The Deadpool movie has become a Holy Grail for a certain kind of High Nerd comic book fan. While Hollywood has cycled through the A-list superheroes, rebooting the Batmen and the Supermen and the Spider-Men and even finally figuring out how to create a Hulk that people don’t actively despise, the lesser-known-but-aggressively-beloved merc with a mouth has been locked in development hell. The prospect of a Deadpool movie always seemed promising. Over the last couple decades, the character has transformed into a meta-hilarious anti-hero, breaking the fourth wall and angrily deconstructing the tropes of superherodom. Attached star Ryan Reynolds was always game to discuss his involvement in the project; there was a screenplay by the Zombieland writers; the occasional leaked test footage confirmed that, if nothing else, Deadpool sure wasn’t Amazing Spider-Man.
But Fox always seemed a bit cool to the idea, partially because the material seemed to call for a blockbuster-unfriendly hard-R rating, possibly because the character’s bigscreen tryout came in the cataclysmic X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But the studio clearly has a renewed faith in the X-franchise now that Days of Future Past has grossed close to $750 million worldwide. EW has confirmed that Fox has slotted a Deadpool movie onto an official release date: February 12, 2016. The film will still star Reynolds–who will almost certainly be playing a different version of the character from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which you’ll recall was erased from history by Days of Future Past. It will be the feature film directorial debut of Tim Miller, a visual effects guy whose best-known work is probably the title sequence of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (The film is apparently using the Rhett Reese/Paul Wernick script that made the rounds through darker corners of the internet to general acclaim.)
The fact that Deadpool is coming out in February, just fifteen months from now, probably indicates that Fox isn’t looking at Deadpool as a Wolverine-level blockbuster–which is probably a good thing, since the best runs on Deadpool represent cuckoo-crazy hysteria that’s a million miles away from the emo-grandeur of the mainstream X-Men series or the glossy Marvel Studios films. The film will come out three months before X-Men: Apocalypse and about a year before Wolverine 3 or The Wolverine 2 or All-New Wolverine Origins or whatever you call the alternate-universe sequel to a reboot of a prequel. (Fox also took the opportunity to move Fantastic Four from June 2015 into August 2015, and moved the Assassin’s Creed movie off the schedule completely.)
It’s impossible to know if Deadpool can live up to years of fan hype, or if such an immediately weird property can connect with the mainstream public. But worth pointing out that Deadpool hasn’t started filming yet and is already the best superhero movie Ryan Reynolds has ever made.
Got any geeky thoughts or questions? Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll respond in a future edition of my Entertainment Geekly column.