After many years of being the pet lost cause of comic-book movie fans, Fox has slotted Deadpool for a February 12, 2016 release, finally allowing a hoarse, weakened Ryan Reynolds to end his heroic filibuster on the Senate floor. Plans have been in the works for years on an X-Men spinoff about Deadpool—the masked mercenary whose powers include the ability to heal himself, a magic bag, and a smart-assed wit, developed as a healing defense mechanism against people making fun of his “magic bag”—beginning when Reynolds played him in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Most recently, test footage from that proposed spinoff leaked online, prompting a renewed outpouring of support/outrage that the film hadn’t been made yet, even as Fox was said to be prepping its own Marvel-style universe.
While no official deal is currently in place for Reynolds to return to the character, Variety says he’s still “expected” to star. (Though of course, Taylor Kitsch probably expected to play Gambit in any sort of follow-up, until Channing Tatum came along). Perhaps tellingly, Reynolds talked about that test footage just a couple weeks ago, and he seemed to suggest that the response had reinvigorated the project, saying, “There was such an overpowering reaction to the footage, you sort of feel like, ‘Oh, so we weren’t crazy for our reasons for loving this character, for loving this role.’ It’s interesting to see the power of the Internet. It’s awe-inspiring, actually. And it’s neat that Twitter and Facebook and Instagram can move mountains when used in the right way.” Arab Spring, #YesAllMen, and now a Deadpool movie. Congratulations to the Internet.