Marvel's Kevin Feige Rejected The Original Idea For Deadpool & Wolverine

Six years after "Deadpool 2" became a huge hit (technically Brad Pitt's biggest movie), we're finally getting a third entry in the wildly popular superhero franchise. This time, Ryan Reynolds is suiting up again as the Merc with a Mouth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a wild, R-rated trip through the multiverse. Not only that, he's also called upon Hugh Jackman to put on the claws once more, with the actor suiting up as Wolverine for the first time since 2017's "Logan." The resulting film is director Shawn Levy's "Deadpool & Wolverine," which figures to be one of the biggest movies of the summer. However, arriving at the story at the center of this superhero blockbuster was no small task, as it turns out.

In a new interview with Empire, it's explained that Reynolds first pitched a "'Rashomon' story about Wolverine and Deadpool and something that they got into together, but told from three completely different perspectives." Reynolds added that it was "a way to make a large-scale movie in a very small way." This lines up with a brief logline the actor shared for a proposed version of "Deadpool 3" in early 2021. Ultimately, though, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige turned that idea down, with Feige explaining that he had the larger scope of the MCU to keep in mind. Reynolds, fortunately, had no shortage of ideas. As Feige put it:

"The truth is, I wasn't even sure how to incorporate Deadpool yet. I was very much thinking about how to bring mutants and the X-Men into [the MCU], and I thought it needed to be more than just playing the hits. But the truth is, Ryan is an idea machine. So he may have pitched that to me, but he also pitched 25 other thoughts and ideas."

Ryan Reynolds pitched the Sundance version of Deadpool

A whole lot happened in the aftermath of "Deadpool 2" hitting theaters in 2018. Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox closed in March 2019, which brought the "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" franchises under Marvel Studios' control. That also meant that the historically family-friendly Disney was now the studio in charge of the very R-rated "Deadpool" franchise. There was much to consider and Feige couldn't just simply go forth with whatever plans might have existed for "Deadpool 3" before the Disney acquisition. Reynolds wasn't phased, though, and went back to the drawing board. He even pitched a pretty unconventional idea for the film:

"I went back to the drawing board, and I wrote up about 18 different treatments. Some of them almost like a Sundance film, a budget of under $10 million, sort of using the IP in a way that they previously hadn't used, and I pitched bigger movies, and I pitched things in-between."

In the end, it was Jackman agreeing to return as Wolverine that truly got things moving in the right direction. Even though Feige advised Jackman against returning as Wolverine, producer Wendy Jacobson revealed that the train started barreling down the tracks once the actor was on board:

"We definitely spun our wheels a little bit trying to find the reason for this movie to be. Once Hugh raised his hand, two months later we were prepping. It was honestly one of the fastest turnarounds I've ever seen."

The cast also includes Emma Corrin, Morena Baccarin, Rob Delaney, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, and Matthew Macfadyen. Reynolds co-wrote the screenplay alongside Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Zeb Wells, and Levy.

"Deadpool & Wolverine" is set to reach theaters on July 26, 2024.