It was confirmed early in production that Deadpool would feature the titular character breaking the fourth wall from time to time, and this fact has since been corroborated by trailers as well as numerous promotional materials. While fans of the Merc with a Mouth are quite familiar with this particular idiosyncrasy, director Tim Miller has taken care not to go overboard. According to Miller:
“Deadpool breaks the fourth wall. Wade Wilson never does.”
Since the trailers appear to take mercenary Wade Wilson’s personal life somewhat seriously, this may have been a conscious decision to ensure that moviegoers will still be able to experience some emotional depth as Wilson struggles with cancer and makes the decision to undergo a painful series of experiments that turn him into Deadpool. But there’s actually more to it than that.
As Miller sees it, Deadpool’s tendency to break the fourth wall is actually on par with a superpower. This being the case, the wall will remain steadily intact until after Deadpool receives his powers. It appears from Miller’s statements as if breaking the fourth wall will be more than a running joke, and actually an integral part of the character’s development.
“Does he know he’s a comic book character in a comic book movie? Does he know that Ryan Reynolds is playing him, and that Ryan Reynolds also played Green Lantern? It’s a big rabbit hole, and we explore it pretty deep.”
It’s odd that he brings up Green Lantern, a film which Wilson does in fact mention in the trailers prior to receiving his powers. This appears to go against the rule laid out above. At the same time, it’s entirely possible that this is simply a joke shot specifically for the trailers. A great deal of promotional material to date has included original footage, while other scenes appear to have numerous improvised takes. This could be one such scene.
In any case, comic fans who have followed the recent Howard the Duck stories are quite familiar with Gwenpool and her bizarre origin story. She’s a prime example of a character whose fourth wall deficiency is actually glued to her backstory, and proof that an engaging character can be given a bizarre quirk without sacrificing canonicity. A similar approach might be taken in Deadpool, albeit with a much less insane backstory.
Whatever his reasons for doing so, the Merc will be breaking down walls in your local theater on February 12.