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Deadpool: How to watch Ryan Reynolds' Marvel mercenary before and after his MCU transition

Want to get started on watching Deadpool? Here’s how to do it!

Deadpool film still
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

This ain't your grandma's superhero movie marathon. Prepare to enter the hilariously twisted world of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, where the superhero rulebook is thrown out the window, and the fourth wall is shattered into a million irreverent pieces. If you're ready to join the Merc with a Mouth on his outrageous adventures, but find yourself asking, 'Where do I even begin?' fear not! We've got your back, and we'll guide you through the chaotic chronology of Deadpool's cinematic escapades.

How to watch Deadpool in release order

Deadpool publicity photo
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Are you ready to dive into Deadpool’s violent and raunchy adventures? If you’re looking to watch Deadpool’s filmography in release order, here is how you would do it. Please note, this list only covers Deadpool’s appearances. If you’re looking for a watch order covering the entire X-Men saga, please refer to this guide.

How to watch Deadpool in chronological order

A man in a Deadpool costume with his hands on his face in mock surprise. Deadpool 2 still
Image credit: 20th Century Fox/Walt Disney Company

If you prefer watching Deadpool in chronological order, here is how you would do it. We’re going to divide the chronological list into three categories, based on their continuity. Yes, some of Deadpool’s appearances aren’t in the same continuity. Don’t worry, once you read how we broke it down, it’s not so confusing.

Original timeline

Ryan Reynolds made his debut as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Reynolds never dons the Deadpool costume in the movie. Instead, this version of Wade Wilson is transformed into a mutant hunter called Weapon XI. As Weapon XI, Wilson’s mouth was sewn shut. This didn’t go over well with viewers, since Wade Wilson’s irreverent commentary is one of the key appeals of the character. Don’t worry, a case of time-travel erased this adventure.

It’s worth noting that Wade Wilson’s name appears on a mutant registry list in X2: X-Men United (2003), but the character himself didn’t appear. This was years before Reynolds was cast in the role, but it’s important to mention since it is the first indication that Deadpool exists in the X-Men cinematic universe.

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Post-Days of Future Past timeline

Although Deadpool wasn’t in the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, the movie had major ramifications for the character. During the film, Wolverine travels back in time, hoping to prevent a mutant apocalypse. Wolverine’s actions in the past altered history, creating a new timeline for the X-Men films going forward. This meant that Wade Wilson’s appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was no longer canon (at least for that timeline).

This gave Reynolds the opportunity to do a more comic accurate take on Deadpool. Here are the films which take place in the post-Days of Future Past timeline.

  • Deadpool (2016)
  • Deadpool 2 (2018)
  • Deadpool 3 (2024)
Nebulous spaces outside of continuity

The following pieces of media fall in weird places outside of Deadpool’s timeline. These films take place in a more meta-universe, where the line between fiction and non-fiction is blurred. Essentially, the films listed here are not really part of Deadpool’s story, but they’re still fun to watch. Another section of this guide will break down each of these films, and why they’re placed outside of continuity.

  • No Good Deed (2017)
  • Once Upon a Deadpool (2018)
  • Deadpool and Korg React (2021)

What’s the deal with the short films? Are they all canon?

Deadpool and Korg reacting to Free Guy
Image credit: Ryan Reynolds' YouTube Channel

You might not recognize some of the titles in our watch order, and that’s understandable. A few of these entries were shorts that weren’t heavily promoted. Here is a brief breakdown to help you understand their place in Deadpool’s mythology.

  • No Good Deed – This short film features Deadpool suiting up to save a bystander from a mugger. The full version features a cameo appearance from Stan Lee. This short film played in theaters alongside Logan in some markets. It’s available to watch on YouTube and was included as a special feature for the home video release of Deadpool 2.
  • Deadpool and Korg React -This short film is technically Deadpool’s first MCU crossover. The short features Reynolds’ Deadpool and Taika Waititi’s Korg reacting to a trailer for the 20th Century Studios film Free Guy. The joke is that Free Guy features both Reynolds and Waititi. The short ends with Deadpool asking Korg advice on how to get into the MCU. The short is available on Reynolds’ YouTube channel.

When it comes to Deadpool, it’s hard to determine what is canon and what isn’t. The character’s meta-awareness causes the line between his fictional world and the real world to blur. For Deadpool himself, it’s all canon, just don’t expect his supporting characters to acknowledge the events of these shorts.

Is Once Upon a Deadpool the same movie as Deadpool 2?

Deadpool and Fred Savage
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

Once Upon a Deadpool is an alternate cut of Deadpool 2. The film is a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2, with a framing sequence that parodies The Princess Bride. The framing sequence features Deadpool kidnapping Fred Savage and telling him the story of Deadpool 2. New footage was shot for the film, and existing footage was cleaned up to earn a PG-13 rating. While it’s not a completely different movie, it can’t be considered the same film either.

Where else has Ryan Reynolds appeared as Deadpool?

Ryan Reynolds shows up as Deadpool for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Image credit: CBS

It doesn’t take much to get Ryan Reynolds to put on the Deadpool outfit. He loves the role so much, that he’s offered his services in some unexpected places. For example, Reynolds showed up in the Deadpool outfit on a May 2018 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He spent the entire time in character, so I’m counting it as a Deadpool performance. However, since it’s an unofficial appearance on a late-night talk show, we’re not including it on our watch order. We have to draw the line somewhere. If you want to watch it, the segment is available on YouTube.

Ryan Reynolds also reprised the role in a series of voiceovers on the YouTube series Honest Trailers. Reynolds’ Deadpool can be heard on the episodes for Deadpool, Logan, and Deadpool 2. Reynolds also voiced Deadpool in a commercial for the Marvel Strike Force mobile game.

Ryan Reynolds appeared as Deadpool in a special promotional video for the Manchester United football team. 20th Century Fox released a promotional video for Deadpool 2 where Wade Wilson apologizes to David Beckham for the comments he made about him in the first film. You can find tons of videos like this on Ryan Reynolds' YouTube channel.

Honestly, Ryan Reynolds would probably play Deadpool for your birthday party or answering machine if you asked him.

Where can I watch Deadpool?

Deadpool 2 still image
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

Deadpool isn’t a Disney princess, but he is on Disney+. Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, all Deadpool’s feature length film appearances are on Disney+. The only exception is Once Upon a Deadpool, which is odd because it’s the most family friendly of all his full-length films. The shorts listed in this watch order aren’t on Disney+, but they can be found on YouTube, and some DVDs. Deadpool’s films can also be purchased on a variety of video-on-demand platforms, including iTunes, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Is Deadpool in the MCU?

Deadpool 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

None of the Deadpool movies produced before 2024 take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Deadpool’s first two films (and subsequent spin-off material) were produced by 20th Century Fox, while the MCU films were produced by Marvel Studios. As such, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men film franchise was set in a different continuity than the MCU.

In 2019 Disney acquired 20th Century Fox. Since Disney is also the parent company for Marvel Studios, this meant that elements from 20th Century Fox’s X-Men films could be used in the MCU. We’ve already seen part of it, with Evan Peters playing an alternate version of Quicksilver, and Patrick Stewart playing a multiverse variant of Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Deadpool 3 will be the first X-Men related film to be produced by Marvel Studios. According to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, Deadpool 3 will be an official part of the MCU. How will this work? There are a ton of theories for how the continuities will blend, but the biggest clue can be found in the cast list.

There are unconfirmed reports that Owen Wilson will appear in the film, reprising his role as Time Variance Authority officer Mobius M. Mobius. If you’ve seen Loki, then you know that the TVA regularly deals with alternate timelines. This could be a clever way to work Deadpool and the X-Men into the MCU.

Whether he’s in the MCU, or in Fred Savage’s bedroom, Deadpool is a hero unlike any other. His superhero movies have certainly broken the mold, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Want more? Here's how to watch the complete Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.

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