Wade Wilson
X-Men film series and
Marvel Cinematic Universe character
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson / Deadpool in Deadpool (2016)
First appearanceX-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Based on
Adapted by
Portrayed byRyan Reynolds
Scott Adkins (Weapon XI)
In-universe information
Weapon XI[a]
SpouseVanessa Carlysle (fiancée)

Wade Winston Wilson, also known as Deadpool, is a fictional character portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in 20th Century Fox's X-Men film series and later the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise produced by Marvel Studios. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, he was heavily adapted for his first appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), in which he is depicted as a mutant mercenary who is transformed by William Stryker into a genetically altered mutant killer known as Weapon XI.

The revised timeline of the original X-Men film series in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) narratively allowed for a more faithful rebooted iteration of the character to be depicted in Deadpool (2016) as a dishonorably discharged Special Forces operative and terminal cancer patient volunteering for an experimental treatment to awaken his latent mutant genes. It gives him a regenerative healing factor that counteracts his illness but disfigures him, resulting in him adopting the moniker "Deadpool", killing the scientist responsible and reuniting with his fiancée Vanessa Carlysle. In Deadpool 2 (2018), Wilson forms the X-Force to protect a young mutant and avert his turn towards tyranny in the distant future. Following the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney in 2019, it was announced that Deadpool would be integrated within the MCU beginning with Deadpool 3 (2024).

The character's portrayal in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was negatively received by both critics and fans for deviating from the source material. However, his characterization in the three Deadpool films received critical acclaim, with praise directed at Reynolds's performance and its faithfulness to the comics.

Concept, creation, and characterization


Canadian-American actor Ryan Reynolds was drawn to the role of Deadpool after learning that in the comics the character refers to his appearance as "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei", later lobbying for a film featuring the character to be made.

Artisan Entertainment had announced a deal with Marvel Entertainment in May 2000 to co-produce, finance, and distribute several films based on Marvel Comics's characters, including Deadpool, a newer character introduced in the early 1990s.[1] By February 2004, screenwriter and director David S. Goyer and Ryan Reynolds were working on a Deadpool film at New Line Cinema. They had worked together on the Marvel film Blade: Trinity.[2] Reynolds was interested in the part of Deadpool after learning that in the comics the character refers to his appearance as "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei".[3] New Line executive Jeff Katz, who thought Reynolds was the only actor suitable for the role, championed the idea. However, there were rights issues with 20th Century Fox and their X-Men films, and the project did not move forward.[4]

By March 2005, Reynolds learned that Fox had expressed interest in a film featuring Deadpool.[5] The character was set to make a cameo appearance in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with Reynolds cast in the part. His role was expanded during the film's production.[6] Katz was an executive at Fox at that point, and said that Deadpool was "nicely set up to be explored in his own way" in a future film.[4] The film's portrayal deviates from the original comic character, "imbuing him with several superpowers and sewing his mouth shut". Deadpool apparently dies in the film, though a post-credits scene showing him still alive was added to the film shortly before its release. After the successful opening weekend of Wolverine, Fox officially began development on Deadpool, with Reynolds attached to star and X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner involved. The spinoff was set to ignore the Wolverine version of Deadpool and return to the character's roots with a slapstick tone and a "propensity to break the fourth wall".[7]

At Fox, the film went through several directors before Tim Miller settled on the position, with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick hired to write the script. Meanwhile, Reynolds took the lead role in Green Lantern, a film that was critically and financially unsuccessful.[8] Due to this poor reception and the fact that a film based on Deadpool would most likely be rated R instead of PG-13, Fox became doubtful about the project, even after Reynolds produced test footage of himself in-character. However, the footage was eventually leaked in 2014 to enthusiastic reviews, prompting Fox to green-light the project. Reynolds attributed Fox's green-lighting of the film entirely to the leak. He, Miller and the writers had previously discussed leaking the footage themselves, and Reynolds initially thought that Miller had done so. He later believed the leak came from someone at Fox. In exchange for being able to make the film the way they wanted, Fox gave the crew a much smaller budget than is typical for superhero films.[9]


Further information: X-Men (film series)

In both timelines, Wade possesses a highly sarcastic sense of humor that irritates and annoys most of his enemies. He regularly insults and belittles his enemies. He feels no shame and can make a joke out of any situation, even after months of endless torture and being shaken by his subsequent transformation. Only a few select people can withstand his seemingly endless talking, and his mouth is sewn shut in the final act of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

His personality is significantly more fleshed out in the new timeline. He loves cartoons, potty humor, Skee-Ball, classical music, television shows, rap music, and American pop culture. His favorite band is Wham! and George Michael, specifically, the song "Careless Whisper." He remains very movie-cultured, referencing The Matrix, RoboCop, Alien 3, Yentl, 127 Hours, Cocoon, Star Wars, Green Lantern (which also stars Ryan Reynolds), and even X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Like his comics counterpart, Wade himself is aware that he is a fictional character in a movie and makes fun of this by breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience.[10][11] In Deadpool 2, when his autograph is requested by a fan, he signs it "Ryan Reynolds."

Despite his initial immaturity, Wade is a genuine, soft, good-hearted man, and in time becomes a very moral and heroic person to the point of sacrificing himself to save the mutant Russell Collins. Although he is a mercenary, he agreed to scare off a young girl's stalker without being paid for his troubles, revealing he can be affectionate. On matters of love, he can be surprisingly sensitive, feeling forced to abandon his girlfriend, Vanessa, due to his terminal cancer. He advises his taxi driver, Dopinder, to fight for the object of his affections, Gita. After Vanessa's death, Wade develops a suicidal nature, yet his inability to die increases the decay of his already fractured psyche. He is content to die of cancer in the Icebox until he finds a new purpose in protecting Russell from Cable. After his near-death experience, he still has not accepted Vanessa's demise, so he uses Cable's time travel device to save her.

Reynolds worked with longtime trainer Don Saladino to get in shape for the role, gaining 7 pounds of lean muscle. Saladino commented that while they aimed to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance, they also wanted to get Reynolds "actual strength over superficial", so they spent extensive time working on Reynolds's mobility prior to working on actual strength.[12]

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Further information: Deadpool 3, Multiverse (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and Acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney

After the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company was announced in December 2017 and completed in March 2019, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that Deadpool would be integrated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe under Disney,[13] and that the company would be willing to make future R-rated Deadpool films "as long as we let the audiences know what's coming".[14] The Once Upon a Deadpool version of the film was being watched carefully by Disney and Marvel Studios to see whether it might inform how they could approach the character and integrate him into the PG-13 MCU.[15]

In October 2019, Reese and Wernick said that they had a script in development, but were waiting for approval from Marvel Studios to begin production on the third film. Reese said, "[Deadpool] will live in the R-rated universe that we've created, and hopefully we'll be allowed to play a little bit in the MCU sandbox as well and incorporate him into that."[16] In December 2019, Reynolds confirmed that a third Deadpool film was in development at Marvel Studios,[17] which was confirmed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige in January 2021, with Reynolds reprising his role. The film will retain the R-rating of the prior films and will be set in the MCU. Feige described Wilson as a "very different type of character" in the MCU.[18][19] In March 2022, Shawn Levy was revealed as the film's director after previously collaborating with Reynolds on Free Guy (2021) and The Adam Project (2022),[20] while Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were announced to be rewriting the Molyneux sisters' screenplay, reprising their duties from the first two Deadpool films. Filming began in May 2023.[21][22] Reynolds is also slated to produce the film alongside Kevin Feige through his production company Maximum Effort.[23]

In May 2022, screenwriter Michael Waldron confirmed in an interview that there had been discussions within Marvel regarding Reynolds making a cameo appearance as Deadpool in the multiverse-focused film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), as he himself felt "[it] would've been crazy to not raise that" after the inclusions of other X-Men related elements in the film such as the Savage Land and the character Professor Charles Xavier (played by returning X-Men actor Patrick Stewart). However, Waldron would ultimately feel as if the film was an unfitting place to feature the character.[24][25][26] The Marvel Studios: Assembled episode on the making of Multiverse of Madness also featured concept art depicting a "Deadpool dimension", an alternate world cityscape with multiple billboards adorned with Deadpool-themed posters and comic book art.[27] A pair of sneakers inspired by Deadpool's costume appears in the main-on-end credits sequence of the metafictional Disney+ television series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022), featured as part of a collection of Marvel Comics-inspired sneakers owned by Augustus Pugliese (Josh Segarra).[28]


Further information: X2 (film), X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool (film), No Good Deed (2017 film), Deadpool 2, Deadpool and Korg React, and Deadpool 3

Fictional character biography

Original timeline

Main article: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Team X

In the original continuity, Wade Wilson is a commando and mercenary with enhanced human reflexes and agility due to being a mutant. During the Vietnam War, Wilson is a member of a Black Ops group called Team X under the command of William Stryker. The team also includes James "Logan" Howlett, Victor Creed, Frederick Dukes, John Wraith, Chris Bradley, and Agent Zero. During one mission, while trying to find a mineral used to create adamantium in Nigeria, Stryker orders the team to massacre an entire village. Logan stops it, and leaves the group. After his departure, other team-members begin to question the team's morality and begin to leave, including Wilson, until only Creed and Agent Zero remain faithful to Stryker.

Brainwashed by Stryker

Six years later, Wilson is captured by Creed and taken to Stryker's base at Three Mile Island to be used as a catalyst for the Weapon XI project. With Creed's help, Stryker collects DNA from several mutants (including Wraith, Bradley, Scott Summers, and Logan), whose powers could be used collectively within one body without destroying it. Stryker has Wilson lobotomized and brainwashed into doing his bidding, giving him an adamantium skeleton like Logan's, including retractable blades in his forearms. Unlike Logan, Wilson only has one blade come from each forearm and the blades are significantly longer, similar to the swords he used before being captured. Stryker also has his mouth sewn shut due to his previous annoyance at Wilson's constant wisecracking. Stryker dubs him as the "mutant killer" known as the "Deadpool". Unlike his counterpart in the comics, this name is conceived as Weapon XI has the powers of several mutants "pooled" into the dead body of Wade Wilson. After freeing the other mutants captured by Stryker and Creed in Three Mile Island, Logan is stopped by the now activated Weapon XI. Logan faces Weapon XI alone, giving the mutants time to escape and eventually Logan climbs atop a cooling tower at Stryker's plant, with Weapon XI teleporting to the top. Logan is about to be decapitated by Weapon XI (under the command of Stryker) until Creed later joins to help Logan. Weapon XI is beheaded and seemingly defeated by Logan. However, Wilson survives decapitation.

Revised timeline

Early life

In a new continuity created through the aversion of the war between Sentinels, humans and mutantkind,[b] Wade Wilson is born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1975.[citation needed] He is now a former Special Forces soldier who was dishonorably discharged, becoming a mercenary operating at Sister Margaret's School for Wayward Girls, where he meets and eventually proposes to hustler Vanessa Carlysle.

Becoming Deadpool

Main article: Deadpool (film)

Wilson is diagnosed with late-stage Stage 4 cancer shortly after being engaged to Vanessa. He is approached by a representative of an unknown organization, who offers him a cure in addition to powers "most men only dream of". While he initially declines the offer, he eventually returns to accept it. However, not all is as it seems, as he soon realizes the organization is actually attempting to create an army of superpowered individuals under their control. Wilson undergoes numerous forms of torture at the hands of Ajax and Angel Dust, though he never loses his sense of humor. Eventually, Ajax is successful in activating Wilson's dormant mutant genes, which allows him to heal and regenerate from any wound. While Wilson's healing factor cures his cancer, it also horrifically deforms his entire outer layer of skin. Driven partially insane by the ordeal and his disfigurement, Wade escapes and destroys the facility in the process, but ultimately loses to Ajax in battle. Wilson is presumed dead, but survives thanks to his new-found abilities.

Afraid to reunite with Vanessa in his current appearance, Wilson takes on the moniker "Deadpool", after remembering when his best friend Weasel bet in the Sister Margaret's group "dead pool" that he would die, and begins hunting for Ajax to force him to fix him. He eventually tracks him down, though his attempt to kill him is interrupted by Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, members of the X-Men. The two attempt to apprehend Wilson, however he manages to escape by severing his own hand. Shortly after, Ajax targets and kidnaps Vanessa to get back at Wade, hoping to lure him out and kill him successfully. Upon learning of this, Deadpool contacts Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead for their assistance. The three confront Ajax and his men, where Deadpool is able to save Vanessa and ultimately kill Ajax, much to Colossus' dismay. Despite his appearance, Vanessa still accepts Wade, and the two embrace.

Stopping Cable

Main article: Deadpool 2

Two years later, Wilson continues working as a successful mercenary-for-hire, taking down the most despicable and untouchable of criminals. On the day of his anniversary with Vanessa, Wilson is assigned to kill mobster Sergei Valishnikov. However, when Deadpool attacks his base, Valishnikov hides in a panic room. Since waiting for Sergei to get out was going to take too much time, Wade decides to let him go for the time being in order to spend time with Vanessa. Unfortunately, Valishnikov and his men decide to retaliate against Deadpool and attack him at his apartment, inadvertently killing Vanessa, after which Deadpool finishes the hit in vengeance. For the next six months, Wilson tries to commit suicide by blowing himself up. This ultimately fails, however, due to his healing factor, and his pieces remain alive to be found and reassembled by Colossus.

Colossus manages to convince Wade to join the X-Men as a form of physical and mental healing after the death of Vanessa. He becomes a trainee and accompanies Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead to a standoff between authorities and an unstable young mutant named Russell Collins. After trying to calm Russell down and prevent any more damage, Wade realizes that the orphanage where Russell lives, labeled a mutant "reeducation center," has abused him and Wade subsequently kills one of the staff members, leading to his and Russell's arrest. They are taken to the Ice Box and their powers inhibited with special collars. Without his healing factor, Wilson's cancer returns, leaving him resigned to his fate. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier from the future, Cable, arrives in 2018 to murder Russell before he can kill his first victim, as Cable's family is murdered by a future version of Russell. Cable's breaking into the Ice Box allows for Wilson and Russell to escape their cell, and when Cable comes to kill Russell, Wilson's collar is broken in the melee. With his powers restored and cancer cured again, Wilson attempts to defend Russell, but is beaten by Cable who takes Vanessa's Skee-Ball token. Cable nearly beats Wade to death, and Wade experiences a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife where she convinces him to go after Russell and save him.

Forming X-Force and teaming-up with Cable

Wilson returns to life and forms a superhero team of his own called X-Force. They attempt to assault a convoy transferring Russell and several other Ice Box prisoners by parachuting from a plane, but the only survivors of the team end up being Wilson and Domino, a mutant whose powers pertain to luck. The two assault the convoy alone, finding Cable already on the scene. While Domino drives the truck and Cable fights Wilson, Russell releases fellow prisoner Juggernaut, who agrees to assist Russell in killing his abusive former headmaster. Before escaping, Juggernaut destroys the convoy and tears Wade in half, allowing the two of them to escape unhindered.

Cable reluctantly agrees to work with a recovering Wilson and Domino in order to stop Russell's first murder. The team is initially overpowered by Juggernaut while Russell terrorizes his headmaster until Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and her girlfriend Yukio arrive and helped to hold him off. Wilson attempts to talk Russell down, even putting on an inhibitor collar to negate his powers as a show of good faith. This ultimately fails, however, and Cable shoots the boy. Wilson jumps in front of the bullet and is fatally wounded, as his healing factor is negated by the collar. Feeling it is his time to go, he refuses to let anyone remove the collar, choosing to be reunited with Vanessa in the afterlife. Russell is inspired by Wilson's sacrifice and chooses not to kill the headmaster, preventing the death of Cable's family in the future. Cable decides to use his final time-traveling charge to go back and hide Vanessa's Skee-Ball token inside Deadpool's uniform, in the spot where he would be shot. Wade still takes the bullet for Russell, but this time it is stopped by the token and Wade survives. Despite this, Russell is still inspired by Wade's sacrifice and does not kill the headmaster. As the group leaves the scene, the gloating headmaster mocks them until Wade's taxi-driver friend Dopinder runs him over with his car, killing him anyway.

Altering history

Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio manage to fix Cable's time-traveling device, and Wade uses it to make several alterations to the timeline. He first goes back and saves both Vanessa and former X-Force member Peter. He then goes back and shoots the Weapon XI version of Wade Wilson several times, confusing the bystanding Wolverine. After this, he makes a stop in the late 2000s to shoot Ryan Reynolds in the back of the head as he is reading the script for the film Green Lantern (2011), before entering 1889 in order to care for a newborn Adolf Hitler and prevent his turn towards dictatorship.

Other variants

Weapon XI variant

Further information: Deadpool 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Similar to Wade Wilson in the original continuity, this variant is a soldier and mercenary with enhanced human reflexes and agility and is a member of a Black Ops group called Team X under the command of William Stryker. Six years later, Wilson was captured and taken to Stryker's base at Three Mile Island where he is experimented on for the Weapon XI project. Stryker dubs him as the "mutant killer" known as the "Deadpool". After freeing the other mutants captured by Stryker in Three Mile Island, a variant of Logan is stopped by the now activated Weapon XI. He is then shot several times with adamantium bullets and killed by a time-displaced Wade Wilson, confusing the bystanding Logan. Wilson then proclaims of "just cleaning up the timeline" to Logan before time-traveling to the year 1889.

Deadpool 3

Further information: Deadpool 3

Multiple "variants" of Wilson in addition to the revised timeline variant appear in Deadpool 3.

Other variants

In other media


Video games

Web series


Reynolds's initial portrayal of Wade Wilson / Deadpool / Weapon XI in X-Men Origins: Wolverine received significant critical and fan backlash. Many observed the lack of connection between the film's depiction of the character and his traditional counterpart in the comics. Writing for the Huffington Post in an advance-screening review, Scott Mendelsohn panned the film's depiction of Deadpool and subsequent transformation into Weapon XI, amidst other characters featured in the film from X-Men comics, affirming that "The climax, for reasons that I won't reveal, will absolutely infuriate devotees of [Deadpool] (for comparison, imagine if, at the end of Spider-Man 3, Eddie Brock turned into The Vulture)".[39] In her retrospective of the film, Rachel Edidin of WIRED described the film's take on the character as "Deadpool, with his mouth sewn shut, which kind of fundamentally misses the point of the Merc with a Mouth",[40] while Collider's Matt Goldberg deemed Wilson's codename of "Weapon XI" as, "a fitting symbol for the film because it's a bunch of mutant powers dumped into a dummy".[41]

In contrast, Reynolds's portrayal of the title character in the three standalone Deadpool films was critically acclaimed. Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw called Deadpool (2016) "the funniest Ryan Reynolds film since Van Wilder: Party Liaison", while going on to observe that "Ryan Reynolds is developing something self-deprecatory and knowing in his handsomeness, a Clooneyesque goof, which works with the comedy here".[42] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised Reynolds' subsequent redemption as the character, highlighting the first Deadpool film as proof that "the director, Tim Miller, and Mr. Reynolds can do more than hit the same bombastic notes over and over again", while calling his performance, "career rehab (or penance) for Green Lantern, the 2011 dud he fronted for DC Comics".[43] In his review for Variety, Justin Chang commented on the film's ability to leverage Reynolds' "funnyman sensibilities", going on to exclaim that " through sheer timing, gusto and verve (and an assist from Julian Clarke's deft editing), Reynolds gives all this self-referential potty talk a delirious comic momentum".[44]


Further information: List of accolades received by Deadpool (film)

Reynolds has received numerous nominations and awards for his portrayal of Wade Wilson / Deadpool.

Year Film Award Category Result Ref(s)
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (shared with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber) Nominated [45]
2010 People's Choice Awards Favorite On-Screen Team (shared with Daniel Henney, Dominic Monaghan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber and will.i.am) Nominated [46]
2016 Deadpool Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actor in an Action Movie Nominated [47]
Best Actor in a Comedy Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Male Performance Nominated [48]
Best Action Performance Nominated
Best Kiss (shared with Morena Baccarin) Nominated
Best Comedic Performance Won
Best Fight (shared with Ed Skrein) Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Comedic Performance Nominated [49]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action Nominated [50]
Choice Movie: Hissy Fit Won
2017 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated [51]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Won [52]
Favorite Action Movie Actor Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actor Won [53]
2018 Deadpool 2 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Male Nominated [54]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Action Movie Star Nominated [55]
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Comedic Performance Nominated [56]
2019 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Nominated [57]
Prix Aurora Awards Best Visual Presentation Won [58]


  1. ^ a b c d This information is implied and depicted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), set in the original timeline of the X-Men film series.
  2. ^ As depicted in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)


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