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‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ trailer hopes tie-in can save the MCU

As with most movie commercials airing during the 2024 Super Bowl, the new trailer for Deadpool and Wolverine was only announced with a teaser. This makes sense given that trailers are usually a few minutes long and Big Game commercials are decidedly 30-second spots. But there was another reason why it was just a teaser that aired on TV and encouraged fans to watch the full trailer online: The full trailer features the in-universe anchor Marvel cinematography.

The trailer opens with Wade Wilson’s birthday party. Someone’s knocking at the door. Wilson (aka Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds) responds and is greeted by agents of the Time Variance Authority, the timeline watchdog at the center of Loki. As the TVA agents pull out their glowing Time Sticks, Wade retorts, “Pig is nothing new to me, my friend. But it’s for Disney. Then he looks directly at the camera.

We won’t get into (IYKYK) pegging here, but suffice it to say that Wade is right. While this may be a corny joke for Deadpool, it’s something new for an MCU/Disney offering. Deadpool and Wolverine is the first Deadpool movie to hit theaters (it comes out in July) since Disney completed its $52 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox and brought Deadpool and the X-Men into the MCU fold. To do that, and bring Wolverine into the mix, would always require some sort of quick reconnection – he’s had two adventure films while the other Avengers were chasing Thanos – so tying Deadpool to the TVA makes sense in a continuity. (and the Kang dynasty). It’s also a sign that at least someone at Disney knows the MCU needs to be overhauled.

As it is, Deadpool and Wolverine is the only Marvel movie to be released this year, and the last—Wonders– didn’t exactly set the world on fire, although it was a very good time. Many speculated in 2023 that Marvel was losing its way. Introducing a horny and foul-mouthed hero, which draws on the rather strange themes of the Thor films and Lokiseems to be Disney’s plan to inject some excitement into the franchise.

When I interviewed Deadpool and Wolverine director Shawn Levy last year, I asked him to bring some bite to the sweet world of Marvel. I asked if the movie would be rated R, and he said, “Hell yes.” When I asked about Deadpool’s identity, he perked up, noting that “Deadpool’s pansexual openness is delightful…(He’s) so fluid and boldly ahead of his time.” Ideologically, he sided with Disney in opposing legislation like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay,” which put the Mouse House in a legal standoff with the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis.

It would be easy to dismiss the MCU’s queerness under Disney’s auspices as a vain attempt at “edginess” — one that only winks at LGBTQ+ fans without actually representing them. There’s something to this cynical view, but given the blowback Disney is likely to receive for its release Deadpool and Wolverine in the hot summer of the election year, the effort feels genuine.

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