Deadpool 3 Isn’t Actually Deadpool 3, Apparently

Director Shawn Levy calls it a “two-hander” between Deadpool and Wolverine.

Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool in Deadpool & Wolvering
Marvel Studios

2024’s biggest Marvel movie is technically the only Marvel movie premiering this year — at least within the franchise’s cinematic universe. Sony Pictures is still working out the kinks of its Spider-Man adjacent franchise after the demise of Madame Web, and though the MCU is scaling back to focus on quality control, a fan-favorite anti-hero has become the face of a very public retooling.

That anti-hero is none other than Deadpool, whose latest adventure, Deadpool & Wolverine, will reportedly be cleaning up Marvel’s multiversal mess. Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth is making the jump from Fox’s X-Men universe into the MCU proper, and he’s bringing a host of heroes — including Fox’s most famous X-Man, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) — along for the ride.

There’s a fair amount of pressure resting on Deadpool & Wolverine. As the third film in what will soon be a Deadpool-centric trilogy, and the first to bring together two disparate franchises, it has to achieve a difficult balance. Will it be able to set the stage for the team-up films that Marvel has planned for the future? Can it bring a satisfying resolution to Fox’s now-defunct movie universe? What about Deadpool, and his own personal journey — will Deadpool & Wolverine pick up where its predecessor left off?

According to director Shawn Levy, connecting to previous Deadpool films wasn’t much of a concern. Marvel gave Levy a lot of freedom with Deadpool & Wolverine, in the sense that it’s less a continuation of Deadpool’s story as it is a “two-hander” for its eponymous duo.

Deadpool & Wolverine is gearing up to be more of a standalone project than anyone previously imagined.

Marvel Studios

Plot details for Deadpool & Wolverine remain appropriately scarce, but Levy’s recent comments are bringing the film into clearer focus. At CinemaCon, the director spoke to ScreenRant about the film’s double-billing, and how that sets it apart from Fox’s Deadpool films.

“As far as crafting the Deadpool & Wolverine story, I just felt privileged every day because you're talking about two massive movie stars in their most iconic roles,” Levy said. “It also gave me an opportunity.”

Levy describes Deadpool & Wolverine as “a different thing” compared to its predecessors. “It’s the third Deadpool movie, but it’s not Deadpool 3,” the director explained. “It’s not trying to copycat anything from the first two movies. They were awesome, but this is a two-hander character adventure.”

Instead of continuing the story laid out in other Deadpool films, Deadpool & Wolverine will focus on the dynamic between its title heroes.

20th Century Studios

Levy’s film could be taking cues from films like Captain America: Civil War or Ant-Man and the Wasp, which continued the adventures of their main characters by pairing them up with other heroes. As neither Deadpool nor Wolverine have a presence within the MCU, though, this feels like an entirely standalone project. Deadpool & Wolverine is indebted to each character’s respective franchise, but it’s crafting something entirely new... and in a different cinematic universe.

In that sense, the film seems to have more in common with Marvel’s episodic team-ups, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Deadpool & Wolverine could serve as a narrative bridge between Fox’s most successful properties and the MCU. The characters’ adventures could continue beyond the 2024 film, though it’s probably unlikely for Jackman’s Wolverine — but Deadpool & Wolverine is definitely kickstarting a new arc for Deadpool, establishing him in the MCU without relying too much on the Fox universe.

Deadpool & Wolverine opens in theaters on July 26.

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