visit to Marvel Studios wasn't a casual one. 

Of course, we'll have our eyes peeled and our ears to the ground for any and all news regarding Deadpool's cinematic future, and we'll be sure to keep you up to speed. In the meantime, let's all hope that Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios can get a permanent arrangement in place, so that Deadpool can share the screen with his soulmate.