Director Breaks Silence on Deadpool 3 Decision, Alters Fate of Deadpool & Wolverine

Shawn Levy has clarified why 2024’s only MCU movie isn’t just a direct Deadpool sequel, explaining its trend-breaking title.

Deadpool with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine

Shawn Levy has explained why Deadpool & Wolverine isn’t just Deadpool 3, offering some context to why Marvel changed the title trend after Fox’s original Deadpool movies. Deadpool & Wolverine will land in theaters on July 26, 2024, with a huge weight of expectation behind it. So far, 2024 has been comparatively muted for Marvel, even with January’s Echo pulling in solid critical ratings, and X-Men ’97 hitting all the right notes, but Deadpool & Wolverine represents a real chance to hit the fabled billion dollar box office milestone.

That said, director Shawn Levy has different priorities to concentrate on, including making something worthy of the star power afforded to it by Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds. And in an exclusive interview with Screen Rant at CinemaCon, Levy revealed that while Deadpool & Wolverine is obviously a Deadpool movie, it’s wrong to consider it just as Deadpool 3, and exactly what determines the important distinction:

As far as crafting the Deadpool and Wolverine story, I just felt privileged every day because you’re talking about two massive movie stars in their most iconic roles. It also gave me an opportunity. It’s the third Deadpool movie, but it’s not Deadpool 3. It’s a different thing that’s very much Deadpool and Wolverine. And it’s not trying to copycat anything from the first two movies. They were awesome, but this is a two-hander character adventure.

Just as Ant-Man & The Wasp added Evangeline Lily’s fledgling hero to the sequel’s titles to reflect a shared double-bill, Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds clearly deserve to share the title here.

Wolverine’s Equal Billing Is Good News For Deadpool & Wolverine

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine striking muscular poses in various X-men movies

When Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds came together to surprisingly announce the Deadpool & Wolverine team-up, it was very much set up as a buddy road movie. For anyone cynical enough to imagine it was a marketing ploy to over-promise on Jackman’s involvement, Levy’s comments on it being a legitimate “two-hander” should ease any fears. Those comments also help clarify exactly how much Wolverine will be in the movie, and it doesn’t sound like he’s only coming for part of the journey. And that’s a big deal for the movie’s box office drawing power.

Levy also spoke about the dynamic between the two Marvel characters and how it came together:

Well, I’ll tell you that the guiding thought in crafting the movie was audience joy. That was always the North Star. Yeah, it’s going to be gnarly. Yeah, it’s gonna be funny. That’s a given. But we wanted to build a great time at the theater for audiences, and that’s our goal.

Given the hype for Deadpool & Wolverine, even though 2024 is an uncharacteristically quiet year for MCU movies, Levy’s aspirations for audience joy look well targeted. The CinemaCon footage drew massive attention online, including the specially made skit in which Wolverine broke the fourth wall to tell the CinemaCon audience not to use their phones. And in further testament to that targeted joy, Levy told Collider that early test screenings went very well:

We have had some early screenings that were extremely, extremely promising. I wouldn’t say that there were any big surprises, but you feel where the pace wants to tighten, you feel where you can afford to slow down and have a deeper, more durable character moment.

Let’s hoep the stars align and all of these good signs for Deadpool & Wolverine lead to the kind of audience joy Levy says drove him. The whole multiverse isn’t quite resting on it, but there’s a lot of eyes turned towards the anti-heroes.

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