Deadpool 3 will feature the return of Jennifer Garner’s Elektra – from mid-Noughties flops Daredevil and Elektra – leaving fans wondering whether other comic book movies everyone hated decades ago will also reprise their roles.
The action-comedy sequel, starring Ryan Reynolds as the fourth wall-breaking superhero Deadpool, will see Hugh Jackman reprise his role of Wolverine – despite the actor announcing his retirement from the role back in 2017.
Garner is now also confirmed to be on board, in a film that is speculated to involve “the multiverse”, with Deadpool clambering through different movie timelines – a result of Disney adopting a stable of comic book characters previously owned by the now defunct 20th Century Fox.
The merging of the Deadpool universe with past Fox movies was teased in 2018’s Deadpool 2, in which the character uses a time travel device to step into the universe of the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That movie famously featured Reynolds as Deadpool, but a neutered, family-friendly version that Reynolds has since disowned. In the scene, our present-day Deadpool shoots the 2009 Deadpool dead.
While modern comic book movies revisiting old characters is nothing new, the return of George Clooney’s critically panned Batman – from 1997’s Batman & Robin – in the recent disaster The Flash, and now the return of Garner, suggests that studios have run out of characters from movies that people actually liked years ago.
Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck, was a notorious critical and commercial flop in 2003, with Affleck later remarking that the film “just kills me – I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got f***ed up the way it did stays with me”.
Garner, who received better reviews for her performance than the film itself, then reprised the role in 2005’s Elektra – a rare superhero movie anchored by a woman at the time, but also a critical and commercial flop.
It points to the fact that the Fox stable of comic book movies have largely been disliked, with many on Twitter joking that next up for a modern comic book movie cameo could be characters from even less-liked movies.
“2021: tobey maguire and andrew garfield are back as spider-man,” tweeted writer and critic John DeLillo. “2023: michael keaton is back as batman. 2024: hugh jackman is back as wolverine and uh jennifer garner is back as elektra. 2025: idk man. the josh trank fantastic 4 are back? we’re running out of s*** over here.”
Ironically, since 2022 there has been speculation that cast members from 2005’s Fantastic Four – including Jessica Alba’s Invisible Woman and Ioan Gruffudd’s Mr Fantastic – could also appear in Deadpool 3. Fantastic Four was widely condemned by critics at the time, with the consensus on reviews aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes declaring that the movie is “marred by goofy attempts at wit, subpar acting, and bland storytelling”.
Deadpool 3, which also stars The Crown’s Emma Corrin, is currently filming, with photos emerging of Reynolds and Jackman on set. In 2022, many, including director James Mangold, questioned how Wolverine could return despite being killed off in the 2017 film Logan.
Addressing these queries, Reynolds and Jackman shared a video in September of that year, captioning it: “Quick explainer video that tackles… 1) Timeline questions 2) Logan canon 3) MCU FAQ 4) Whether we can do this all day or not.”
However, as they began to break down how Wolverine will make his comeback in the new film, the sound cut out and Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” started to play.
Jackman and Reynolds have long enjoyed mocking one another on social media, with Jackman earlier this year urging the Oscars not to vote for Reynolds or his 2022 Christmas movie Spirited.
“Now, Ryan Reynolds getting a nomination in the Best Song category would make the next year of my life insufferable. I have to spend a year with him shooting Wolverine and Deadpool,” Jackman said. “Trust me, it would be impossible. It would be a problem.”
Deadpool 3 is in cinemas from 3 May, 2024.