It was recently announced that a Deadpool animated series will be making its way to FXX lead by Atlanta creator and Community star Donald Glover. This will be the second co-production between Marvel and FXX, the first being the psychedelic X-Men-adjeascent series, Legion. This is exciting news indeed, since we’ve seen before in cartoons like Hulk vs. Wolverine and Ultimate Spider-Man that Deadpool lends himself rather well to animation— the character’s zaniness and borderline insanity are reminiscent of old cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry.
While we are beyond elated at this news, we are just as cautious. Superhero animation has had a great track record from both major publishers — shows like Batman the Animated Series and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are loved by fans and critics alike — but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few flops. An animated series of the merc with a mouth could be a whole lot of fun, but it would have to be done right — though we definitely trust Glover’s track record. With that in mind, we here at CBR decided to come up with a few things we need to see in the Deadpool cartoon, and a few we don’t.
15. NEED: GREAT VOICE ACTING
The two main voice actors that have portrayed Deadpool are veteran video game actor Nolan North, and voice of Terry McGinnis on Batman Beyond, Will Friedle. North voiced Deadpool in Hulk vs. Wolverine and in the character’s solo video game (as well as in Marvel vs. Capcom 3). It’s pretty up in the air who plays the character better, and even more unclear who might play him in the upcoming series.
On top of the titular character himself, the show definitely needs to feature some great cameo voice acting from comedians. Why comedians you ask? Well, Deadpool is a comedic character by nature and also had a long comic run written by comedian Brian Posehn, a prominent voice actor himself. Posehn is just one of the many comedians who should make cameo appearances as various members of Deadpool’s posse and/or rogues gallery.
14. DON’T NEED: MEME-MACHINE
Deadpool’s humor has gone through different interpretations with each decade and each writer who has taken him on. Along the line, Deadpool’s humor became derivative of the very culture that came to love him so much. As the merc began to get used in memes of all variety, his humor started to reflect that. Deadpool became a meme and reference-spouting machine, and still sort of is to this day.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; some of these jokes are genuinely funny, but it does get tired after a while. Further, with how long the animation process takes, references and memes that are current at the time of writing an episode will become out of date and fail to hit as hard by the time the episode actually comes out. A reference here and there would be fine (Deadpool is a nerdy character after all), but let’s not go overboard.
13. NEED: COLORFUL ANTAGONISTS
Though the Deadpool film is, without a doubt, fan-freaking-tastic, it did suffer from one thing, lack of color. We’re not talking about the look of the film or the costumes, though. No, we’re talking about the bad guys. Besides Ajax’s costume at the end of the film, there are no colorful villains to be seen, most of Wade’s enemies being nameless thugs in typical tactical and/or gangster outfits.
Half the fun of Deadpool’s character comes from the fact that he shows up almost exclusively for the purpose of messing with other Marvel characters, usually getting paid to steal something from a supervillain and getting caught up in a wacky adventure in the process. Under that notion, it a no-brainer that the Deadpool cartoon should definitely feature a wide variety of supervillains for him to annoy, perhaps even voiced by the aforementioned comedian cameos.
12. DON’T NEED: TOO MANY CHARACTERS
While this may contradict the above entry, there should definitely be a limit to just how many other characters show up Deadpool’s animated adventures. Villains are one thing; they can work, but allies are another story. Deadpool has had team-ups with the likes of Cable, alternate reality versions of himself, and a plethora of other popular Marvel heroes, but maybe those should be pulled back, at least for season one.
If characters do show up to help Deadpool, they should be for one episode maximum, and the series shouldn’t include more than three out of the 10 episodes that were ordered by FXX. Otherwise, it would take too much away from Deadpool himself. This isn’t to say that Deadpool doesn’t need a supporting cast, but we think the focus should be on Deadpool, perhaps saving the team-ups for a second season.
11. NEED: CABLE
Yes, yes, we know we said that there shouldn’t be too many characters taking up Deadpool’s screen time, but we also said there could be, like, three team-ups. One of those team-ups definitely has to be with the time-traveling cyborg mutant, Cable. The character, also created by Rob Leifeld, has had a long comics history interacting with Deadpool, the two forming a surpassingly strong bond considering how much Cable seems to hate Wade.
If there is to be a Deadpool animated series, then Cable is an absolute must. Who knows how they would work him in, maybe he recruits Deadpool to save the future (though he has to pay him) or maybe one of the comics’ storylines will get adapted into an episode. Either way, we need Nathan Summers to show up in the Deadpool cartoon.
10. DON’T NEED: COPYING THE MOVIE
Marvel has made multiple attempts to unify every one of their outlets. In other words, they have started to make the comics, cartoons and video games closely resemble the movies. It’s a move that makes sense for the most part because the movies are more popular than the comics by a long shot, and therefore new readers will most likely be MCU fans. This hasn’t always worked out for the better though, since it sometimes results in alienating fans who enjoyed prior iterations of the characters and stories before the MCU gained a massive following.
Who’s to say if this trend will also effect the Deadpool movies, but we say avoid it. The Deadpool movie was great, don’t get us wrong, but the whole Fox/Marvel legal confusion doesn’t seem to affect their animation department, giving the animated series some freedom with storyline and character access, thus allowing it to do it’s own thing.
9. NEED: INNER VOICES
Speaking of veering from the film, something that the Deadpool movie lacked was the character’s inner voices. Depicted as white and yellow dialogue boxes, the voices were also featured in the Deadpool video game and were a staple of most of Deadpool’s comic career. It was eventually revealed that one of the voices in Wade’s head was villain Madcap, a character with a healing factor that got his vaporized particles mixed with Deadpool’s after both were zapped by Thor. The animated show might avoid this explanation in order to give the character his signature inner voices.
Other than the video game, Deadpool’s inner voices have not been featured outside the comics, and a cartoon is the perfect place for them. Not only would it be a lot of fun in the voice acting department, it could also help play up the humor of the series.
8. DON’T NEED: NERFED WADE
Hopefully the Deadpool animated series will get a properly mature rating, or else the depiction of the character might run into a problem. Aside from the obvious language and blood censorship, a “nerfed” Deadpool would mean the character’s fighting skills and healing factor might be reeled back quite a bit, since he would be dealing out and receiving less injuries and violence. Now, we don’t want that do we?
Deadpool is a violent character yes, but he is also highly skilled, he’s just sort of a buffoon about it. The character might say “bang! bang! bang!” when he shoots his gun, but he’s still hitting his targets. If Deadpool get’s nerfed for the sake of a rating for his own show, then that just wouldn’t be Deadpool, would it?
7. NEED: THE DEADPOOL-VERSE
One of the strongest points of the four-season run of Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man was the adaptation of the Spider-Verse comic storyline. The event featured Spider-Man teaming up alternate universe spider-men and women to stop a force that threatened each of their realities.
Though it might not come in the first season of the upcoming Deadpool cartoon, we would love to see the series go in a similar, albeit much stranger, direction. A “Deadpool-verse” event would be a hell of a lot of fun, since it could include all the media versions of Deadpool: The original Liefeld version, the movie version (to be voiced by Ryan Reynolds of course), the video game version and even the now-obscure ultimate comics version.
6. DON’T NEED: CONVOLUTED STORIES
As it goes with comic characters that have been around for a long time, there tends to be a lot of confusing, convoluted storylines hanging from their histories. Deadpool is no different. He’s had his fair share of confusing stories that were either the result of big-event tie-ins or even editor interventions.
Animation provides a great solution to this issue, since, much like the MCU, it provides a canvas on which to paint a much clearer picture of the events and characters of the comics. We’ve seen these kind of adaptation choices go incredibly well in the DC animated universe (otherwise known as the Timmverse) as well as the streamlined world of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. For the sake of making the Deadpool cartoon more enjoyable, it should probably keep things simple.
5. NEED: FOURTH WALL BUSTING
Now this one is a given since Deadpool has always been aware of the fact that he is a fictional character in a comic book. We get plenty of this in the comics and we’re sure that the FXX animated series won’t forget it any time soon, but as it was with the film, it needs to have it’s own unique spin.
With the Deadpool film, Deadpool talked to the audience like the comics, but took it further by having his narration play around with how the film was cut and edited. In an animated format, Deadpool’s fourth-wall breaking would be best suited in the form of saying things like “Hey you like my show? Well buy my toys or else it get’s cancelled!” or even talking about how the animation progress works, finding his way into the studio as animators are drawing him.
4. DON’T NEED: JOKE-A-MINUTE
While comedy is a HUGE part of Deadpool’s character, it shouldn’t be the whole series. The show was reported to be a comedy/action, which is good since a joke-a-minute writing style is not the way to go. Of course, having moments where it’s laugh after laugh isn’t a bad thing, but we don’t want the show to become something like Family Guy. Even in the movie, the jokes were prominent, but there was a plot tying everything together, one that wasn’t just a loose thread to get us from one joke to the next.
The Deadpool cartoon would definitely need to find a balance between humor, action, and dramatic timing/plot. It’s unclear if the show will follow a villain-of-the-week format or if it’ll be one long story arc, but let’s hope there’s at least some connecting thread, lest it suffers from “joke fatigue.”
3. NEED: ZANY CARTOONISHNESS
Deadpool’s fourth-wall busting is a great way to poke fun at the animation industry, in more ways than one. On top of talking about the process and even stepping into the animation studio, the series could have a lot of fun switching between animation styles for different types of moments. The more cartoonish antics of Deadpool could evoke a Looney Tunes style of animation while more action-intense fight sequences could mimic anime studios like Trigger. Hell, there could even be moments of CG animation that Deadpool could say happened “because the animator’s hands got tired.”
Animation provides a great playground for which Deadpool to mess around in, not only because there are so many different styles, but also because the character himself is basically a cartoon. While the Deadpool cartoon might not incorporate multiple styles, animation is still a great medium for the character.
2. DON’T NEED: CHEAP ANIMATION
Speaking of the animation, quality is a big issue with a show like this. Other action/comedy cartoons like The Venture Bros. and Black Dynamite have beautiful high-quality animation (which is why there is so much time between seasons), but on the other end of the spectrum are shows like The Awesomes or Major Lazer feature somewhat lower-quality animation (though the latter is somewhat on purpose to evoke an ’80s feel). What we’re trying to say is that the Deadpool animated series shouldn’t spare any costs on animation.
This isn’t to say that it can’t be flash animated (there have been some beautiful shows animated in flash, like Disney XD’s Motorcity), but whatever studio is hired for the show should definitely have a good track record. We don’t want the glory of a Deadpool cartoon to be weighed down by bad animation, do we?
1. NEED: A MATURE RATING
At last we come to the most important thing we need in the Deadpool animated series: a mature rating. The Deadpool movie worked hard to get a rating that would allow the character to receive the adaptation he deserved, and as the first R-Rated superhero movie, it helped lead to the similarly-rated and critically-acclaimed Logan. Like the movie, the animated series deserves the right rating, and it shouldn’t be for children.
Of course it’s not exactly an option for the show to be for kids, what with the blood and such, but let’s not skimp on the violence and curse words, shall we? The Deadpool cartoon both deserves and needs the most mature rating you can give a TV show, if only for the chance to see how freaking nuts it can get.
What you hoping to see in the Deadpool cartoon? What are you hoping never shows up? Let us know in the comments!