'Deadpool': Why the superhero is popping up in another movie's trailer

The movie about superhero Deadpool isn't being released until February, but the character already seems to be everywhere. Here's what Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind 'Deadpool,' is learning from other superhero movies.

Joe Lederer/Twentieth Century Fox/AP
'Deadpool' stars Ryan Reynolds.

The movie about superhero Deadpool isn’t coming out until this February, but the character is already everywhere.

After the movie garnered buzz from fans at Comic-Con, a trailer from the movie is set to be released on Aug. 4. However, the studio behind “Deadpool,” Twentieth Century Fox, has released a trailer for the trailer (got that?), featuring Deadpool (portrayed by actor Ryan Reynolds) seated in an armchair, talking directly to the audience. He notes that the movie stars “five-time Academy Award viewer Ryan Reynolds.”

Comic book fans recently saw the superhero pop up in another video clip, too. At the end of a trailer for the superhero movie “Fantastic Four,” after the title of the movie appeared, Deadpool appears, sitting in that same armchair. “See ‘Fan Four’ in theaters this Friday and I’ll throw in my ‘Deadpool’ trailer for free,” he says.

These appearances actually make sense for the superhero as he’s depicted in the comic books. In Deadpool’s stories, he often breaks the fourth wall, commenting on what’s happening and speaking directly to the reader. Therefore, Deadpool being aware he’s in a movie – and that he has to promote it, no less – fits with his character. 

These promotions also show that the studio releasing “Deadpool” and “Fantastic Four,” Twentieth Century Fox, is learning a little something from Marvel. At the moment, Marvel Studios is the reigning superhero movie studio, with hits such as “The Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Warner Bros., which releases the movies based on the characters of DC Comics, is in a bit of a lull, since the last “Batman” movie directed by Christopher Nolan was released three years ago in 2012. That lull won’t last much longer, however: “Batman v Superman,” which features the debut of actor Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, among other characters, is set to be released this March.

Twentieth Century Fox’s current superhero strength is the “X-Men” franchise, which scored a hit with the 2014 movie “X-Men: Days of Future Past." Another is coming with “X-Men: Apocalypse” in May 2016. (The X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool all appear in Marvel comic books, but Marvel sold the rights to the characters before they became a big presence at multiplexes. Sorry, it’s confusing.)

However, “Fantastic” and “Deadpool” show that Twentieth Century Fox is trying to become even more of a presence in the superhero movie world. Both could spawn franchises if successful. Marvel Studios has excelled at movies in which one character will make a cameo in another superhero’s film and then get their own movie. For example, the character Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) had a supporting role in “Iron Man 2,” so audiences knew her before she popped up as a main character in “The Avengers.” Similarly, the character Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) appeared in the movie “Thor” briefly, so he was familiar to viewers when he also appeared in “The Avengers.”

With these Deadpool appearances, Twentieth Century Fox is betting that a viewer interested in the Fantastic Four would also be interested in Deadpool – a pretty safe bet. And with Deadpool’s fourth-wall-breaking ways, he’s a natural to lead an effort like this.

While fans have to wait until February for “Deadpool,” the “Fantastic Four” movie will hit theaters on Aug. 7.

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