When the first trailer for Ryan Reynolds's Once Upon a Deadpool dropped a few days ago, fans were amused to see that their favorite Merc with a mouth would be going the PG-13 route using a framework made famous by The Princess Bride. Reynolds, along with his Deadpool 2 co-writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, had reportedly been working on a family-friendly cut of the film for some time.
Given Reynolds' off-the-wall sense of humor and his affection for nostalgia, the idea understandably didn't strike anyone as odd. That is, it didn't, until a year-old tweet from artist and writer Michael Vincent Bramley surfaced, raising a few eyebrows and making some fans wonder if Reynolds and company were in fact the guys who came up with the concept.
@VancityReynolds If Marvel forces you to make a PG-13 Deadpool, just copy the framing device from The Princess Bride and have Deadpool censoring it for Fred Savage as a bedtime story. A kidnapped adult Fred Savage. There, I fixed it.— M.V.B. (@MVBramley) December 7, 2017
Anyone who has seen the trailer for the upcoming movie can instantly see the two are virtually identical, with Fred Savage himself appearing in a Princess Bride-like bedroom set, being held hostage while receiving instructions to help Deadpool re-frame the film "through a prism of childlike innocence."
In an interview with io9, Bramley explained how he came to be aware of the striking similarities between his idea and the official product, recalling a conversation he just had with his wife.
“She said it was a PG cut and that the trailer was great,” Bramley said. “I told her I had the best PG work-around for Deadpool ever and explained the Fred Savage pitch. I gave the kidnapped Fred Savage spiel and, because she couldn’t remember it from a year ago, she assumed I was just describing the trailer. It quickly dawned on us that something was up and I started to freak out a bit, because I remembered tweeting it at Ryan Reynolds and I usually never check Twitter. I actually barely tweet at all. Usually I share these thoughts on Facebook, but I guess I thought that idea was a bit too perfect and they might actually use it.”
Wernick is on record saying that Reynolds came up with the idea sometime during the summer of 2018 of using Fred Savage to promote their cleaner version of the blockbuster original. Bramley's tweet, of course, was posted in December of last year, months before the Savage scenes were shot.
Bramley has since provided more evidence that he communicated his concept to Reynolds via social media, including screen-caps of Facebook posts he made around the same time as his original tweet.
Sooo... I tweeted the exact plot of the new 'Once Upon A Deadpool' PG version of #Deadpool2 at Ryan Reynolds almost a year ago and it somehow wound up in a movie without me knowing. #deadpool #ryanreynolds #xmen #movies #OnceUponADeadpool #fredsavage #marvelmovies #mcu pic.twitter.com/tTMHwh2A1a— M.V.B. (@MVBramley) November 21, 2018
Because the internet loves a good conspiracy theory, this story wouldn't be complete without adding that Bramley is a comic artist himself, with his social media accounts featuring his artwork of mostly Fox-owned Marvel characters. Reynolds is no stranger to using crazy promotional methods, so it might not be a stretch for some to think this could be part of a clever marketing strategy to get people talking over Thanksgiving weekend. Bramley, for his part, maintains he's not in league with the Deadpool team.
There's no way to know for sure who came up with what and when, but Bramley doesn't seem to be too upset, asking only that Reynolds consider giving him tickets to the premiere and maybe "matching 'BFF' bracelets" for wear in interviews leading up to next month's debut of the film's softer-edged cut.
Once Upon a Deadpool, directed by David Leitch and starring Ryan Reynolds, Fred Savage, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, and Karan Soni, hits theaters Dec. 12 and runs until Dec. 24.