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The Version Of Deadpool 2 That Almost Was

Back in October 2016, just eight months after the unexpected smash hit Deadpool was released and when Deadpool 2 was still in early pre-production, director Tim Miller exited the project over what was described at the time as "creative differences" — purportedly involving a disagreement over the casting of Cable, which might have gone to Kyle Chandler but ultimately went to Josh Brolin. During Miller's recent appearance on The Fourth Wall podcast (via The Playlist) for his upcoming film Terminator: Dark Fate, conversation drifted into discussing his unproduced version of Deadpool 2 in greater detail, and the director offered up several surprises about what never came to be. 

It's impossible to judge through the opaque veil of time and what-ifs as to whether or not Miller's version of Deadpool 2 would have been a better movie than the one director David Leitch gave us in the end, but of Miller's two core diversions, one of them would have at least been a wiser choice for the plot. 

Vanessa's happier fate in Tim Miller's Deadpool 2

Possibly the biggest surprise coming out of the interview was the revelation that Miller had "fought hard" for an alternate storyline for Deadpool's (Ryan Reynolds) girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (played by Morena Baccarin). 

In Miller's version of the Deadpool 2 script, Vanessa would have transitioned into becoming Copycat, her comic-canonical alternate persona. That would have made quite a difference in terms of discourse surrounding the film as it was released, as Vanessa's death in Deadpool 2 was by far the most heavily-criticized plot point. Many felt the film caved to the trope of "fridging" women for the sake of man-pain, killing off Vanessa in order to push Wade Wilson's story in a new direction and generally motivate the mutant anti-hero. According to The Playlist, Vanessa would have had "a far richer character arc" in Miller's Deadpool 2 than what fans saw in Leitch's version, and his film would also have featured "a deeper exploration of the love story between herself and Wade."

In the case of Leitch's Deadpool 2, the post-credit scene absolutely implied Wade would go back in time after fixing Cable's device and acquire Vanessa from the past to avoid her death — which only brings up the question, "Why did you do it at all, then?" Wade is a character who is — apart from maybe Batman — the easiest to cook up existential angst from without killing the women they love. It seems Vanessa's murder in Deadpool 2 was completely avoidable, and it turns out, the original director saw that and made a rather herculean effort to avoid it. Hopefully everyone involved learned a bit of a lesson about hubris from all this.

The problem of Copycat in Tim Miller's version of Deadpool 2

Questionable plot choices related to Vanessa in Deadpool 2 notwithstanding, there are some hiccups in making Vanessa as she's presented in Deadpool become Copycat in the sequel movie. In the comics, Copycat is a mutant — and powers-wise, she's basically Mystique because she, too, is a shapeshifter. Deadpool doesn't establish Vanessa as a mutant, and actually makes it somewhat of a big deal in the script that she's very much a normie human compared to all the weirdos around her duking it out. 

So, how do you get her from A to B? The 20th Century Fox-released X-Men and X-Men-adjacent film canon pre-established that a mutant is something you are born as — with the critical exception of Wade, who was experimented on and became what he is (and also is very imperfect compared to Actual Mutants). That presents a pretty significant problem. Do you subject Vanessa to the same circumstances as Wade to make her a shapeshifter — that being extreme torture and experimentation — which she must be rescued from? If you do, you're back at square one in terms of questionable plots to subject women to. 

Now that Vanessa has died, perhaps Wade's wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey deus ex machina at the end of Leitch's Deadpool 2 permits the possibility of him going back in time to pick up an alternate Vanessa (by accident?) who is a mutant. There's also a chance that the process of acquiring her mutates her. It's dubious that any screenwriter would intentionally create this as an elaborate arc they've been planning towards all along (and may already be attempting to argue), but it would make a convenient vector to write out of the box they painted themselves into. It appears we'll simply have wait and see how things pan out in the not-yet-confirmed Deadpool 3.

The Thing would have smashed his way into Tim Miller's Deadpool sequel

The other big surprise in Miller's version of Deadpool 2? Fantastic Four's the Thing was included, meant to fight the hulking mutant Juggernaut (also played by Ryan Reynolds) in the climax. 

This would have been the first official attempted crossover inclusion of a Fantastic Four character into Fox canon — and as we are all very aware, Fox tried for a long time to get the four of them off the ground. Featuring the Thing in Deadpool 2 would have been a good segue into another potential Fantastic Four reboot, and would undoubtedly have garnered huge response from audiences.

There are a couple of problems with this, however. 

One is technical: Who, exactly, do you use for the Thing? Do you bring back Jamie Bell, who was the last man to do motion capture and voiceover for the Thing, and remind viewers that your incredible box office flop from 2015 exists all over again? The inclusion of the Thing in Deadpool 2 at all, irrespective of actor chosen, would probably do that. Additionally, it may foster more dread than hype that another attempt at a Fantastic Four movie might be pending. That's not exactly good for marketing either.

The other issue is a business-related one that we didn't know (or at least have confirmation of) at the time: the Disney-Fox merger, which, as we understand now, will see the eventual inclusion of the Fantastic Four into Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. Miller almost certainly had zero knowledge of this deal, much less its particulars, so his pitch to include the Thing in Deadpool 2 was a purely innocent one for the sake of action in his own lil' film.