Well, folks, it’s finally happening. Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds are officially teaming up as Wolverine and Deadpool for the latter’s long-awaited third solo film, which is now set to hit theaters on September 6th, 2024. The reunion will be the first time the duo comes together on the big screen since 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and while fans likely have their hopes up for a more comic-accurate pairing than that film offered, it’s still unknown exactly how the story will allow for a meet-up to happen as it is. Jackman famously retired from his signature role following the character’s death in 2017’s Logan, and while nothing is confirmed, it doesn’t seem very probable that he sticks around for the Marvel Cinematic Universe long-haul following Deadpool 3‘s release. So, how could the Deadpool threequel simultaneously bring back the Aussie actor’s Wolverine for “one last time” and set Reynolds up as a member of the MCU going forward? A surprising comic may hold the answer.
In 2011, Marvel began publishing a new Deadpool limited series from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Kaare Andrews. Titled Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, the brief arc quickly became a popular run with fans of the character. The plot was pretty simple and spelled out pretty efficiently in the title itself. Set in an alternate timeline to the mainstream Earth-616, the story begins with Wade Wilson being sent to a mental institution, against his will, by a concerned group of X-Men. Little do the mutants know, however, that the doctor at the hospital is actually Psycho-Man – a tiny mad scientist who originates from the Microverse – piloting a human-sized robot body. His plan is to brainwash as many villains as possible and create his own superhuman army, but when he tries to indoctrinate Deadpool, his devices have an unexpected effect. Wilson’s brain is already so discombobulated with voices and varying personalities, that Psycho-Man is unable to put him under his control. Instead, the voices in Deadpool’s head become increasingly violent, sending him on a murderous rampage through the entirety of the Marvel Universe.
After squishing Psycho-Man, the out-of-control Merc With a Mouth sets out to systematically put an end to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He kills the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, the Avengers, and even Howard the Duck. He steals Reed Richards’ gadgets to slay Uatu the Watcher, and uses Pym Particles to crush Thor with a giant version of his hammer Mjolnir. After a while, when all hope seems lost, the relatives of Marvel’s deceased heroes pool their money together to hire the only person they feel can actually put a stop to Deadpool’s killing spree: Taskmaster. Tasky then trails Wilson as he goes up against Charles Xavier and the X-Men. Of course, Deadpool succeeds in wiping the last superteam off the map, manipulating Xavier’s telepathy to help him in his goal and share what he knows to be true with the world. It turns out, Wilson is killing everyone because he knows they exist in a comic book, and suffer purely for entertainment. He only wants to stop the cycle.
After finishing off what’s left of the Marvel Universe, ranging from galactic entities like Galactus to street-level heroes like Daredevil, his mission brings him face-to-face with Man-Thing and the Nexus of All-Realities. Before he can conclude his business, though, Taskmaster swoops in and the duo duke it out in one climactic last stand. After beating Taskmaster, with Man-Thing’s help, Deadpool uses the Nexus of All-Realities to jump to the real world and slaughter the writers who created him and his series in the first place. Now, as crazy as it may sound, a loose version of this story could be exactly the thing Deadpool 3 needs to accomplish all of its objectives. Many fans are under the assumption that Deadpool 3 will be the first entry in the franchise set within the MCU, but what if, possibly, it actually tells the tale of how Reynolds‘ unkillable mercenary makes it from his original timeline to the mainline MCU instead?
In theory, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe could work on the big screen as Deadpool Kills the X-Men Universe – or, something like that. Doing this would allow for Marvel Studios to stay true to Deadpool’s typical R-rated fashion while creating a definitive end for Fox’s former cinematic universe and giving fans their Wolverine/Deadpool meet-up all at once. The beginning of the story could remain the same, with the X-Men finally having their fill of Wade Wilson and sending him off to a mental asylum. There, he could be brainwashed by Psycho-Man, who in the film version could be from the MCU’s Quantum Realm as opposed to the comic Microverse. After all, Deadpool 3 will be released not long after Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The first major difference could also occur here, with Wilson going berserk not because he realizes everyone is in a comic book, but because he realizes himself and the other mutants are living in the wrong Cinematic Universe. He becomes aware of the MCU, perhaps through Quantum means, and decides he’d like to end the Fox-Verse so he can switch gears and join the more popular franchise.
Admittedly, Ryan Reynolds‘ take on Deadpool has been much softer than the comic version, with romantic plotlines and found family scenarios turning him into more of a hero along the way. It’s entirely possible Marvel and Reynolds find a way to incorporate this into the film while adapting this excruciatingly dark plot. Maybe, as Wade makes his way through every mutant in the universe (goodbye to James McAvoy‘s team of merry misfits), characters like Zazie Beetz‘ Domino or Julian Dennison‘s Firefist try to stop him but ultimately join him on his mission as they realize what’s really going on. Either way, the baseline story arc remains, and it only needs a few tweaks to continue working surprisingly well. Partway through the movie, where Taskmaster would have come into play in the comic, Jackman‘s Wolverine could step in as the theatrical replacement hellbent on ending Deadpool’s reign of terror.
With his specific abilities – tracking, healing factor, adamantium claws, etc. – Logan could be the one hunting Wade throughout the movie, resulting in the epic final duel fans have waited years for on film. The ending, hypothetically, could also be the same as the book, with Man-Thing (who is set to make his MCU debut in October’s Werewolf by Night) and the Nexus of All-Realities allowing Wade to finally make his jump to the MCU with the Fox-Verse all but dust behind him. Feige and company could also engineer the ending to include whatever Fox-based characters they’d like to have in the MCU with their original actors.
This theory is currently pretty baseless, but it is fun speculation, and if true, would tie Deadpool 3 in perfectly with the Multiverse Saga. If they really want to have fun with it, they could even include other formerly Fox-owned properties in the film to show their demise as well. John Krasinski joked about appearing alongside Jackman and Reynolds as Reed Richards on Twitter, which perhaps implies that he’s been contacted to perish on screen once more as the official Fox-Verse variant of Mr. Fantastic. That would be a wonderful running gag, and, along with really this entire theoretical pitch, is something that feels incredibly up Deadpool’s dark, twisted, sardonic alley.