Over the last few years, Deadpool's cultural clout has risen significantly over the last few years. After spending the better part of a decade as a fan-favorite comics character, the Merc with a Mouth became one of the most popular fixtures in pop culture after his solo film in 2016. Following the massive success of the film and its even more profitable sequel, Donald Glover, the creator of FX's wildly acclaimed Atlanta, even wanted to bring the character to animation.
However, behind-the-scenes drama led to the premature end of the series, in that incarnation at least. Now, CBR is taking a look back at the history of this doomed series, untangling how it fell apart and looking at its potential future.
What the Deadpool Cartoon Could've Been
Deadpool was announced in May of 2017. The series was intended for FXX, the comedic off-shoot of the FX network that features Archer and a slate of animated programs like The Simpsons. Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover were set to executive produce and write the first ten-episode season. They would also serve as series showrunners, alongside Marvel's Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory. A writers room was assembled and Nick Grad, president of original programming for FX Networks, released a statement saying "Donald Glover is an incredibly gifted and versatile artist who’ll bring the untitled Marvel’s Deadpool series to life with the same intense, singular vision as his breakout hit Atlanta."
FX head John Landgraf claimed the series would be significantly different than the Ryan Reynolds-starring films, suggesting it would be more driven by Glover and his specific sense of style and humor. Glover even spoke about the project in 2018, saying it was easier to develop than any of his other recent projects. But less than a year after it had been announced, Glover left the series completely.
Donald Glover's Departure
In March of 2018, FX released a statement saying “Due to creative differences, FX, Donald Glover, Stephen Glover and Marvel Television have agreed to part ways on Marvel’s Deadpool animated series. FX will no longer be involved with the project." In response to the news, Glover posted a Deadpool script titled "Cancelled", commenting on the announcement as well as giving fans a taste of the kind of tone his Deadpool would have taken.
Test footage for the series would later be released by the animation studio TitMouse, showcasing the style of the now-dead series. Stephen Glover was open about the cancellation on Twitter, revealing what he believes was the final straw for FX. He wrote that "There definitely was a Taylor Swift episode. It was HILARIOUS. And it was definitely the last straw." Glover also compared the series to Rick and Morty, the Adult Swim smash-hit sci-fi comedy.
IS THE DEADPOOL SERIES DEAD?
Since Deadpool seems particularly well-positioned to transition to adult animation and the success of Atlanta proves Glover and FX have a strong working relationship, the cancellation of the series still raises questions.
Speaking for FX, Langraf claimed in October that the decision to cancel the series didn't come from the cable network. Instead, he said that came from Marvel. "Marvel controls the IP and the decisions around the IP. It was their decision not to go forward with Donald and Stephen’s version, I personally liked it."
Although the character has appeared in other animated series like Ultimate Spider-Man, the Deadpool series that was announced seems to be dead.
However, Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has kept hope alive about the potential for a Deadpool animated series at some point. During an interview at the beginning of the year, the comics creator claimed that while he had no real inside information, he had been told by an unnamed Marvel executive that a Deadpool animated series would eventually be produced. While Marvel and Disney haven't publicly discussed any new developments about a potential Deadpool series, it could just be a matter of time until Wade Wilson slices and dices his way onto the small screen.