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Marvel Studios' Deadpool movie was close to not happening until Hugh Jackman came out of retirement as Wolverine, says the director

It's a story that feels too good to be true, yet we desperately hope it is.

Deadpool & Wolverine
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Everyone thought the days of seeing Hugh Jackman play Wolverine were over. It is hard to imagine a more suitable goodbye to the character than 2017’s Logan, yet he is donning the yellow and blue suit for this year’s Deadpool & Wolverine. His return as Wolverine was a surprise to everyone, but what is even more surprising is how close we came to not having a a third Deadpool movie at all – until a touch of cosmic timing saw Jackman swoop in and save the film entirely by accident.

Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy always wanted to do another Deadpool movie. It is the comic book character that Reynolds was born to play, after all. But it turns out that simply wanting a movie to be made isn’t the same as making it, as the pair struggled to come up with a plot that wasn’t just a rehash of the previous two films. “Ryan and I were 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,’” Levy revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Like in the cheesiest of sports films, that’s when they got an unexpected phone call. Hugh Jackman, while taking a much-deserved break from his work on Broadway, was sitting on a beach and pondering his next career move. “Deadpool-Wolverine. I want to do that movie,” he recalled. The possibility of doing an a second, R-rated version of Wolverine and exploring the more violent side of the character gripped the actor. After the thought entered his mind, he immediately picked up the phone and called Ryan Reynolds to pitch the idea.

Ryan Reynolds explained that they didn’t hesitate to take Jackman up on his offer. “On the Zoom with Kevin, we just cut right to the f*cking chase. 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.”

So not only would we not have this uncomfortably sexy popcorn bucket without Hugh Jackman, but we wouldn’t even have a third Deadpool movie without him making a random phone call and giving Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy something interesting to center the film around.

Deadpool & Wolverine opens worldwide on July 26, 2024. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.

Trent Cannon

Trent Cannon: Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)


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