There has been plenty of uncertainty surrounding the future of the X-Men when the Disney/Fox merger is completed. Beyond rumors of a possible Wolverine TV series for Disney +, and an all-out cinematic reboot, it remains unclear what Marvel's Kevin Feige will do with his new toy chest full of characters. Perhaps top of the list is what the merger means for the R-rated antics of Deadpool.
Having experimented with a PG-13 cut of the sequel with Once Upon A Deadpool, and Ryan Reynolds teasing "a completely different direction" for Deadpool 3, it has become a little unclear what that means for the future. Disney's Bob Iger has previously commented that there is a place for the Merc with a Mouth as long as a clear division between the family-friendly and the R-rated "so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer". Speaking at a recent investors event, Bob Iger confirmed that Deadpool isn't going anywhere.
“We will continue in that business, there’s certainly popularity with those types of films.”
Thanks to the PG-13 cut securing a release in China, Deadpool 2 crept passed the original film's final global box office making it the highest grossing X-Men movie of all time. A title that it is in no danger of losing to either Dark Pheonix or New Mutants (if it's released in cinemas). Both Deadpool movies have grossed more than $780 million a piece with huge numbers on Home Entertainment, that's a franchise that even Disney will want to keep active for as long as possible. R-rated is what works for Deadpool; it took Fox nearly a decade of development and some handily leaked test footage to realize that.
Once Upon A Deadpool didn't really work as an introduction to the character for a younger audience (especially as it still got a 15 certificate in the UK). As a feature-length joke to those that have seen the standard (or extended) version, the Princess Bride homage and cheeky snipping of the more adult scenes, it kind of works. As a fun aside Once Upon A Deadpool is a neat riff, but it should in no way be taken as the new template for the franchise. We'll have to wait and see if Deadpool 3 or X-Force goes into production first, but we're sure to find out more as the Disney/Fox merger nears completion.