While the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be known for its family-friendly attitude and wholesome image, as befits Disney’s branding, there’s change on the horizon as Deadpool is set to (eventually) suit up alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. After two R-rated juggernauts lorded it over the box office, the Merc with a Mouth has officially come under the reins of Mickey Mouse.
As fans patiently wait for Ryan Reynolds to return to the role of Wade Wilson, a fan theory pointed out how David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 actually makes the foul-mouth, fourth-wall-breaking mercenary incompatible with the MCU. Ironically, it boils down to the convoluted storyline of Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame.
Posting on Reddit, MCU fan u/Joonicks highlighted the moment in Deadpool 2 when the titular anti-hero and Josh Brolin’s Cable manage to change the past. The movie plays out as Cable tries to kill Russell Collins (Julian Dennison) before he grows up to become the villainous Firefist and kill Cable’s family.
When Cable arrives on the scene, he’s equipped with his cybernetic arm, a heavy arsenal of weaponry and a torched teddy bear that belonged to his deceased daughter. Deadpool manages to successfully reform Russell before he becomes the big bad of Cable’s apocalyptic future. The movie ends with Cable’s future being altered and the burned bear returning to normal.
So what? This what: it is in direct contradiction to Endgame‘s explicit time-travel rules. In one of Endgame‘s deeper scenes, Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One explains to Bruce Banner how time travel creates an alternate timeline rather than affecting the future. According to Endgame, Deadpool 2‘s time-travel trickery is in direct contradiction to the MCU.
Joonicks writes: “Such effects were explicitly rejected in Avengers: Endgame. And so Deadpool exists in a different reality with different natural laws, not just a different timeline.”
It’s no secret that Endgame played fast and loose with its time travel. Despite mocking the flaws in the likes of Back to the Future, the MCU’s 21st entry backed itself into a corner with its own time-travel paradoxes. Even the Russos can’t seem to agree with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely on how the movie’s complex time-travel rules really work.
Deadpool 2 works along the same line as Back to the Future and riffs on the idea of Marty McFly’s photograph changing due to his meddling in the past. Of course, the Deadpool 2 problem can easily be explained away in Deadpool 3: Wade Wilson is known for his many nods to the audience, meaning a simple throwaway line could rectify the situation.
Even though Avengers: Endgame is held in almost universally high regard, critics have made no secret about the sometimes confusing laws of time travel. It seems that Captain America’s last-minute decision to stay in the past could have some serious consequences and potentially kick-start the Marvel Multiverse. Although some might find it frustrating, the whole idea of the Multiverse would also make for a neat introduction of Deadpool.
Just like his comic book counterpart, Deadpool is known for his cartoonish antics when compared to the rest of the MCU. Aside from the R-rated nature of the Deadpool franchise in general, Wilson’s whole dynamic is very different to the usually serious MCU.
Across his two movies, Deadpool has frequently poked fun at the absence of the X-Men – which led to Deadpool 2‘s memorable cameo from the X-Men: Dark Phoenix cast. If Deadpool 3 decides to address the time-travel conundrum, it could easily be done with one of the character’s many meta comments. Elsewhere, it’s likely that Deadpool 3 will also have to explain why Cable looks a lot like Thanos.
With fans eagerly awaiting the arrival of Fox properties like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, it looks increasingly likely that Reynolds’ portrayal of Deadpool will be a lone survivor of the Disney merger. As Deadpool 3 continues to rumble forward, chances are fans won’t be seeing him back on their screens for quite some time.
Kevin Feige has already downplayed the arrival of the X-Men before 2025, meaning we’ll probably have forgotten Deadpool 2‘s time-travel trouble by the time Reynolds slips into his spandex once again.
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