Deadpool and Wolverine director hopes Ryan Reynolds' hero will live up to his "Marvel Jesus" nickname and save the MCU

Total Film exclusive image: Deadpool & Wolverine
(Image credit: Total Film/Marvel Studios/Disney)

Deadpool & Wolverine is set to be the only MCU movie releasing in 2024, which is welcome news to those who like superhero flicks but have become a bit overwhelmed by how much content Marvel has been releasing over the last few years. It also means the threequel, which'll mark the titular character's franchise debut, has a lot riding on its red-leathered shoulders... 

Director Shawn Levy isn't too worried though, as he notes the amusing parallels between the film's plot – Deadpool being drafted in by the Time Variance Authority to save the Sacred Timeline from ruin – and the questions being asked about the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"We had no idea it would be this unique moment where people are asking what the MCU means any more," he tells Total Film in our new issue, which is out on Thursday, June 20 and features Deadpool & Wolverine on the cover. "Can it surprise us? Can it break molds in ways that we don't expect? We certainly hope that this movie is an answer to those questions." 

"What Kevin Feige has built with the MCU is historic as far as a string of successes, but culture has its tide chart, culture has ebbs and flows, and one thing we do know is you can't keep doing the same thing ad nauseum and expect people to greet it with the same excitement," Levy explains. "And so it just worked out really fortuitously because our movie is not like any MCU movie. Yeah, and I say that as a fan of a lot of MCU movies."

Deadpool and Wolverine

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

While Deadpool & Wolverine's plot hasn't been explicitly spelled out yet, the trailers that have been released so far have given us hints as to what the Merc with a Mouth and the mutant will be getting up to. In the first teaser that emerged online, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) had his birthday party interrupted by a bunch of TVA officers, before they dragged him back to headquarters and Matthew Macfadyen's Paradox cryptically offers him a chance "to become a hero among heroes". 

A follow-up clip, which was initially shown behind closed doors at CinemaCon 2024, reportedly saw Paradox asking Deadpool to save the Sacred Timeline, confusing Loki fans but catching our attention all the same. Others have near enough confirmed that Hugh Jackman's Wolverine will be a variant from an alternate reality – one where he failed to save his fellow X-Men from extinction

Since Avengers: Endgame racked up $2.79 billion at the global box office, MCU titles have struggled to even come close to the gargantuan figure. Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $1.9 billion, but its follow-ups have been less than impressive. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder pulled in $955 million and $760.9 million, respectively, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever bagged $859 million and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 pocketed $845 million. Which sounds like a lot, until you consider these movie's enormous budgets...

Despite largely positive reviews from critics, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania bagged $476 million, with The Marvels earning just $206 million on an almost $300 million budget. So, it's no wonder Marvel and Disney are looking to shake things up a little by cutting its output to "two, maximum three films" a year.

Might Deadpool 3 get audiences excited about comic book fare again? Either way, Levy thinks the MCU will live on in some capacity. "I would love to take credit for those parallels," he says. "Some we absolutely intend, but some are coincidences, and we came up with 'Marvel Jesus' two years ago. People love to get on bandwagons whether they're positive, but frankly even more when they're negative."

Deadpool & Wolverine lands in UK cinemas on July 25 and in the US a day later. You can read more about it, and a whole lot else besides, in the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves and digital newsstands on Thursday, June 20.

Check out the covers below:

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman on the cover of Total Film's Deadpool & Wolverine issue

(Image credit: Total Film/Marvel Studios/Disney)

Pre-order the issue here to bag your copy or click here to subscribe to Total Film and never miss another exclusive. You’ll get every issue before it's in stores, and you’ll get subscriber-exclusive covers. 

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Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.