How Deadpool Could Join the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Deadpool 2 hit theaters just a few weeks after Avengers: Infinity War. But as fans know, despite also being based on Marvel comics, Wade Wilson does not exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

However, that is likely going to change pretty soon. Here’s a look at how and why Deadpool may be crossing over with the Avengers sometime in the future.

1. Disney will own Deadpool once the Fox deal goes through

Brianna Hildebrand, Ryan Reynolds and Colossus in 'Deadpool'.
Fox could soon own the right to the sassy crime-fighter. | Fox

The reason Deadpool is not currently a part of the MCU is that Marvel Studios does not own the rights to the character. Yes, Deadpool is from the Marvel comics. But it’s actually 20th Century Fox that owns him. Fox also owns all of the X-Men, as well as the Fantastic Four.

However, in 2017, Disney announced its plans to purchase 20th Century Fox. Once this deal officially goes through, Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, will have the rights to Deadpool.

Next: What is likely going to happen once the deal goes through.

2. Marvel could reboot all of the Fox properties except for Deadpool

Deadpool holding a knife in each hand as he prepares for battle.
Deadpool | Marvel Entertainment

Once the Fox deal goes through, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are likely going to join the MCU. And if they do, the only realistic way to do so would be by rebooting those properties.

After all, the current X-Men cast has already been with the franchise for seven years. That timeline has also gotten so confusing that incorporating it into the MCU would be difficult. It would be better to just get a completely fresh start with new actors. The same is true of the Fantastic Four, though it’s not as if Marvel would want to associate with the terrible 2015 movie anyway.

But Deadpool only started existing in live-action a few years ago, and Ryan Reynolds is widely considered to be the best possible actor for the role. So it’s likely that Marvel Studios will reboot all of the other Fox franchises but keep this same Deadpool around. How can they do that, though?

Next: The CEO of Disney weighs in on what will happen to Deadpool. 

3. Disney says it could keep Deadpool R-rated

'Deadpool' making a surprised facial expression.
Deadpool wouldn’t necessarily become a family flick. | Marvel Entertainment

When the Fox deal was first announced, Deadpool fans were immediately worried that Disney might sanitize the character and not let him be R-rated.

But Disney CEO Bob Iger says that this isn’t necessarily true, clarifying that the company is open to releasing an R-rated Deadpool film. Iger said, “We think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.” 

Next: One way Disney could handle this.

4. Deadpool could exist in his own universe

Deadpool standing in front of several tall buildings.
Deadpool could exist in his own universe. | Marvel Entertainment

One way that Disney could proceed is by having Deadpool exist in his own universe. Not his own movie universe, but literally his own universe. After all, the MCU has slowly been introducing the idea of multiple universes, both with the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man and with The Ancient One talking about a “vast multiverse” in Doctor Strange.

So Marvel doesn’t have to try to explain that Deadpool has existed in the MCU all this time. Rather, he could actually live in another universe separate from the MCU characters.

Iger himself has suggested that the MCU might focus more on separate worlds going forward. He told Vanity Fair, “We’re looking for worlds that are completely separate—geographically or in time—from the worlds that we’ve already visited.”

Next: Will Deadpool get to hang out with the Avengers?

5. Deadpool could cross over into the MCU universe sometimes

Collage featuring Deadpool and 'Avengers: Infinity War' characters.
Left: Deadpool could have his own storylines in the Marvel Universe. | Fox, Right: Marvel fans might need to get ready for some new movies. | Marvel

From there, it would be up to Marvel Studios whether they want to keep Deadpool in his separate universe or not. Keeping him separate would make sense, seeing as Deadpool is R-rated and filthy whereas the MCU is relatively family-friendly.

One option would be for the Deadpool movies to take place in Wade’s universe, but he can cross over into the MCU universe for events like Avengers. Disney could also have Wade cross over into the MCU universe permanently and release further Deadpool sequels under the Marvel Studios banner, but clearly marketing them as being R-rated and not for kids. Then, when he shows up in Avengers, he has to censor himself.

There’s already a theory that Avengers 4 will involve the characters crossing dimensions, so that could open the door to Deadpool hopping from his dimension into another.

Next: This would be a way to reset things but keep Ryan Reynolds around.

6. Marvel could give Deadpool a soft reboot but keep Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds is in a black suit while on the red carpet.
Ryan Reynolds | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

If Marvel Studios is to incorporate Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, that would mean they have little creative freedom and must adhere to the decisions made by a previous studio.

So one other possibility is that Marvel Studios can give the character a soft reboot, reintroducing him into the MCU in the same way it reintroduced Spider-Man in Civil War. However, Reynolds can still remain in the part; he’d basically be playing the same character, just with some elements of his backstory being tweaked to fit with the MCU continuity.

And of course, this discrepancy between the two characters could be something that Deadpool himself makes meta reference to.

Next: One final option that is worth considering. 

7. Disney could keep releasing Deadpool films under the Fox banner

Deadpool drawing a doodle of himself fighting a villain.
Would Deadpool fit in with the other Marvel characters? | Fox

Finally, one last option would be for Disney to not actually incorporate Deadpool into the MCU at all. Because he’s a filthy, R-rated character, Disney could keep releasing the movies under the 20th Century Fox banner.

So really, it would be like very little has changed; the Deadpool sequels would just be owned by a new company. And he could sometimes show up in the Avengers movies with little explanation since continuity doesn’t matter that much with Deadpool.

That seems unlikely, though, considering Bob Iger himself has suggested that the MCU will be expanded to include Deadpool. For what it’s worth, Reynolds himself doesn’t seem to feel that Disney will come in and start making too many changes to the character.

“I wouldn’t imagine that Disney bought Fox to dismantle it or something like that,” Reynolds told Entertainment Weekly. “I think that Disney bought Fox so it could have that in its arsenal.”

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