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Why Was Donald Glover’s Deadpool Show Canceled?


Why Was Donald Glover’s Deadpool Show Canceled?


Summary

  • Glover and FXX’s Deadpool animated series was axed due to creative differences; unfinished episode features a meta take on the cancellation.
  • Despite the cancellation, hope remains for an animated Deadpool project as co-creator Liefeld hints at a future comeback.
  • Reynolds could potentially resurrect the project with sway in Hollywood and fans eagerly anticipate Deadpool’s return in some form.



As Deadpool & Wolverine fast approaches its July 2024 release date, it’s hard not to wonder what happened to the unmade Deadpool: The Animated Series. Created by siblings Donald and Stephen Glover, the anticipated cartoon spin-off was ordered straight to series in 2017, with 10 episodes slated to air on FXX in 2018. Given Glover’s relationship with FX on the hit sitcom Atlanta, the network seemed ideal for Deadpool’s colorful comedy.


Alas, Deadpool: The Animated Series never came to fruition after much planning and test footage, leaving many to wonder what transpired behind the scenes of the ill-fated TV show. Now that six years have passed, more information regarding FX’s decision to nix the show has been revealed. More tantalizing yet, one year after the show’s demise, Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld claimed that a Deadpool cartoon was coming sooner than later. Here’s everything to know about why Donald Glover’s vision of Deadpool: The Animated Series was stopped in its tracks and what looms for the show in the future.


What Was Deadpool: The Animated Series About?


Based on the success of Marvel Television and FX’s joint production of the live-action superhero series Legion, the two companies reunited for Deadpool: The Animated Series in 2017. According to THR, Marvel Television executives were high on the network’s popular series Archer and actively sought to produce more adult-driven animated content for FX’s sister channel FXX.

Given the network’s working relationship with Donald Glover for the acclaimed FX original series, Atlanta, the multi-talented artist and his younger brother Stephen Glover were hired to write, exec-produce, and oversee Deadpool: The Animated Series as the showrunners. With Glover’s connection to Marvel after starring in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the match seemed perfect for all parties.

As soon as Glover’s involvement was made public, enthusiasm for the project increased dramatically among fans and media members. Donald and Stephen had already been working on story ideas in the writer’s room when the announcement was made. A writer’s room was formed in London to accommodate Donald Glover’s filming schedule for Solo: A Star Wars Story. From the outset, the Glovers intended to create a distinctly unique voice for Deadpool that veered away from what fans were used to in the movies.


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Development of Deadpool: The Animated Series

Whether writing Deadpool while filming Solo distracted Glover’s attention is unclear. What is clear is that Glover attributed the difference in Deadpool’s tone of voice to the artistic division between an animated TV show and a live-action movie. Glover also wanted to reflect his unique worldview through Deadpool’s eyes. Glover told Pop Culture that, unlike Atlanta and Solo, he felt no pressure writing for the Deadpool character because he is “very aware of himself.” Staff writer Stefani Robinson told Comic Book that the intention was to avoid the image of Deadpool presented in the movies and focus more on “an angle that was very true to us and made sense to us” from the original comic books.


Adding to the fan enthusiasm for the animated spin-off, Glover’s Atlanta co-star Zazie Beetz was cast as Domino in Deadpool 2 around the time of the animated series announcement. Beetz expressed her desire to reprise the role of Domino in the animated series if the character was written into the script. As animators began preliminary work on the project, a teaser clip of the series was presented at the Television Critics Association in mid-2017. Unfortunately, the teaser clip remains the only lasting vestige of the ill-fated series.

Why Was Deadpool: The Animated Series Canceled?


One of the most common death knells in Hollywood, Deadpool: The Animated Series was ultimately canceled in March 2018 due to creative differences. Although FXX actively approached Glover to shepherd the adult TV animation, the network did not see eye to eye with Glover’s creative vision. Following a public statement that FX, Marvel TV, and the Glovers had parted ways, rumors about Donald’s busy schedule as the reason for the cancelation began to swirl. Within a week, Glover pushed back and released a 15-page script titled “Finale” and posted it to his Twitter account.

While the “Finale” script was deleted from his account, the story involved Deadpool traveling to Kenya to protect the famous real-life Rhinoceros named Sudan. The script was posted shortly after Sudan’s death and featured Deadpool’s meta-ideas about why the Deadpool: The Animated Series was canceled before it saw the light of day. Through Deadpool, Glover expresses his misgivings about the networks’ willingness to try something new, only to balk and back out when something new is delivered. At one point in “Finale,” Deadpool decries:


“It just feels like everyone wants something different, but no one wants to do anything different to get it. Doesn’t Marvel have enough feel-good minority shows everyone supports but doesn’t watch? I mean, I think our show woulda been funny. I just wanted a place to be honest. And I guess that place is Freeform.”

Beyond the half-serious implication that FX canceled the series due to an all-Black writer’s room penning jokes about a white superhero, Glover teased a potential episode featuring pop superstar and surprise movie fan Taylor Swift that Stephen Glover confirmed was “hilarious.” In August 2018, FX Chair John Landgraf was asked why the show was abruptly canceled, to the shocking dismay of fans. Landgraf told Deadline:

“Marvel controls the IP and the decisions around the IP. It was their decision not to go forward with Donald and Stephen’s version. I personally liked it.”


Landgraf also expressed that, if Marvel continued with the show, FX would have happily supported Donald and Stephen Glover’s creative vision. Landgraf also expressed that Marvel TV would continue to pursue a Deadpool: The Animated Series but “would hire someone else to do a different show.”

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What Lies Ahead for Deadpool: The Animated Series?

Although Deadpool: The Animated Series was canceled over creative differences, Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld isn’t giving up hope. In May 2019, Liefled assured fans that an animated Deadpool project was still in development. According to Liefeld’s Twitter (X) account:


“I know a
Deadpool
cartoon is coming. Sooner than later. I live in Southern California, so I know things given the proximity to Hollywood. I have no idea if it’s any good or which version of Deadpool it portrays.”

Despite the lack of character and story details, it appears as if Deadpool: The Animated Series may have some life left after all. Of course, it’s been almost five years since Liefeld made the Twitter post, and not much has been divulged since then. If anyone has the clout to resurrect the project, it’s movie star Ryan Reynolds. Following the show’s cancelation in 2018, Reynolds publicly grieved the show’s demise and called Glover a “genius” (via The New York Times).

With Deadpool & Wolverine set to battle Marvel villains on the big screen in July 2024, perhaps newfangled interest in a Deadpool: The Animated Series will result and Reynolds will use his sway to make the project.



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