Marvel's most off the wall character finally gets his origin story told in the newest addition to the Marvel cinematic universe. Wade Wilson a former Special Forces Operative undergoes an experimental treatment to cure his multiple cancers. The experiment leaves Wade with enhanced healing abilities and a dysfunctional personality, leading him to become the anti-hero Deadpool: the "merc with a mouth". Armed with his enhanced abilities, training, and dark sense of humor, Deadpool sets out to get revenge on the people who turned him into the freak he's become while at the same time saving his girlfriend. Deadpool opened to near-unanimous critical-acclaim and was an instant box-office hit, making a serious case for the increasing potential of big-budget superhero flicks to serve as legitimate artistic productions instead of mere money-making studio projects.
The cast of the sequel to Deadpool got a major addition this week. Producer/star Ryan Reynolds announced that actress Zazie Beetz will play Domino, mercenary and member of the mutant team X-Force.
Beetz, a German-born actress best known for her recent role on Atlanta, won the role of Domino over nearly a half dozen other actresses. Reportedly also in the running were such high-profile names as Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), and Sienna Miller (American Sniper).
The casting of Domino is significant because the character is the partner of Cable, a mutant who will likely play a key role in the Deadpool sequel as well as the upcoming X-Force movie. The role of Cable has not yet been cast.
A teaser for the Deadpool sequel has been released in conjunction with Logan, the X-Men film that debuted last week. Deadpool 2 still has no firm release date, though.
The status of the X-Force film is also fuzzy; Reynolds is producing that project, too, and he insists that it's a priority. The only thing we really know for sure is that X-Force is likely to be dark, violent and R-rated, just like its predecessors.
It's only been a few months since Deadpool became the surprise blockbuster of 2016, and already the film has seen a sequel go into development and lose its director. This week, the news broke that, after the departure of the original film's director from the sequel, the score composer is leaving, too. It's not great news for a project that hopes to be the launch of a mega-lucrative superhero franchise.
The biggest blow to Deadpool 2 came in October with the departure of director Tim Miller because of his "creative differences" with producer and star Ryan Reynolds. There's been no trustworthy, official reason given for Miller's exit, but rumors have suggested that the disagreement was about the movie's budget, its style, or its casting decisions. In any case, it seems that Reynolds and Miller had different visions for the project, and in the end, Reynolds' version won.
This week it became apparent that Miller's departure would have some fall out. Composer Tom Holkenborg, who works under the pseudonym Junkie XL, said that working on a sequel "without Tim at the helm doesn't sit right with me," and he walked away from the project.
While Miller's departure will very likely delay the projected January 2018 release of Deadpool 2, fans of the original movie should take heart in the fact that Reynolds and original writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are still on board. That means, no doubt, that the sequel will still have plenty of crass humor and winking, fourth-wall-disrupting references to itself. Holkenborg's departure could mean that the soundtrack will rely more on campy pop music than on original music.
Deadpool was one of the most commercially successful films of 2016, and it's been piling up lots of award nominations so far this year, too. But will it be able to pull in a nomination for the biggest, most serious movie award around? We'll know for sure in a little over a week.
Deadpool was the sixth-highest-grossing movie of 2016, taking in about $363 million domestically. It's also been a critical hit, and it's being recognized by nearly every nominating organization during this awards season. It was nominated for the Golden Globes' biggest award (which it lost to La La Land), and it received a top nomination from the Producers Guild of America this week. It's also been nominated for major awards from the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America.
All of these prestigious nominations increase the possibility that Deadpool could nail a Best Picture Oscar nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That would be a huge milestone, not just because no superhero has ever been nominated for Best Picture before, but because the movie's irreverent tone sets it apart from the other more serious contenders.
It would be an unconventional choice for Best Picture, to be sure, but Deadpool's recognition from all of Hollywood's major professional organizations will no doubt encourage many Academy Members to vote outside the box.
Oscar nominations will be announced by the Academy on January 24.