One of the most exciting aspects of the lead-up to the release of Deadpool 2 was the arrival of the comic book superhero team X-Force, a harder-edged and more militant take on good guy mutant alliances than the slightly more wholesome X-Men.
Fans speculated on what Terry Crews' Bedlam, Lewis Tan's Shatterstar, and Bill Skarsgård's Zeitgeist would bring to the fight in the Deadpool sequel, and where things might all be ultimately going with the X-Force team-up movie, which is in the works from director Drew Godard. The possibilities seemed endless — and then everybody died.
The sequence in which most of the members of Deadpool's new team all die comically during a parachute jump just minutes after being introduced is one of the funniest things to happen in all of Deadpool 2 — and a lot of that has to do with how totally unexpected it was.
This was no accident — it took a whole lot of work to keep that sequence a surprise, and the bewildered reactions the movie earned from audiences everywhere is actually the entire reason the movie's creative team set out to do it.
"How do you have an expectation and then subvert the expectation? You kill everybody on the team," said Paul Wernick, a writer and executive producer on Deadpool 2, in a feature discussing the movie's many secrets and Easter eggs.
Director David Leitch said that he was "obsessed" with the idea of tricking audiences into thinking Deadpool 2 would feature some actual, substantial team-up action beyond the eventual triumvirate of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, Zazie Beetz' Domino, and Josh Brolin's Cable.
"We all loved it," Leitch said. "It's such a great, irreverent, Deadpool world gag that you can't not do it."
"We just thought it was as Deadpool a thing you could do, is to just introduce them all and within two minutes kill every last one of them," said Ryan Reynolds, the movie's star and co-writer. "In order to make a great, rated-R comic book omelet, you've got to break some eggs."
According to actor Terry Crews, the decision to almost immediately ice the majority of X-Force had a lot to do with injecting a sense of irreverent fun back into the superhero movie landscape, which can often get way too caught up about staying serious, faithful, and respectful to the comic books they come from.
"When you look at the whole superhero genre in itself, it kind of got a little pretentious," Crews said. "You know what I mean? It was like, it's so self-important. It became like the Oscars. You're like, 'wait a minute, stop stop stop. Let's take this back and let's put some fun into this thing."
"Nothing is too precious," said Morena Baccarin, whose own Vanessa character was similarly sent to an early grave in the opening minutes of the movie. "Everybody's a mark."
As revealed in the special features for Deadpool 2's home media release, the lengths the filmmakers went to in order to keep X-Force's fate top-secret are dramatic, with the writers' creative intentions being protected in every way possible. In many instances, not even the crew of the movie knew exactly what they were shooting at any given moment, with exact details being kept on a strict need-to-know basis.
According to Wernick, many of the film's sides — or on-set script page excerpts — came in the color red, making them harder to photocopy. They were also frequently full of redacted information, and all turned in and shredded at the end of every day.
"It's like working in the CIA sometimes," Wernick said.
The actors who played the X-Force members were unable to see much, if any information about the parts they were being courted for during the filmmaking process, and discouraged from sharing what info they did learn with friends, loved ones, or even business agents — people you'd think would need to be kept in the loop about this sort of thing.
"David [Leitch] called me and said, 'You can't tell anybody,'" Bill Skarsgård said, regarding the level of secrecy he was held to. "'You can't even tell your representation.' They know I'm in the movie, but they don't know what I'm doing."
"It's crazy," said Lewis Tan. "Very, very secretive. Couldn't even tell family and friends. I was, like, nervous to even tell my girlfriend."
Rob Delaney, who played the gung-ho-but-useless (and also deceased) X-Force member Peter, was also kept in the dark about many aspects of his role, despite the fact that he's not playing a character from the comic books at all.
"I remember talking to my agents and being like, 'Could I, yeah, maybe [get] like a character breakdown — as they call it in the business — or maybe some sides?'" said Delaney. "And they were like, 'Nope, you can't have those. But Ryan will call you and talk you through.' And he did, and it was really exciting what he said."
The production even worked to film scenes for the movie's promotional materials that they knew would never make it to a final cut, all for the purpose of further luring audiences in for the team-up fake-out.
"What the actors were very gracious about doing was shooting footage they knew was not actually going to be in the [movie] so we could trick people into thinking they're in the movie longer than they actually were," said Reese, speaking in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "If you watch trailers and commercials, you'll watch Bedlam and Shatterstar out on the street kicking people's ass. It was all done with the knowledge it wouldn't be in the movie.
Deadpool 2, in both a theatrical and longer Super Duper Cut, is available to purchase digitally now.