Deadpool back? Oh #A!! yeah
With a sequel ready to go, the irreverent superhero’s creator marvels at his success
Rob Liefeld starts by saying he really can’t talk at all about what happens in “Deadpool 2,” which opens Friday, the second in a series of movies starring Ryan Reynolds as the irreverent, foul-mouthed, very violent and oh-so-hardto-kill superhero whom Liefeld co-created in 1991, early in his now-legendary career as a comic book artist and writer. ¶ “I am sworn to biggest of secrecy: ‘Rob, don’t you dare mention Shatterstar! Don’t you dare mention Shatterstar!’ ” says Liefeld in a rush of words from his home in Yorba Linda, Calif.
So OK, he talked about Shatterstar. But we knew that particular member of the X Force was in the movie anyway, part of a team Deadpool assembles to protect a young boy with special abilities from the mutant mercenary Cable, another of Liefeld’s signature creations, played in the new film by Josh Brolin.
But honestly, Marvel Studios, he didn’t say very much at all about the plot of “Deadpool 2,” though his obvious excitement over the return of some “Deadpool” characters, and addition of others — including another of his favorites, Domino, played by Zazie Beetz — testifies to how great he thinks it is to see the world of Deadpool created in the comic books expanding onscreen.
“I’ve got to tell you, man, it’s such a blast,” Liefeld says. “This second film, man, I think they stuck the landing.”
As Liefeld explains, the huge success of the original “Deadpool,” which set a handful of box-office records after its debut in February 2016, quickly led to conversations about what to do in a sequel.
“Maybe it was March of 2016, so the movie had been in theaters about two months, and Rhett Reese, one of the ridiculously talented screenwriters, said, ‘Rob, it’s time to talk about Cable and Deadpool and X Force,’ ” Liefeld says. “He said, ‘We want to seek your input and guidance.’
“I said, ‘Read this, read this, skip this, skip this,’ ” he says of comic book issues he felt might best serve the needs of the moviemaking team.” ‘But don’t take my word for it, read all of it.’
“I felt my loyalty at that point was more to the characters than it was to Rob Liefeld. And the great thing was Rhett came back and said, your estimation was great.”
While the “Deadpool” comic books have gone sometimes to farout places — say, fighting giant dinosaurs, or retrieving his own zombified head from a different dimension — Liefeld says he believes the first movie worked partly because it was grounded in a world
that felt realistic. “People say all the time, ‘What does this mean?’ ” he says. “It felt like it happened,
the bars, the freeways, the experiments that transformed him. People even making fun of his suit.
“It felt like something you could imagine happening in a world where there were super powers. And Deadpool’s irreverence was baked into all of that.”
And despite the huge success of “Deadpool,” which grossed $783 million at the box office worldwide, Liefeld says he had a little bit of anxiety about how the sequel would turn out.
“I’m not going lie and tell you I wasn’t nervous,” he says. “You can be on set, as I was fortunate Fox allowed me to be, and watch some incredible stuff be filmed. And then you sit down and watch it. I’m telling you, man, Ryan Reynolds, (director) David Leitch, Rhett and (co-writer) Paul Wernick, they truly delivered something that’s going to put smiles on the faces of people.”
Given how many people turned out to buy tickets to the first one, Liefeld is confident they’ll be back for “Deadpool 2” in a year when, as “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” have shown with their own box office records, there’s no end to fans’ thirst for Marvel superhero movies.
“I really believe that watching people respond to the first ‘Deadpool,’ they absolutely did not get enough time with Ryan as Deadpool,” he says. “The movie’s 110 minutes, it’s not ‘Lord of the Rings.’ It was not, ‘OK, Frodo, find the damn ring!’ It was more, ‘Wait, you mean I don’t get to hang out with Deadpool anymore?’ ”
To celebrate, Liefeld is throwing a few celebrations, including two special screenings at the Krikorian Buena Park Metroplex 18, where he screened the first movie two years ago, on Thursday and Friday, and an X Force X-Travaganza at the Frank & Son Collectible Show in Industry on Saturday.
“I figure (fans are) so good to me I can stand in one place for five or six hours that day,” he says of the Frank & Son event, which is free for general admission but also features VIP packages that include meeting Lewis Tan, who plays Shatterstar, and Stefan Kapicic, who plays Colossus.
“The fact that the second one has come out two years later is nothing short of a miracle, and I just figured it should be a giant party.”
Rob Liefeld is the co-creator of Deadpool, who returns to the big screen in “Deadpool 2” this week.