A lot of the time in the comic book world, we’re presented with some real black and white morality. That just tends to be the way things work around here. In any Marvel movie we care to mention, both extremes of the spectrum are well represented.
We’ve got poster boys of goodness like Captain ‘Punch Him In His Perfect Teeth’ America, and we’ve got super villains so dastardly they’ve got their own Darth Vader-esque theme tune. You know those guys we see in those cheesy soap operas, who push their grandmas down the stairs and embezzle money from children’s hospitals? That’s the level of raw villainy we’re talking about here.
There’s always a little room to manoeuvre within those guidelines. Take the Harry Potter franchise, for instance. On the surface, it’s a clear-cut struggle between good and bad, but there are also characters (Draco Malfoy, for one) who emphasise that there’s still a grey area there.
That’s what antiheros like Deadpool are for over in the Marvel world. Prior to the movie smash that hit in February 2016, fans might not have known much about this enigmatic character. There’s a lot to take in, and some of it’s truly incredible. Before Deadpool 2 arrives on May 18th, you might need a little refresher. That’s where I come in.
Check out 20 of the most fascinating things fans might not know about Deadpool.
20 Even His Name Is A Snarky Joke
As even casual Marvel dabblers have surely noticed, the studio has a real thing about alliteration. From Doctor Stephen Strange to Peter Parker and way beyond (Sue Storm, Matt Murdoch and even J. Jonah Jameson, to name just a few others), they cannot help themselves. The good guys, the bad guys… (almost) everybody gets the same treatment.
When it came to giving Deadpool his Regular Joe alter ego, it’s a safe bet that a little alliteration was on the cards. Sure enough, they plumped for Wade Wilson. More thought went into the name than just that, however.
As the story goes, Fabian Nicieza (writer) and Rob Liefeld (illustrator) saw their newly-created character’s resemblance to Deathstroke, a similar comic book villain from DC. They also had similar backgrounds, fighting styles, all of these things. Not only were their super-powered personas named similarly, but the DC’s character’s actual name is Slade Wilson.
There are a couple of interesting things we can take from this. Firstly, DC don’t seem to be hung up on cheap alliteration, unlike Marvel. Secondly, it’s just perfect that Wade Wilson started his life as a sort of snarky in-joke. After all, he lives for that sort of thing.
19 He’s Got A LOT Of Love To Give
As you’ve probably noticed by now (you’re smart, discerning readers, after all, that’s why you’re here), it’s 2018. Five months in, even the slowest of us have probably caught on to that fact. As such, in this futuristic new age, we really should be a little more enlightened in our attitudes to other people’s relationship.
The good old fashioned boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have 2.5 children, and retire to the country to raise duck-billed platypuses story just doesn’t cut it for everybody. This seems to be society’s expectation a lot of the time, but our lifestyles and life choices are our own.
If there’s anyone in the Marvel super-world who’s going to respect our rights to live and love as we please, it’s our old buddy Deadpool. Over his long comic career, he’s pursued/been pursued by women and men alike, and has been known to deviate from the human race entirely on several occasions. Perhaps his most controversial conquest has been an incarnation of the Grim Reaper him/her/itself, which is quite ironic when you consider Deadpool’s eternal predicament. That’s jumping the gun a little, though, because we’re not going to get into that until the next entry.
18 He Is Essentially Immortal
Speaking of the irony of Deadpool’s dalliance with a form of the Grim Reaper, let’s take a look at what his superpowers actually are and how they came about.
If you’re a long-time Marvel fan or you simply saw the 2016 movie, you’ll know that Wade Wilson was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer.
Knowing his illness was terminal, Wilson found himself agreeing to try an ‘experimental cure.’ This took the form of an horrific series of experiments, which were administered on him in the hopes of awakening any superpowers he may have.
Eventually, the shady doctor succeeded in awakening an incredible healing ability in Wilson. His cancer could not be cured, but his cells were able to recover as quickly as the aggressive disease damaged them. This left the soon-to-be Deadpool awfully disfigured, but very much alive.
Still, as I say, none of this is anything new. This is just the origin story that fans and movie-watchers will already be familiar with. What is extraordinary, however, is the fact that Thanos himself (yep, he of Infinity War fame) once cursed Deadpool to immortality. In a peculiar sort of love triangle, the Titan also felt super strongly for the lady reaper, and so cursed Deadpool to eternal life to ensure that he could never truly be with her.
17 He’s (Been) A Husband And A Father
Now this is truly frightening. If you’ve visited Ryan Reynold’s Twitter account, and seen his frankly hilarious tweets about his daughter, you’ll know just how frightening this is. The man shouldn’t be left responsible for so much as a bag of chips, let alone an actual tiny living human. That also goes for any superhero he may portray.
It’s often said that Ryan Reynold is so good in this character because he goes all the way. He becomes Deadpool, he's always channelling his spirit. That makes it all the more disconcerting to consider that Deadpool is a parent too, and has been married multiple times.
Oh yes indeed. First, there was the confusing and convoluted story of Mercedes Wilson, Wade’s first wife, which may or may not have ever happened (depending on whether you think T-Ray was telling the truth or not). There was also the story of Gretchen Wilson (an enigmatic ex-wife we hear about in 2004s Identity Disc series). Then there was the extravagantly-drawn wedding Deadpool has with Shiklah, pictured here.
He had his second daughter, Warda, with Shiklah. Prior to her, he fathered Ellie Camacho, having left her mother, Carmelita Camacho, without knowing she was pregnant. What a tangled web Wade Wilson weaves.
16 He’s Stolen She-Hulk’s Bit
Now, as you probably know, Wade Wilson has earned himself the reputation for being the merc with a mouth. Not only is he a relentless talker (and talker and talker and talker), but he certainly doesn’t trouble to watch his language.
Unsuspecting viewers who find their way into the theater for Deadpool 2, expecting another (relatively) wholesome Marvel movie, are going to be disappointed.
Not only does he have a foul mouth that doesn’t quit, he’s also gotten this reputation for knowing things that he shouldn’t. Part of the character’s personality revolves around snark relentlessly breaking down the fourth wall. That’s just who he is — that's how he rolls.
It’s not the most common trait, in the sometimes po-faced world of comic books, but it’s certainly not exclusive to him.
Take She-Hulk, for instance. Before Wade became known for this sort of thing, She-Hulk was making similar references. She was known to occasionally hint that she knew she was a comic book character. Granted, she didn’t take these in-jokes and sides as far as Wade Wilson, but then… nobody takes anything as far as he takes it. Whatever ‘it’ happens to be.
Still, nobody’s judging anyone here. I, for one, love this sort of thing, and it’s always welcome in my book.
15 He Knows He’s Ryan Reynolds, And He’s Cool With It
Fate is an interesting thing, isn’t it? Some dismiss it as a load of hooey, and others try to fit major life decisions around it. It’s all about what we believe as people, and how that goes on to shape our worldview.
Coincidence, destiny, luck… whatever you choose to call it, you’re going to be subject to its will at times. Were you in the right place at the right time just because, or was it supposed to happen? That’s for you to decide. As for me, I’ve witnessed some things that were far too big to write off as mere coincidences, but I’m not quite sure what to attribute them to either.
On to the big question, then: was Ryan Reynolds supposed to play this dubious superhero? That’s a tough question. It certainly seems so. As I say, you only have to read the guy’s Twitter feed or watch him in action to know that he’s a natural. He is Wade Wilson.
The funny thing is, even the comics themselves allude to that fact. In “Cable and Deadpool” #2, our antihero is discussing the effects of a virus. He suggests that it could be used to change the way people look. His nemesis questions how that would be a good thing, to which Wade rips off his mask, exposing his Freddy Krueger-esque face, and exclaims, “Hey, if you looked like Ryan Renolds (sic) crossed with a shar-pei, you’d understand!”
14 He’s A Huge Sci-Fi Geek
Now, there’s no denying that superheroes are all pretty darn cool. Even the most goody-goody of them perform effortless triple backflips, walk away from explosions unscathed and can defeat legions of soldiers with their thumbnail. That’s quite impressive, whichever way you slice it.
The fact is, though, the superhero life isn’t all impossible stunts and generally being awesome. Aside from the healing factor, the flight, the invisibility, the laser eyes and such, they’re just like us.
This is a fact that isn’t brought to the fore very much. When it comes to the movies, everything’s generally about the big, dramatic fanservice-y fights. Captain America: Civil War is my favourite movie in the MCU for this very reason. It had all of that, granted, but it also took a look at the human sides of these characters, as well as the consequences of their actions. It was refreshing.
Even for a character as ridiculous and over-the-top as Wade Wilson's alter ego, there are going to be little touches like this. In this guy’s case, it’s a little humbling to know that he’s a huge sci-fi fan. He’s been seen telling his fellow Marvel heroes that he has a huge Star Trek collection, and once shot somebody who admitted they enjoyed the Star Wars prequels more than the original trilogy.
13 He Is NOT A Mutant, And We Need To Talk About That
Whatever The Big Bang Theory might tell you about comic book fans, we just can’t tar them with the same obsessive brush. The fact is, superhero fans come from any and all walks of life. With the barnstorming success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the last decade, people who would previously have had zero clue who Thanos actually is are now totally on board.
This is a darn good thing, in my eyes. Widening your scope never did anybody any harm, particularly anybody who wants to make a whole heaping helping of money. This is the reason why Marvel bigwigs are currently rolling around in swimming pools full of cash, a la Scrooge McDuck.
Despite all of that, though, as with any fandom, Marvel has their more dedicated cohorts. These are the people who will argue long into the night, over the hot comic book topics. Where our friend Wade Wilson is concerned, one of the big ones would be: is he a mutant?
As we know, the Weapon X programme saw Wade subjected to horrific experimentation, which resulted in the awakening of his powers. The key to the debate lies in whether these powers were already in him, only dormant, or whether it was this process that directly gave him said powers.
To be a mutant, as the members of the X-Men have reiterated several times, you need to have been born with your superhuman abilities, which Deadpool was not. This makes him, instead, a mutate.
12 He’s Just One Member Of The Deadpool Corps
If you’re familiar with the expanded Marvel or DC universes, you’ll know that things get super shonky super quickly around here. Over the decades, characters have appeared and starred in a whole range of comics, some of which outright defy facts that are already established in others.
We call this a Multiverse, a collection of different universes where wildly different realities can exist separately. That way, nobody’s really contradicting each other here. (You know, technically.)
As an example, there is another reality where Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider, instead of Peter Parker. In that timeline, superheroine Spider-Gwen exists. In short, comic books can do whatever they darn well please, and we’ve just got to deal with it.
When it comes to Deadpool, you can bet that there have been several versions of the character over the years. Unusually, though, there have been occasions where they have all met. Not only that, but they’ve banded together in one big team dubbed the Deadpool Corps.
My favourite thing about this whole concept has to be the hilarious names some of these guys were given. Over the Corps’ different appearances, we’ve seen Lady Deadpool, Kidpool, Championpool, Squirrelpool, and my personal favourite, Grootpool.
11 He’s A Benevolent Organ Donor
As I say, then, Wade Wilson is one of those superpeople that you just can’t quite place. His motives aren’t as clear cut as they seem, and he’s seen wreaking havoc just as often as he’s seen saving the world. It just depends on how he’s feeling on that particular afternoon. Think of him as a sort of super Captain Jack Sparrow, and you won’t go far wrong.
For me, these sorts of antiheroes are far more interesting to watch. It’s their unpredictability that really makes them. Heroes and villains alike can be a little too black-and-white, in a moral sense. Sometimes, we just need somebody who doesn’t play by those sort of rules.
Deadpool, of course, isn’t the kind of guy who ever lets rules hold him back. Neither, however, is he totally heartless (ardent Deadpool fans are sure to appreciate that little pun). As we know, the character’s main shtick is his dramatically accelerated healing factor, which has allowed him to survive many surely-fatal incidents.
Kudos to the guy for using his ability to regenerate organs for the good of others. He has been seen donating various organs, proving that even this morally-dubious dude is familiar with the wise old adage, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
10 He Almost Had To Behave Himself In A PG-13 Movie
So far in this rundown, we’ve taken a look at a lot of the elements that are central to Deadpool’s character. There’s his relentless fourth-wall breaking and snarky nature. There’s his super-smooth range of katana tricks (which we haven’t covered yet, but man are those some stunts). There’s also—as anyone who saw the last movie will tell you—his unrepentant foul mouth.
As I’ve already said, Deadpool and the upcoming Deadpool 2 are no standard Marvel movies. The character was designed to be different, a sort of offensive superhero parody, and there was no compromising here.
When it comes to reviewing movie adaptions, a lot of fans’ main priority is that the central character is faithful to the source's material. We don’t want a bland, limp, watered-down Wade Wilson. We want him at his snarky best.
The equally-snarky Ryan Reynolds himself, however, tried to convince the world that this wouldn’t be the case. In a cheeky tweet on April 1st, 2015, Reynolds tried to convince the world that the first movie would not be R-rated. This was soon revealed to be an April Fools joke, but not before the world reacted in some kind of way to the whole thing. C'mon, people!
9 He’s Also Been A Straight-Up Supervillain
As we’ve seen, Deadpool is the loosest of loose cannons. He’s so loose, he’s fallen right off and rolled under the kitchen counter. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Does he want to save the world? Does he want to see it crash and burn? The answer to all four of those questions is yes.
We’ve seen him at his horrifying, vengeful worst, and we’ve also seen him donating his regenerating organs to those in need. Back in the day, though, he was a little more clear-cut with regards to morality.
The character was introduced in the New Mutants comic, which painted him as a no-holds-barred villain. He was a no wisecracking rebel, he had a dark, brooding presence; quite unlike Wade Wilson’s alter ego as we know him today.
Just a look through comic book characters, though, his personality was shaped and changed over time. As he grew more popular, he started to morph towards a different sort of character — one who could not be defined as easily.
For me, at least, this goes some way to explaining the character’s name, which always seemed a little ‘intense’ for the sort of personality he is. Initially, it seems, it fit him much better.
8 He Has Bovinophobia (Yep, A Fear Of Cows)
You might expect that somebody like Wade Wilson would be totally free of conventional fears and phobias. After everything he’s been through, what terror can the world possibly hold? He’s been through it all, survived, and spends his days crushing, pummeling, and finely dicing foes with his katanas.
A larger-than-life super-being in every possible way. Still, as the Avengers have learned in more than a couple of movies lately, nobody’s invulnerable. They are (mostly) human, and even when they aren’t, they’ve still got weaknesses. The all-powerful Superman’s vulnerability to kryptonite, for instance, which enabled even Batfleck to be able to take him on.
Everybody’s afraid of something, after all. Except Daredevil, of course. That’s his whole shtick, being fearless. How about you, then, Deadpool? What are you afraid of?
That’s right, friends, cows. Wade Wilson’s bovinophobia is quite well documented, with the character stating that the way they stare at him with those soulless eyes freaks him out.
Anything else? Well, yes, I’m glad you asked. Wade also suffers from a phobia that I think many of us can empathise with: coulrophobia, or a fear of clowns. If you’ve ever read IT, or seen the recent movie, I’m sure you can fully support this one.
7 He Was Once Cursed To Look Like Tom Cruise
Comic book writers have a lot of creative license, as a rule. The whole concept of the thing means that they can put their characters through all manner of horrific trauma, safe in the knowledge that they can just pop right back up again. The laws of physics need not apply here, though they can if the situation calls for it.
It’s like in cartoons, where Itchy subjects Scratchy to all kinds of ghastly ends, only for the cat to be magically fine again at the beginning of the next episode. In comic books, ends needn’t be final, wounds and curses needn’t last forever, all those sorts of things. The purists may beg to differ on that one, but that’s just the way it is.
For his part, Deadpool’s subject matter is a little more adult than most. As a result, his escapades tend to be more gross and violent. That goes for his opponents and himself, of course, and some of the things that have happened to him have been truly harrowing to behold.
And then there was… this incident. In Deadpool issues #37-45, Loki curses Wade Wilson, after he refuses to accept that Loki is his father (okay…).
This curse took the form of changing Deadpool’s grim visage to the face of Tom Cruise. Okay…
6 His Spare Parts Became ‘Evil Deadpool’
So, as we’ve established, Wade Wilson possesses various superhuman qualities. Speed, agility, strength, all of the classic superhero boxes are being ticked here. However, he’s best known for his incredible regenerative abilities, akin to those of X-Men icon Wolverine.
We’ve already seen the extent of this ability, able to counteract the damage of his particularly aggressive cancer and so keep him in an eternal cycle. More than this, he is able to recover other damage and regenerate whole organs when necessary. Amid all of that, it’s encouraging to know that he sometimes uses this power for good, donating said organs at times.
It makes you wonder, though, what else is going on in that impossible body?
What else was happening behind the scenes, during the experimentation? How many ‘spare parts’ were taken from Wade during those dark times? We can’t know that, but we do know one thing: Ella Whitbury, a British psychiatrist obsessed with Wade Wilson’s case, had collected a range of Deadpool’s lost body parts and kept them in a freezer.
All individually possessed of his healing abilities, the pieces reconstituted and became Evil Deadpool, an evenly-matched nemesis that the real Wade came up against time and again. A worthy opponent.
*I know Evil is a banned word - but it's his actual alter ego name apparently*
5 He’s Fought Mulan, Sherlock Holmes, And Beowulf (Yep, All At Once)
When you’re dealing with a character as unapologetically over-the-top and brilliantly ridiculous as Wade Wilson, it can be tough to do them justice. For the writers, it’s all about constructing scenarios, plotlines, and foes that fit the bill.
Since his creation, the character has been to some extreme, intense places. The very height of this would probably have to be Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, in which… well, it sounds pretty darn self-explanatory to me.
In this timeline, we meet Dreadpool, a version of Wade driven mad by the fact that he knows himself to be only a fictional character. This realization distorts his entire vision of reality, and he sets about trying to alleviate the suffering of himself and his fellow comic book stars by… wiping them all out.
Through the course of this reality, he destroys the Avengers, the X-Men, even cosmic beings like Thanos and the almighty Galactus. At one point, he is fighting his way through the Ideaverse against fellow fictional characters. Among these are Sherlock Holmes, his faithful sidekick Doctor Watson, and the legendary hero Beowulf.
In the end, he also comes for the writers of the comic themselves, and snarkily threatens its readers as well. This is peak Deadpool, right here.
4 He Does NOT Taste Good
So, yes. At the risk of sounding like a chipped record here, did you know that Deadpool has a dramatically-heightened healing factor? Of course you did. I just wanted to be sure that we’re on the same page.
In a typical Wade Wilson—looking out for number one—sort of way, this ability has allowed him to almost instantly recover from injuries and illnesses that there would usually be no way back from. Now that is pretty darn neat, there’s no denying that.
Who wouldn’t want to be able to get a piece of that action? His own behaviour shows the kind of ridiculous stunts you can perform, knowing that you’ll be able to repair any damage you happen to do to yourself.
Beyond that, he’s also used his powers to save lives, as we’ve also seen. There’s a limit to that sort of charity, though, as we found out in the comic book series.
In Deadpool #5, Wade is captured by Doctor Lovosno, a villain with a proclivity for creating zombies. Unable to find an adequate food source for them (people tend to notice when people go missing), the nefarious Doctor hoped that Wade’s regenerative abilities would allow them to feed on him forever. Sadly for Lovosno, the zombies deemed Deadpool to taste awful, and refused to eat him.
3 He Once Destroyed EVERYBODY In The MCU
It’s curious, isn’t it? Nothing really changes. As children out on the schoolyard, we’d feverishly debate the big issues of our time. The real hot-button questions, like who’s better, Mario or Sonic (oh, the Nintendo vs Sega wars were brutal)? Perhaps you weren’t the gaming sort, though. Maybe superheroes were more your thing. In that case, the real question was, who’d win, such-and-such or such-and-such?
In my experience, Superman was the one to beat. His powers are just more extensive, more dramatic. Inevitably, kryptonite is thrown into the discussion, but outside of that, I didn’t really see anyone else having a chance. This debate is still going on, largely unchanged. It’s just found its way onto web forums now.
In the Marvel world, however, we’ve already answered that one. Apparently, Deadpool beats everybody. We’ve already touched on the controversial and super-grim Dreadpool business, which saw our antihero rampage through his Marvel co-stars like a wisecracking snarky knife through super-butter. Granted, he fought dirty (he took an awful beating from the Hulk; only defeating him by hunting him down once he had reverted back to Bruce Banner), and this was a fun little offshoot not to be taken seriously, but still. This was raw, unadulterated Deadpool.
2 Gambit Is A Big Deadpool Fanboy
So, as we’ve seen, Wade Wilson does enjoy throwing ridiculous curveballs at us. He’s unpredictable, horrifying, hilarious, and intimidating, all at the same time. Quite where he’d rank among Marvel’s most formidable is a tough one to answer, because… well, they don’t really tend to fight him.
He may have shredded his way through the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers in that one Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe side story, but that was only because he was scripted to. Plot armour is a powerful thing.
In that one comic, he had completely lost his mind, driven to the very brink by the epiphany that he’s just a comic book character. As we already know, fourth-wall breaking is a speciality of his, but in this scenario, the whole idea was twisted to become his terrible motivation.
Outside of that reality, he’s quite fond of his Marvel co-stars. He shares a special kinship with Spider-Man in particular, and is respected by Captain America. Others seem to outright fear him.
In one scenario, he is despatched to finish off Gambit, of the X-Men. Afraid to fight him, Gambit instead offers to double the money his employer is paying him, if he lets him go — which Wade does.
This may not sound particularly super-heroic, but remember: Wade is heavily, heavily armed. He's almost entirely moral-free and entirely unhinged. That is not a fun combination to go up against.
1 He’s Not Actually Sure If Any Of These Things Are True
So, here we are. Our little journey into the peculiar world of Deadpool facts is over. It’s a glorious blur of a fear of cows, Tom Cruise curses, and NOT being eaten by zombies. I hope you’ve come away from all of this feeling enriched — both intellectually and spiritually. I sure have.
With regards to this particular character, though, it’s important to take things with a pinch of salt. He is, after all, the Marvel equivalent of one of those protagonists in a novel, who wakes up somewhere with zero clue as to where they are, how they got there, or even who they are. He’s a textbook unreliable narrator.
The main goal with the character is to be as tongue-in-cheek ridiculous as possible. Over the years, that bar has been raised higher and higher. What kind of shenanigans can we expect of Deadpool 2? Probably even more weird than the first, and that’s saying something.
As such, how can we take anything he tells us about his life as fact? One of his major antagonists, fellow mercenary T-Ray, often claims that he’s the real Wade Wilson. Who’s to say that he isn’t? There’s really nothing that can surprise us about this guy, now that he’s become a brilliant parody of himself.