Deadpool Movies Vs Comics: 10 Key Differences
Whenever any source material is adapted for the big screen, there are going to be a lot of things that change. On the whole, the Deadpool movies remain more or less faithful to the comics (well, since they retooled him for his own solo movies after that unmasked, sewn-mouth travesty from the Wolverine origin movie) – he breaks the fourth wall, he talks to himself, he’s pansexual. But as with all comic book movies, the filmmakers had to make some changes in their translation from the page to the screen. Here are the 10 most significant differences.
10. Wade Wilson was a jerk before becoming Deadpool
The origin story of Deadpool is not as clear cut as that of Superman or Spider-Man or Batman. With those guys, you know exactly how their stories began. Spider-Man accidentally led his Uncle Ben to his death and then took his “with great power comes great responsibility” advice on board to become New York’s friendly neighborhood web-crawling superhero. Superman’s home planet was destroyed right after his parents loaded him into a little pod and sent him to Earth, where a couple find him and raise him on their farm and the yellow Sun gives him immense powers. But since Deadpool has been introduced and reintroduced a few times over the years, each time very differently, the filmmakers who made his first solo movie could mix and match their take on the origin story. But since he’s the Merc with a Mouth, one thing has always stayed the same and therefore had to stay the same in the comics: before he was Deadpool, Wade Wilson was a mercenary. In the movie, when we see Wade’s early days as a mercenary, he’s zany and wacky and flirtatious and goofy. In the comics, he was an asshole in his mercenary days – and not in the funny way that we know him to be. He was a horrible guy. He was as bad as a villain! It could be argued that the movie did this better, since it makes Wade a likable character from the off.
9. Where did Deadpool get his name from?
Wade Wilson’s chosen superhero alter ego, Deadpool (or even his original choice, Captain Deadpool), is one of the coolest names of any comic book heroes ever, which is only fitting, since he is one of the coolest comic book heroes of all time. The name is awesome, despite the fact that he’s envious of Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s name and asks her if they can switch. But where exactly does that name come from? Well, it all depends on whether you’re going by the movies or going by the comics. In the movie, Deadpool got his name from the dead pool in the Hellhouse where the bar’s customers bet on who is going to die. But in the comics, he gets it from somewhere else. He still gets it from a dead pool, but it’s in Ajax and Dr. Killebrew’s workshop where they bet on which of their test subjects will die. To be honest, this is better in the comics, because it gives it an added punch and poignancy to have the name derive from Ajax’s cruelty, since the quest for revenge against him is the whole reason why Wade decides to don a mask and become a hero anyway.
8. Vanessa’s age
The characterization of Vanessa as Wade Wilson’s love interest remained more or less the same in the adaptation from comic book to movie form, but her age has changed drastically. In the movies, she’s an adult, but in the comics, she’s a teenager. But it’s understandable that this had to change. The story of a grown man falling in love with a teenager doesn’t exactly bring audiences to the movie theater in droves. And from a business point of view, even with the restricted budget that Fox would give a weird, self-aware, darkly comic, R-rated superhero movie like Deadpool, this is a summer tentpole popcorn blockbuster movie – it’s not a small Woody Allen romance movie set in Europe. They want to attract as wide of an audience as possible. By making Vanessa an adult – but still keeping her as the Vanessa character with the same sense of humor and the same job (prostitute) – the filmmakers simply made the movie more palatable than the comics. An adult man having sex with a teenager is easier to digest when it’s drawn in a comic book than when it’s actually portrayed in front of you by real life actors. It’s still a faithful adaptation of the Vanessa character – she’s just the wrong age, which is understandable. And Morena Baccarin, both in looks and in attitude, is perfect for the role.
7. Deadpool got his powers from the Weapon X program
Deadpool is a classic anti-hero character, because he does bad things for good reasons and has a heart of gold and a sly grin on his face – which is why it was such a crime that the makers of X-Men Origins: Wolverine screwed the character up in such a major way. He’s the Merc with a Mouth and they sewed up his mouth so that he couldn’t even speak, let alone make snide remarks or break the fourth wall. But there is one thing from the comics that X-Men Origins: Wolverine got right, and that’s the fact that Deadpool got his powers from the Weapon X program, the exact same program where Wolverine got his adamantium claws. In the first solo movie, Deadpool gets his powers from Ajax’s workshop, where the bad guy claims that they breed mutants and fit them with control devices to sell them on the black market as “super slaves” (assuming he was telling the truth when he told that to Wade and not just messing with him), with nary a mention of the Weapon X program. It may have been an issue of rights or timelines or whatever. It’s not a major concern – what Wade does after he gets those powers is what we’re all here for.
6. Cable was the original leader of the X-Force
The whole premise behind Deadpool 2 is that Cable, played by Josh Brolin (who also played another iconic Marvel Comics villain, Thanos, in Avengers: Infinity War just a few weeks ago), is the brutal, relentless villain who came back in time from the future to kill a little kid with special supernatural powers. So, Deadpool has to get together a bunch of other superheroes and form his own team, the X-Force, to take him on. This makes Deadpool technically the first leader of the X-Force – but in the comics, that’s actually Cable, the guy who they’re formed in the first place to fight in this movie. Whichever way the writers and the producers chose to set up the X-Force and its heroes in the movies’ cinematic universe (which, contrary to a common misconception, is not in the MCU – this is a separate cinematic universe of Marvel characters that involves the X-Men and the Fantastic Four and their related characters), it’s exciting that they’ve now been established and they’re all locked in for future movies. Rhett Reese, one of the writers of the Deadpool movies, said that after Deadpool 2, there will be both further standalone Deadpool sequels and wider X-Force ensemble movies. “I think we’ll be able to take two paths,” he said. “[X-Force] is where we’re launching something bigger, but then [Deadpool 3 is] where we’re contracting and staying personal and small.” So, we’ll get the best of both worlds.
5. The Hellhouse
In the Deadpool movies, the Hellhouse – also known as Sister Margaret’s School for Wayward Children – is a bar where all the lowly degenerates hang out, like bikers and assassins and murderers. The clientele of the bar is so dangerous that there is a running “dead pool” where people bet on which customer will be the one to die next, which Wade would later take his superhero name from. This bar is where Wade gets all of his jobs from and his friend Weasel works there as the bartender. The spirit of the Hellhouse is captured in the movies, but in the comics, it’s not really a bar. It’s more just a hangout where the local seedy criminal underbelly comes to, well, hang out, kind of like a community center for a very dangerous community. And Weasel isn’t the bartender – he’s just some guy who hangs out there and sells weapons and information. Plus, the friendship of Deadpool and Weasel is totally different in the comics than it is in the movies. In the movies, they’re just a pair of buddies who seem to enjoy each other’s company, but in the comics, Deadpool is constantly abusing Weasel and treating him like crap. That would’ve been funny in the movie, but what Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller have cultivated is fun, too (and better for the plot development).
4. A couple of characters are missing
Any comic book fans who saw the first Deadpool movie will certainly have noticed the omissions of a couple of characters. For starters, there was no Patch. Patch, in the comics, is the guy who tends bar at the Hellhouse and hands out mercenary jobs, while Wade Wilson’s friend Weasel (who assumes that role in the movie) is just a guy who hangs around there. Plus, Dr. Killebrew wasn’t in the movie. Dr. Killebrew is the real mad scientist who tortures Wade at the workshop that coaxes out his mutant genes. But the filmmakers had their reasons for cutting the characters. In fact, in both cases, it was basically a way of condensing and simplifying the script. Paul Wernick, one of the writers behind the two Deadpool movies (and also Zombieland), explained why Patch was gone from the movie: “Weasel basically assumed Patch’s behind the bar job. A lot of it had to do with consolidating and budget and making sure that we focused on fewer characters and fewer scenes. For example, Weasel, became Weasel and Patch. He became the bartender.” Wernick also explained the absence of Dr. Killebrew: “Dr. Killebrew, basically, it was revealed at the end of the movie that Ajax wasn’t the brains behind the operation. He was just a puppet to Dr. Killebrew, and Dr. Killebrew walks on screen and you think, ‘Holy shit!’ But ultimately, [removing Dr. Killebrew] was a decision of just simplification and feeling like we need one core villain and one core villain alone. So, we eliminated Killebrew. Some creative choices and some budget choices ultimately dictated which characters we used and how we used them.” That makes sense.
3. The cancer diagnosis
In the first Deadpool movie, Vanessa comes with Wade to the doctor’s office where he gets his first cancer diagnosis, and then she’s desperate to help him and keep his hopes up as she gives him his medication and insists that he’s not going anywhere. And then one night, Wade takes off and calls Ajax’s lab to cure him (and a little more that he doesn’t bargain for). When he escapes from the rubble of the lab and heads back into the city, Wade desperately wants to talk to Vanessa, but he feels too ugly to make his move. Still, he is never unfaithful to her. But in the comic books, Wade had left Vanessa behind long before she could find out about his cancer diagnosis. And he isn’t so quick to get her back after he mutates. Instead, he sleeps around a bit and doesn’t meet up with Vanessa again until she herself is a mercenary going by the name Copycat. So, the movies and the comic books have each tackled these plot points differently. It could be argued that the movie’s take on it keeps the plot more grounded as a love story, while the comics’ take is more true to the character.
2. Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s sexuality
In the first Deadpool movie, Brianna Hildebrand’s character Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a trainee who is learning the ways of the X-Men under Colossus’ tutelage. By the time the sequel begins, she has graduated from being a trainee and is a full-on member of the team. Deadpool 2 also introduces us to (*gasp!*) her girlfriend! Her name is Yukio and she’s played by Shioli Kutsuna and she’s another member of the X-Men. Deadpool even tells them, “You guys make a super cute couple!” LGBTQ rights advocacy group GLAAD is happy about the representation in the new sequel. GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said, “20th Century Fox and Marvel have finally given countless moviegoers around the world what they’ve longed to see – LGBTQ superheroes in a relationship who protect the world together. Negasonic and Yukio’s storyline is a milestone in a genre that too often renders LGBTQ people invisible, and should send a message to other studios to follow this example of inclusive and smart storytelling.” But the character isn’t gay or bi or queer in the comics, so why the change? Why did they decide to portray the character as queer? Does it even matter? Maybe it was just to give LGBTQ people some representation in a genre that often marginalizes them. It could also be a response to Hildebrand’s own personal life. In 2016, she posted a blog about her own sexual identity. At first, when she realized that she was attracted to both boys and girls, she identified as bisexual. But then she later got “more confused about labels and how to identify.” She concluded the post with the definitive term she uses to self-identify: “I call myself queer. I could probably love a he or a she or a they.”
1. Deadpool loves chimichangas
In the Marvel Comics universe, chimichangas’ claim to fame has always been the fact that they are Deadpool’s favorite food. The Merc with a Mouth’s obsession with these little Mexican delights has long been documented in the comics. It started out as an inside joke between a couple of comic book writers that was apparently about a sketch on Saturday Night Live, but it has since gone on to be one of the defining characteristics of the Deadpool character. Okay, he has admitted that he doesn’t even really like them, while he has claimed to enjoy the taste of enchiladas and tacos, and instead just likes saying the word “chimichanga.” But still, it’s an important part of the character in the comics and the only mention of it in the film is one little throwaway line. Chimichangas, in case you’ve never heard of them, are basically deep fried burritos and they’re popular in the Tex Mex cuisine and they’re delicious, so the character has every right to be addicted to them. But you’d think that since it makes up a large part of his characterization in the comics, they’d make more than one single tiny passing reference to it in the movie.