So does that mean the decision to save Vanessa also came later?
Reese: Yeah. We originally did not save her. It was interesting — we thought we might have to save her with the time machine, because the audience would be mad at us, but they were accepting of her being dead.
Wernick: Her story has a beginning, middle and end, so I feel like while we do kill her in the first act, we do keep her “alive” throughout the movie, with the afterlife. Again, as it was in the first one, that relationship really is the emotional core of the movie. We feel like the audiences weren’t cheated of that relationship, because despite her death, it travels through.
Reese: Now we can bring her back as Copycat, and Morena [Baccarin] was very thrilled when she got the call. “We got the time machine working, and you’re still alive!” “I knew it!” It was really funny.
Wernick: When we told her that she was dying in this one, she was like, “Oh, man.”
Reese: She did take it great, though. She said, in the back of her mind, “I know no one’s ever really necessary dead in a comic book movie. They could be back.”
Wanted to ask if that was a tough decision.
Reese: It was.
The reality is, there aren’t a ton of female characters in these movies, and to take one off the board, especially one that’s very well-liked…
Wernick: There were drafts of her film that had them breaking up, and not her death. But we always felt it was important to get Deadpool at his lowest early on, take everything away from him, and build him back up. It was a difficult decision, but one, story-wise, that we felt we had to make. And then we got to have our cake and eat it too by bringing her back to life at the very end.
Moving to several deaths that I’m sure was an easier decision — that X-Force sequence. What inspired that premise? How did you come about in using those characters, which balanced being believable enough to promote them as part of the film, but also expendable enough that you could kill them off so quickly?
Reese: Shatterstar helped, because he was an original member of X-Force. I think that’s the one that made people think, “OK, this is legit.” Also, we had actors who were really generous, and they were willing to shoot footage that they knew and we knew wasn’t going to end up in the movie, but was only going to be in marketing material. So we had Terry Crews out there fighting stunt guys, knowing that it was only going to be in commercials — and we did use it, it’s in commercials and it’s in trailers. It was all to help mislead the audience on this big gag. It was very elaborately constructed to make sure people bought it.
Wernick: There was a moment in time we were going to do standees, their own posters, we were going all in on this idea.
Reese: We were really going to try and convince people that they were going to be alive so that nobody sniffed it. And I think it worked, in the sense that nobody sees that coming.
In the very back of our mind, we did have the time machine in our heads, saying if we really need to resurrect Shatterstar, if people are that upset that he’s going, we can do it. Peter, for example, we knew people were going to love Peter — we maybe want to use Peter moving forward in some fashion. When Delaney found out that Peter was going to get to come back, he was like, “OK, bring me back! Let’s do it!” We recreated that moment on the street where he’s about to go save Zeitgeist and gets killed. We were on a studio, we created this fake patch of grass, we weren’t on the same street, and there he did his, “I’m just going to go home! Can you give me Domino’s email address?” That was fun.
Were there characters you wanted to use in X-Force that you couldn’t?
Reese: No, everything was available to us.
Wernick: Spider-Man. [Laughs]
Reese: Well, post-merger, we may get our wish there. Or Spider-Man will be using Deadpool.
I’m so bummed — I want Chris Evans to stay Captain America forever, because I just want to see Deadpool and Captain America doing stuff together, but I don’t think that dream will come true.