It wouldn't be wrong to assume that the Deadpool 2 creators were given a massive budget to do whatever the hell they wanted. The movie killed all of the big name new actors teased in the trailer in their first scene together. It associated a property of its studio's company with "hate speech." In a post-credit scene, it traveled back in time and murdered Ryan Reynolds, its own lead actor. But director David Leitch assures me that even though Deadpool 2 wasn't afraid to cross the line, there were a few things that had to go.
"They really gave us a long leash," Leitch says of 20th Century Fox, which distributed the film. "In something like this where you have to push boundaries they really let us go hog wild."
So it was kind of up to Leitch and his editors to decide what should stay and what should go.
"When we got into post and we had to trim it down we started to have to have our own gut checks about what jokes are in and what jokes are out," he says. "There was a pretty close consensus for what should stay and what should go. Some of them we may see in different incarnations of the film or in the Blu-Ray, but we’re pretty happy with where it all landed."
One of those that didn't make the cut was a post-credit scene in which we see Deadpool travel back in time to kill baby Hitler. "I would say there are some things that are really funny and people will go, 'Holy crap, they went there,'" he says. "We’ll leave that to be seen on the Blu-ray."
So don't worry: For anyone who's really not offended easily, Leitch is looking at cuts of the film that leave all this in. And in an interview with Esquire.com, he breaks down what had to be edited out (including the baby Hitler scene), how he pulled off the X-Force slaughter, and the fate of sweet, beloved Peter (the regular guy played by Rob Delaney).
How he chose what jokes should stay and what should go.
I think you’ve got to have instincts as a filmmaker. Deadpool is a puzzle of tone. It’s not an easy tone—you’re really threading the needle. It has a real emotional center, but at the end of the day people are coming for the winking irreverent comedy, the blue humor, and the ballsy, pushing-the-barriers action. The movie in editorial starts to reveal itself to you, and you have to make sure you’re not diverting an emotional moment with a joke. Or where you’re intentionally subverting an over dramatic emotional moment with a joke just to bring it back to the rest of the movie. It’s trial and error, and it’s instinct. It’s not easy, I’ll say that. You can sometimes go, "Screw it, it’s Deadpool—we don’t give an F." But you do, because there’s a story we’re trying to tell, and we’re trying to reach people and have people leave feeling satisfied in all respects in the story and in the comedy.
In the baby Hitler scene, we don't see Deadpool actually kill the baby—that's left up to the audience.
We never see that. We sort of leave it open to the audience. And that’s what I love about that scene is, because it really makes you think about the character and who Deadpool is, and what was the moral of the story we just told you. And now we’re applying it to this crazy situation. And here we are standing with the potential to change history and it’s like, How are we going to change it?
In the third act, there’s a scene with all of them in the apartment, and there’s a reference to [killing Hitler]. It was a discussion about how do we all feel about this in terms of what’s the last impression we want to leave with the audience. There are so many things that are working well at the end that you want to leave the audience with that impression. As much as I love this joke, we end on a really high note and that’s the way it should end.
They went through great lengths to pull of the X-Force scene, which was Ryan Reynolds's idea.
That was in the pages of the first draft, but it was an idea that I heard Ryan riff on in my first meeting with him. When they finally got it on the page I was on the office floor laughing. What I love about it is that it’s so Deadpool, and as a filmmaker it’s so interesting how Deadpool can even reach beyond the screen and sort of tickle you before the movie even comes out. We went through great pains to bring in the right people and protect the scene from prying eyes, and build up the expectation in the right way so the joke would land when people are in the theater. I love it. This is the only type of movie you can do that in. Deadpool is the only type of movie where the promotion and the production can work together to create this crazy type of fun, subversive, and surreal ride that people can enjoy beyond the film experience.
Ryan Reynolds wrote some really convincing emails to get Deadpool 2's cameos.
There’s a lot of things going on in terms of how we got such great cameos. One is that Deadpool is beloved. That original film was lightning in a bottle, a global phenomenon so people want to be involved. That helps. And Ryan can write a very convincing email. He’s a very witty man, if you haven’t figured that out. He’s a very charming man. He has a way of getting people to say yes. The X-Force cast was a lot of people I’ve worked with in the past.
Here's where Deadpool exists in the greater Marvel universe.
I hope that in the future Deadpool continues to be creative and irreverent and finds some bold choices about where it exists. There’s a lot of obvious ones on the table that people speculate about, you know, the Logan-Deadpool theory and things like that. And by the way that would be effing amazing. But I also think there’s a lot of really fun, compelling ideas that we haven’t thought of yet. Deadpool in space. I don’t know—you can put him everywhere. If you look in the canon, there are whacky installments of Deadpool. Cross-genre stuff would be fun with Deadpool. Deadpool pirates. A Deadpool WWII movie. I think the opportunities are endless, and it’s just something that speaks to Ryan and the creatives involved. We can do this, so let’s do this.
Those post-credit scenes were not a joke.
It’s not a fever dream. It takes place in real time and it is what happens: going back in time and righting those wrongs. The result of those actions are true and real and not false or to be speculated on. I can see why people could be confused like, "They were just messing with us." But at the end of the day, we have this movie that was built on an emotional driver and we got to experience that Wade-Vanessa relationship in a really tragic and emotional and heartfelt way. We felt this beautiful resolution, and five minutes later we’re like. Whoops. And we pull the rug out. That’s classic Deadpool.
Our sweet, beautiful boy Peter will be back.
Rob is a genius. It’s one of those moments where he’s so much more than what was on the page. And that’s not to take away from the script, because the script came in so tight and so much of the movie is right off the page. But Rob was one of those force multipliers, and there were inspirations coming off this sort of character that he put together. One line on the page and all of a sudden he was improvising and having fun, and we all saw a definite expansion of what he could be. Not in this movie, but moving forward now that we see how beloved he is. It’s a testament to Rob as a performer.
Luck is absolutely a superpower.
Have you seen Domino? Such a fun character. There’s a beautiful wish fulfillment in that. And Zazie [Beetz] has this undeniable cool that’s just her as a person outside of being a wonderful actress. You could see her as a person who is incredibly lucky. In terms of the action sequences... It was a great puzzle to choreograph. How do we demonstrate luck? How do we show luck? It turned into a Final Destination of chains. All of those things make the character so fun.
Moving forward, it will be fun to see how luck effects her life from beginning to end. How could you string this idea—this incident affects that incident and that incident—through an entire narrative arc? That would be a really fun, compelling story.
There's one subtle joke that Leitch really loves.
Not to give too much away, but when he pulls the floorboards out in Blind Al's and grabs what he needs to grab and he gets that item—that’s my favorite Easter Egg, it’s a reference to the first film. It makes me laugh that Deadpool has it in a steel box, and it’s labeled with masking tape and crayon. I’ve been at this a year, and there’s just genius in this universe and it makes me laugh every day. People are going to enjoy watching this film multiple times. I hope so. Otherwise I’m insane, because I’ve had to watch this well over 250 times and I still chuckle.
They're already writing an X-Force movie.
Well you know, X-Force is sort of in motion. They have Drew Goddard writing it, and he’s going to direct it. I don’t know what the next installment of Deadpool is going to be, and I know Ryan has said maybe there isn’t one. Everyone just wants to celebrate where we are now. But I think everyone had such a great positive experience that we’d love to collaborate together in the future. I would love to do something in this universe with Deadpool or X-Force or anything with Ryan. I would work at a gas station with Ryan, because you’re going to laugh all day, every day.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.