Deadpool Should Team-Up with X-23, Not Wolverine

Though they haven't appeared together in a movie since X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman have gotten almost as much attention from their joke-y social media "feud," culminating this week in a new joint ad for Jackman's Laughing Man Coffee Company and Reynold's Aviation Gin. But while the obvious chemistry on display in the commercial has prompted a new wave of people clamoring for a Wolverine and Deadpool team-up, it's more likely that Jackman won't play the Wolverine that Reynolds' Deadpool teams up with next.

The Future of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine

There isn't one. Jackman first portrayed Wolverine in the 2000 movie X-Men (directed by 2019 Golden Globes-winner and alleged serial rapist Bryan Singer) and has appeared as the character in eight X-Men movies since. But Jackman has repeatedly stated he's done with the character after 2017's Logan, even telling the New York Times "The character will go on. Someone else will play it, for sure. Unless Daniel-Day Lewis plays him and wins the Oscar—then I might have a little problem."

The Future of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool

14 Deadpool - 20th Century Fox
While Deadpool is a Marvel property, it is not (currently) part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 20th Century Fox

Unlike Jackman and Wolverine, Reynold's Deadpool likely has a long and fruitful future ahead of him. Currently, Reynolds plans to put back on the red and black mask in both Deadpool 3 and a separate X-Force movie.

But all of this could change, now that Disney has acquired 21th Century Fox, finally combining the cinematic worlds of The X-Men movies, Deadpool movies and the larger Marvel Studios universe (and likely laying off 4,000-10,000 people in the process).

Wolverine, Deadpool, X-23 and the Marvel Universe

Wolverine in Logan
Hugh Jackman in his final film as Wolverine in "Logan." 20th Century Fox

For now, all future X-Men and Deadpool projects—except the already completed New Mutants and Dark Phoenix—are on hold until Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige decide what to do with the projects.

"The problem is that you can't have too many Marvel, X-Men superhero movies out there because we will cancel each other out," X-Force producer Lauren Donner said at a Television Critics Association panel. "This is all now in Disney's playground and they get to decide. At least we know its in good hands."

While Disney typically avoids R-rated movies, CEO Bob Iger confirmed on a recent call with investors that R-rated superhero movies will continue after Disney's acquisition of Fox is complete. "We will continue in that business," Iger said. "There's certainly popularity with those types of films."

This would seem to be good news for Reynolds' Deadpool, but bad news for the sprawling continuity Fox built up around its X-Men series. Marvel Studios seems much more likely to scrap it and instead integrate a rebooted X-Men into the post- Avengers: Endgame Marvel universe.

When Disney inevitably recasts Wolverine, how will they be able to pull the character out from under the shadow cast by Jackman's iconic performance? Sounds like the perfect time for X-23, the Logan clone introduced to movies in Logan. Logan director James Mangold's planned X-23 spinoff movie is yet another in-development Fox project now in limbo at Disney.

The nearly two decade-old X-Men series has dealt with its aging cast in different ways, most exemplified by confusing, time travel doubling of old and new actors in X-Men: Days of Future Past, which included both Ian McKellen's and Michael Fassbender's Magneto and both Patrick Stewart's and James McAvoy's Professor X. It's a mess, one that Disney is most likely to cast aside, while preserving the most successful elements of the Fox superhero canon, like the Reynolds' Deadpool.

So while we'd all love to see Reynolds and Jackman take a redo on the disastrous Deadpool, Wolverine team-up in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it's not in the cards. Whatever happens with Deadpool 3, X-Force and X-23, expect Deadpool's next team-up with Wolverine to be anyone but Jackman. It might even be a young woman.