The History of Deadpool and Wolverine’s Prickly Relationship

Deadpool 3 will reunite Ryan Reynolds' Wade Wilson and Hugh Jackman's Wolverine in the MCU. The duo have one of Marvel Comics' most strained relationships.

Deadpool Ending with Hugh Jackman Mask
Photo: 20th Century Studios

Well, how about that? Deadpool 3 is going to bring back Hugh Jackman as Wolverine! Considering the big announcement centered around it and the claw-based logo, Marvel looks to be treating this as a major part of the movie and not a high-profile cameo like Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. They are outright selling us on the idea of a Deadpool/Wolverine team-up at the box office!

This is obviously not the first time we’ve seen these two together in the movies. Deadpool 3 will be coming out a sobering FIFTEEN YEARS after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, known as what not to do with the X-Men movie rights. The movie introduced a version of Deadpool that has been met with rightful mockery. Since then, images of Wolverine have shown up in the Deadpool movies as a running gag, including a moment of reused footage from Origins during the Deadpool 2 mid-credits.

Considering this upcoming movie will be part of the MCU, we might as well just accept that Deadpool’s movies are in a different universe than Fox’s X-Men movies anyway, and with a focus here on Deadpool and Wolverine, there is a great dynamic to be mined. In their shared Marvel Comics history, the two have shared an interesting relationship based around the idea that Wade Wilson is the adopted little brother that Logan just can’t stand.

At least, that is how it started.

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The Early Years

Technically, Deadpool first met Wolverine during the events of Secret Wars due to a very complicated retcon that I would rather not get into. The first actual crossover was Wolverine #88 back in 1994. This is kind of crazy in retrospect because X-Men: The Animated Series had a habit of showing Deadpool’s visage as a reference to their shared Weapon X history. Deadpool as a character never appeared, but his form was shown in memories and in shapeshifter forms to mess with Wolverine. These episodes all came out before the two characters even met up in the comics!

Written by Larry Hama and drawn by Adam Kubert and Fabio Laguna, Wolverine #88 had little to do with their Weapon X history. Instead, Deadpool crossed paths with Wolverine on his way to kill Garrison Kane and Copycat (or as Deadpool movie fans would know her as, Vanessa). Deadpool was a real asshole at the time and he did not handle it well that his ex-girlfriend had moved on. In their first fight, Deadpool rather handily defeated Wolverine by puncturing both lungs with his katanas and then leaving him to die.

By the end of the issue, Deadpool only backed off because of being outnumbered by Wolverine, Copycat, and Kane. While this issue seemed to be a way to push Kane as a cool 90s comic book hero, he instead turned evil a few years later, fell into obscurity, and was cut from the first Deadpool movie due to lack of budget.

Deadpool Reformed

Wolverine and Deadpool continued to have little to do with each other, but did have a rather memorable fight in the pages of Deadpool #27 back during the defining Joe Kelly run. The run is beloved for taking Deadpool and reforming him into somebody who may not BE a hero, but he is trying. After saving the world, Deadpool started having unexplained delusions and his psychiatrist Dr. Bong (famed Howard the Duck villain) suggested he get in a big superhero fight, as those types of situations tend to help Deadpool mentally for some reason.

Wanting to be responsible and taking on someone who could not easily die, Deadpool kept trying to pick a fight with Wolverine. The annoyed Wolverine flat-out refused. Deadpool got him to change his mind via asking a smug Kitty Pryde if she played Street Fighter prior to uppercutting her into the distance with a yell of, “SHORYUKEN!” Not only did this lead to Wolverine cutting up Deadpool and Deadpool figuring out a solution to his mental issue, but when Deadpool was added into Marvel vs. Capcom 3 years later, Capcom made sure that Deadpool was able to perform Ryu’s iconic special move.

They met again in Wolverine Annual ’99, where they teamed up against a bunch of werewolves. After the fight, the two made something resembling a truce when Wolverine punched Deadpool in the face and offered to let Deadpool buy him some drinks.

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Wolverine’s Shadow

Although the two fought from time to time, they never did really go into the elephant in the room: Deadpool was an experiment based around synthesizing Wolverine’s healing factor. He wasn’t quite a clone, but an attempt to recreate Logan in a non-mutant form. They finally delved into this in the pages of Wolverine Origins, where Deadpool went full Chuck Jones with various cartoonish Wolverine traps until finally capturing his prey.

With Wolverine as a captive audience, ready to be killed, Wade laid out his bitterness. Wolverine is this handsome hero with a team full of people who love and respect him. Despite this, Wolverine is a gruff asshole who spends his time trying to get revenge on those who wronged him. Meanwhile, Deadpool is a hated, ugly loner who is a freak among freaks. He’s not allowed to join the X-Men because he’s not really a mutant, making him a man without a country. Bitterly looking at his scarred reflection and then tugging his mask down, Deadpool grumbled, “I’m the one who should be out for revenge…”

The X-Men

Deadpool would force himself onto the X-Men team a couple times, very much against Wolverine’s will. During one such time, Deadpool was widely hated due to the false belief that he tried to help Skrulls take over Earth months. Deadpool secretly knew that he could never truly work as a member of the X-Men and played the team, making himself look like a crazed villain who needed to be beaten down by the mutant heroes. He used his own rotten reputation to make the X-Men look so much better to the public eye for stopping his scheme.

Then came Uncanny X-Force and the moment where things truly changed. At the time, X-Force was the deadly black ops team that the rest of the X-Men didn’t know about else they would have moral disputes over it existing. Deadpool was part of the secret team, hired by Archangel. One mission involved them having to hunt down a reborn Apocalypse. To their surprise, the new Apocalypse was in the form of a child. With the team questioning how to handle the situation, Fantomex coldly took action and shot the young mutant in the head.

Sometime later, Deadpool called a team meeting, not because of any special missions on the agenda, but because he was having a hard time dealing with Fantomex’s actions. He did not sign on to murder children. Wolverine tried deluding himself into believing that it was for the greater good and did so by dressing Wade down for being a soulless, greedy, piece of shit. Deadpool acknowledged that and added, “Yeah. But I never killed a kid,” before storming out.

To Wolverine’s complete shock, Archangel then told him that after over a year of employing Deadpool, Deadpool never once cashed any of his checks. He was not doing this for money, but for the chance to do right.

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Deadpool, Wolverine, and Captain America

Their relationship took another turn in the Gerry Duggan run of Deadpool. In a story called “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” Deadpool found out that for years, a Weapon X scientist named Butler had been capturing him, harvesting his organs, and heavily drugging him (explaining that some of Deadpool’s adventures were in his mind, but not explicitly saying which ones). Deadpool went to Wolverine to ask for help, only to be told to piss off. He asked Captain America for help too, but was given a slightly more polite rebuff. Later, all three of them were captured by Butler and thrown into a story involving a North Korean prison camp. While the adventure brought the three closer, things got tragic when Deadpool searched for an old flame of his named Carmella who turned out to have been killed by enemy soldiers and thrown into a mass grave.

The heartbreaking situation (plus the belief that Wade’s long-lost daughter was among the dead), earned sympathy from Wolverine and Cap. Wolverine died shortly after, so there was little follow-up on that breakthrough in their relationship. As for Cap, he and Deadpool became better friends during this time with Cap adding him to the Avengers and Deadpool using his newfound fame and fortune to fund the team.

As with most comic status quos, Wolverine came back to life and Deadpool ended up destroying his own reputation due to various things. Mainly because he trusted Cap with his life and Secret Empire did the whole “Captain America has always been secretly working for Hydra” crap. You can see where that loyalty would trip up Deadpool’s life.

The HoXPoX Era

Now that mutants are separatists living on Krakoa, Deadpool has been trying to get himself accepted there as an honorary mutant. Despite Wolverine refusing his wishes again and again, Deadpool finally regained his trust during a team-up and was given a spot on X-Force. Now he’s annoying everyone on Krakoa, but at least he has something to fight for.

Deadpool has been through a lot, both as a hero and a villain, but if anything, he sees Wolverine as what he can be and what he should be. Logan is the measuring stick and if Wade is able to get that gruff government experiment to respect him and see the good in him, then Deadpool knows he’s doing the right thing.

Hopefully we get some of that brotherly hero worship in the movie.

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