How Hugh Jackman Saved “Deadpool 3”

While it might seem like Ryan Reynolds and his team have an endless stream of ideas, one-liners, plot twists, and lunatic sequences for their Deadpool franchise, it turns out that Reynolds and co. were having some trouble finding the story for Deadpool 3. He knew he already wanted to work with his The Adam Project and Free Guy director Shawn Levy on the project, and they were just trying to figure out the right story to tell.

Speaking with Vanity Fair, Reynolds, Levy, and Hugh Jackman revealed how Deadpool 3 eventually became Deadpool & Wolverine, a plot twist not even Reynolds could have predicted.

Reynolds and Levy worked for months with Deadpool and Deadpool 2 scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, as well as Zeb Wells, looking for a fresh new adventure for Reynolds’ Wade Wilson and his motley crew of pals and X-men B-teamers. Weekly meetings with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige were a part of the process. They were determined not to commit unless they knew they had something special and nothing special was forthcoming.

“Ryan and I were right at the edge of saying to Kevin [Feige], ‘You know what? Maybe now is not the right moment because we’re not coming up with a story.’ And that is the moment when Ryan’s phone rang, and it was Hugh calling from his car,” director Shawn Levy told Vanity Fair.

It was August 15, 2022, and Jackman was on a beach taking a break from his two-year stint leading The Music Man on Broadway, thinking about what would come next. That’s when he thought, “Deadpool/Wolverine. I want do that movie,” Jackman recalled to VF.

Of course, there was the little issue of Wolverine’s death in James Mangold’s 2017 Logan, a beloved film that beautifully, brutally gave Jackman’s be-clawed mutant a hero’s exit. It was enough of a concern that even Kevin Feige wasn’t so sure Jackman should consider messing with it.

Yet Reynolds was enthused, and in a Zoom call with Feige right after Jackman’s surprise ring from the beach, he leaped to the point.

“On the Zoom with Kevin, we just cut right to the f**king chase,” Reynolds told Vanity Fair. “We said, ‘Look, this call just came in. I feel like we’d be idiots to look this gift horse in the mouth and ignore it. This is a one-in-a-billion chance. I really feel like this is what we’ve been looking for.’”

Jackman told VF that he was certain that Deadpool would allow him to explore a new side of Wolverine.

“And I’d be sharing it with Ryan and Shawn, who are two of my best friends,” Jackman said. “The three of us together are like the Three Amigos. There was not a day where I wasn’t in tears laughing. I felt so rejuvenated playing the part. I mean, I’m 25 years in, man, and it feels better than ever.”

While the Three Amigos didn’t reveal much about the storyline, Reynolds did find a way to verbalize what connects Deadpool and Wolverine.

“If you’re looking at the Venn diagram or the overlap of these two characters, as vastly different as they are, the thing they have most in common is shame,” Reynolds told VF. “They both live in this violent shame cycle. Deadpool’s a very verbose character. He’s very feminine and kind of open and childlike. And putting that next to a character whose archetype is very Clint Eastwood creates something pretty interesting.”

The dynamic duo and their disparate coping mechanisms arrive in less than a month. Deadpool & Wolverine slashes its way into theaters on July 26.

For more on Deadpool & Wolverine, check out these stories:

Killer Pairing: First “Gladiator II” Trailer to Debut in Theaters Ahead of “Deadpool & Wolverine”

“Deadpool & Wolverine” Director Shawn Levy Eyed for Next “Avengers” Film

“Deadpool & Wolverine” Reveal Popcorn Bucket Set to Rival Infamous “Dune: Part Two” Offering

New “Deadpool & Wolverine” Teaser & Images Signal Start of Ticket Sales

Featured image: (L-R): Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool/Wade Wilson and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine/Logan in 20th Century Studios/Marvel Studios’ DEADPOOL & WOLVERINE. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2024 20th Century Studios / © and ™ 2024 MARVEL.


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.