How Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Twins' Inspired Deadpool
With the news that Deadpool 3 will co-star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, every pop culture site is currently poring over every old Wolverine/Deadpool comic to look for scenes that might end up in the movie. But if you ask us, the story they should adapt isn't in the comics themselves. It's in the original pitch for the character, which took inspiration from an unexpected source: the 1988 comedy Twins, which technically counts as sci-fi since it asked us to believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito could come from the same genetic material.
How could that movie possibly relate to X-Men comics? Well, as you might know, Deadpool was created by Weapon X, the same shady government program that turned Wolverine from an angry immortal Canadian to an even angrier immortal Canadian with indestructible claws. When this experiment inevitably backfired, Weapon X created Deadpool by basically ripping off Wolverine's healing factor and applying it to a mentally ill mercenary. Then that backfired too, because X-Men comics are a powerful allegory meant to raise awareness of the fact that the government is dumb.
Anyway, according to co-creator Rob Liefeld, Deadpool was originally intended to be Weapon IX -- as in, the experiment that came before Wolverine, who had a bunch of undesirable traits that were ironed out in the final product. How did he come up with that idea? He "stole" it from Twins, of all places. Liefeld told Complex in 2016:
"I stole that crap straight out of Twins. When they go to Danny DeVito, 'How are they twins? he goes, 'All the purity and strength went into Julius. All the crap that was left over went into what you see in the mirror every morning.' That's Wade Wilson. I wanted a mercenary, a bounty hunter who got in the Weapon X program, got screwed up and pissed off and sold his talents to the highest bidder. He was a jackhole."
And in fact, if you look at Liefeld's original sketches for the character, he wrote "Weapon 9" and "not as refined as Logan" right there.
Liefeld has reiterated this story many times over the years, adding that he actually pitched Deadpool to Marvel by comparing him to DeVito's character. He says he "literally pitched him as (Wolverine's) junk." This raises an important question: Did Marvel think they were approving a talking dong character? If so we don't want to know where the claws would pop out of.
As the character got passed around from writer to writer, his backstory went in a different direction, but Liefeld did predict the much later revelation that the "X" in "Weapon X" is a roman numeral and many other Marvel characters are part of the same program: Weapon I is Captain America, Weapon VI is Luke Cage, Weapon II is a super-smart squirrel with Wolverine's powers, etc.
Could Deadpool 3 finally use Liefeld's abandoned concept and end up being a buddy comedy starring Wolverine and Deadpool as unlikely brothers? Or will they go the Junior way and get one of them pregnant? Only time will tell.
Thumbnail: 20th Century Studios, Universal Pictures