By Damion Meyer
With the release of Deadpool, many people have been asking questions about the film, some of them wondering about the ways in which Deadpool connects to the other movies in the X-Men universe. It probably shouldn’t have to be explained to people who paid money to see Deadpool in theaters, but it’s more than obvious that it connects to other X-Men films. Colossus is a character in both Deadpool and X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Colossus mentions Professor Xavier by name, and Wolverine is alluded to by Deadpool himself. What many people want to know, though, is how the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine connect to Deadpool.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, Origins is, unoriginally really, about the origin of Wolverine’s character in the X-Men universe. Now, I’m not saying you should see it if you already haven’t. It does revolve around the general public’s favorite mutant, but it has few other redeeming qualities (besides Liev Schreiber’s performance, because that man can do anything). Most of it is a steaming pile of leftover chimichangas. And I’m not talking about the chimis that get sold at dinner because no one bought them at lunch. I’m talking about the week-old chimis that have been left in the sun and pecked at by desperate rats and birds. I’m basically saying that there’s no real reason to see Origins, as its events aren’t required to understand anything that happens in the other movies, Deadpool included.
I know that some of you who have seen Origins and Deadpool are saying, “But Wade is in Origins, and he’s in Deadpool, so they have to connect. Isn’t Origins necessary to understand Wade’s backstory before the Deadpool movie?” No. Absolutely not. This is completely unnecessary. In fact, I’m going to come out with the stance that the Origins film itself isn’t even connected to the other movies in the franchise. That’s right, it’s not an X-Men film. It’s a standalone movie unrelated to the other films except that it has similar characters. I’m sure many of you will challenge this, so I’m going to do my best to change your minds.
I suppose the first thing to do is give anyone still reading a nice, big spoiler alert. I’m going to be describing a lot of things from both movies (and one or two others), so if you haven’t seen Deadpool yet, go see it first, then come back. I’ll wait.
Back? Good. Let’s get started.
In Deadpool, there are many nods to other films, both in the X-Men universe and outside of it. Green Lantern, Reynolds’ forgettable other “franchise” is referenced more than once, and allusions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe pop up over and over. One of the biggest nods in the film, though, and one that got a loud mixture of cheers, laughs, and boos in the theater that I watched the movie, is an action figure that Wade holds up while talking to his girlfriend Vanessa. This action figure is of a character in the Origins movie. What character? Deadpool.
Now, the Deadpool from that movie wasn’t exactly the one that people were expecting when they went in to see it. The Deadpool in Origins has a healing ability similar to the ability Deadpool has in his solo film, but he also has an adamantium skeleton, laser eyes, teleportation abilities, and a pair of adamantium swords that pop out of his forearms, in a similar way to Wolverine’s retractable claws. Most people that I’ve talked to who were familiar with the character of Deadpool in the comics hated the Origins character, many refusing to even call him Deadpool. Instead, they refer to him as “Barakapool,” after the Mortal Kombat character who has similar forearm blades. While I personally think that this insults the character of Baraka, it will be easier to distinguish between the two Deadpool characters if I use Barakapool to denote the character in Origins.
So, Wade in Deadpool has a Barakapool figure. Pretty fun little easter egg, right? Yes, it is, but it also represents something else. It’s a way of implying that Origins isn’t part of the canon. The big question is how would Wade have this figure in Deadpool? How would such a product even exist in that universe? Weapon X was so secret only a few people knew about it, and the “Deadpool” program had even more layers of secrecy. Who would have been able to describe Barakapool to someone in good enough detail to get such an accurately depicted action figure made of him? Stryker and his medical assistants, Victor, and the imprisoned children saw him, but would any of these have thought, “I should go to Hasbro and get some money”? Doubtful. There’d be the definite risk of being hunted down by someone in the know and silenced, lest more secrets be revealed.
Here’s the thing, though. The action figure is of a character that only exists because of Wolverine’s involvement in the Weapon X program. There was a “Wade Wilson” before he was changed into Barakapool, but the changing relied heavily on Wolverine’s healing ability. Without that ability, he wouldn’t have survived what was done to him. Stryker explains as much to Wolverine in Origins when he says, “I needed your powers for the pool…The mutant killer. Deadpool…Logan, you were the last [piece of the puzzle]. You made Weapon XI possible.” Without Wolverine’s healing ability, Barakapool wouldn’t have survived the adamantium bonding process. Victor was able to heal from mortal wounds, also, but even his ability apparently wasn’t good enough. When Victor wants the same thing done to him that was done to Wolverine, Stryker tells him he wouldn’t survive the operation. So without Wolverine’s apparently unique ability (at the time, of course, since Lady Deathstrike is able to undergo the process decades later), there’d be no Barakapool.
But X-Men: Days of Future Past erased Wolverine’s connection to the Weapon X program. At the end of that film, Wolverine is pulled out of a lake, where he revives and is taken into the charge of William Stryker. Nope, actually, that was Mystique in disguise. Stryker doesn’t get his hands on Wolverine, because Mystique would most likely tell him in the following days about the experiments on mutants Stryker was involved in with Bolivar Trask. If Wolverine wouldn’t then join Stryker’s team post-Vietnam, he wouldn’t subsequently be chosen for the Weapon X program. Stryker would have no idea about Wolverine’s healing ability, so Wolverine wouldn’t have contributed this ability to the pool, and Barakapool wouldn’t have made it to the final stage. No one would have then thought “that would make an awesome action figure.” But Wade in Deadpool has such an action figure, which presents a conundrum.
Now, Deadpool does have the ability to break the fourth wall and to know about things in our world. When Colossus is dragging Deadpool away in handcuffs to meet Professor Xavier, Deadpool says, “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are so confusing.” His character knows that he’s a character in an ever-changing universe of movies. However, knowing something about our world and possessing a physical specimen from it are completely different things. Unless Deadpool made the figure himself, it’s unlikely that such a thing should exist. Also, this figure was shown while Wade was still Wade, before his transformation under the “care” of Ajax. Wade hadn’t yet shown the ability to break the fourth wall when he holds up the action figure, which means that he shouldn’t have knowledge of our world and its films. It’s hinted that he might know about the Green Lantern movie, but what does he actually say? He mentions green and animated super suits. Wade doesn’t specifically say “Green Lantern,” he just hints at it. Within the film’s rules, he could be talking about any other superhero movie. So, being just a regular guy at this point, he’d be holding the figure genuinely believing that a movie had been made featuring the character.
How is this possible? It’s possible if Origins really was ONLY a movie, and it was one that people had watched in his universe, leading to obvious merchandising tie-ins, such as toys. This might seem a little crazy, but here are some other pieces of supporting evidence: both Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman exist in Deadpool’s universe. I’m talking about the actors themselves, not the characters that they play. During the opening credits, we see a People magazine with Reynolds’ face on the cover, and Deadpool makes fun of Reynolds’ acting abilities when talking to Blind Al later on. He then uses another People magazine later, stapling a cut-out of Jackman from the cover onto his own damaged face. So two actors from Origins exist in Deadpool’s universe, and they are actors in that universe. How hard is it to think that they could have made a movie like Origins?
Mutants are hated and feared in the original series of films, but Days of Future Past probably changed this, also. After all, a mutant saved the president in 1973, and the Sentinel program was ended as a result of this. It’s fair to say public perception was probably not as bad in the new resulting timeline as it was originally. By the time of Origins’ production, mutants running around might be seen as something completely normal by the general public, and if not normal, necessarily, then believable as something to make a movie about. In our universe, a movie about mutants would be a result of the comics, but in the X-universe, it could just be a movie about something happening in their world. Almost a biopic, if you will.
All of this might seem like a bit of a stretch. After all, why would the presence of actors that look exactly like characters from that universe matter? And the toy could just be another funny little easter egg put in by guys who were enjoying making fun of everything that they could. But my theory means that the horrible Origins movie doesn’t have to be considered when talking about the rest of the X-Men cinematic universe. And really, isn’t that what we all want?
Damion Meyer is a student of life. And of school. And of driving tanks through buildings. When he’s not reading and writing, he’s looking for continuity errors in his favorite movies. Needless to say, he never really stops doing this. Seriously, though, he once drove a tank through a building.