There isn’t a ton of action anywhere in Hollywood right now due to the pandemic. But even if coronavirus magically went away tomorrow, Marvel would still not have a Deadpool movie among the group of projects it was actively developing for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first two Deadpools made a combined $1.5 billion worldwide, making it among the most successful properties that Disney acquired in its purchase of 20th Century Fox. But here we sit in 2020, and there’s no Deadpool 3 on the immediate — or even distant — horizon.

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Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld made some waves this week when he commented on the lack of momentum behind a second Deadpool sequel, and then further clarified his words at io9. Liefeld says that to the best of his knowledge (and he would know) there is “no movement on a Deadpool 3” at Marvel right now. He’s not worried that it won’t happen at all; he’s more frustrated that it’s not happening in a timely fashion. As he put it:

Regardless of whatever inside perspective I may have, what I do know is that until a movie is put on a schedule, it’s not taken seriously. And what people don’t like is that I have assessed the schedule for the next, give or take, five years and I don’t see Deadpool on it. [So] I don’t see that it can arrive earlier than that.

To date, Marvel has made no announcements of any mutant-centric movies or television shows in Phase Four of the MCU, which is currently scheduled to get underway in November with Black Widow. Marvel even announced a Blade movie that would presumably get a slot at the tail end of all the Phase Four MCU stuff — it still doesn’t have an official release date — at Comic-Con 2019. Yet there’s zero public talk about Deadpool 3. 

Marvel could be waiting for the final Fox X-Men movie, The New Mutants, to finally come and go before it begins announcing its own X-films. (New Mutants is now scheduled for a late August release.) Or they could be skittish about making an R-rated superhero movie (or facing a backlash if they tone down Deadpool’s vulgar antics). Or it could just be that Marvel plans its cinematic universe way in advance, years or maybe even decades into the future. And on that scale, they only just reacquired the X-Men, which now goes to the back of the lineup of stuff they already had cooking. So maybe Deadpool 3 is more of a Phase Five thing.

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