Screenwriting team Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are doing the press rounds this week to talk about Zombieland: Double Tap, the sequel to the 2009 horror comedy that initially put the duo on the Hollywood map. But of course these guys are also known for writing the two Deadpool movies, part of the core team that trudged along with star Ryan Reynolds for five years trying to launch their skewed superhero riff out of development hell.
We all know what happened after that: 2016’s Deadpool was a massive worldwide hit, with Deadpool 2 nearly as ginormous just two years later. And while a Deadpool 3 is an inevitability, last year’s Disney-Fox merger almost certainly ensures that the Merc with a Mouth will bludgeon his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point down the line (possibly Phase 5 or 6).
With all that in mind, we asked Reese and Wernick during the Zombieland: Double Tap press day in Los Angeles if they had any intel on Deadpool’s next adventure.
“We’re just waiting for the word from on high,” says Wernick. “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.”
But not to worry: Deadpool will return. “The promise is that there will be more Deadpool,” says Reese. “He will live in the R-rated universe that we’ve created, and hopefully we’ll be allowed to play a little bit in the MCU sandbox as well and incorporate him into that. We’ve just got to land on the right idea and once we do, I think we’ll be off to the races. We wake up thinking about Deadpool and we go to sleep thinking about Deadpool, so there will be another Deadpool and we just have to make it the right way.”
Perhaps surprisingly, the pair never formulated a specific idea for Deadpool 3 before Disney absorbed Fox and that studio’s Marvel properties. “We never had a pitch,” admits Wernick. “We never got that far. I think it was just because we were still in post-Deadpool 2 exhaustion, plus the merger was really — it was announced at a certain time, but it had been in the works for almost a year before it was announced and we all knew it. So there was just no point really. Knowing that there was going to be a regime change was getting too far down a path and we all realized that.”
But now that the merger is complete and the incorporation of characters like Deadpool, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four into the MCU is a certainty, we have to ask: which current MCU superhero would Reese and Wernick want Wade Wilson to butt heads with?
“Well, I always wanted it to be Captain America, Chris Evans as Captain America,” answers Wernick. “We thought there’s no better straight foil for Deadpool, because Deadpool’s all about foils. Usually it’s the peripheral characters who are wacky and the leads are more sane. Deadpool’s so wacky, you have to surround him with more sane people — Colossus is a great example, a stern kind of by-the-book guy. Captain America, to me it would’ve been the perfect character.
Wernick adds, “Now of course Chris is not going to do it anymore, so we’ll have to sort that out. But that was always my dream. Spider-Man can also be super fun cause he’s a young guy who Deadpool could maybe mentor or something in a mad way. The long story short is the Marvel Universe is a very rich, deep universe. With Deadpool, we were confined a little bit with certain villains, certain possible partners, but in the MCU it’s going to blow up and it’s just a question about finding the perfect foils.”
We’ll have more with Reese and Wernick in the days ahead to talk about Zombieland: Double Tap, but in the meantime, you can rest easy: Deadpool is coming soon to fuck up the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Zombieland: Double Tap is out in theaters Friday, October 18.
Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, RollingStone.com and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye