You may have seen Donald Glover’s 15-page script for an “Deadpool” episode titled “Finale,” which he posted to Twitter Wednesday — but did you read it? If you didn’t, then you might think it was a cheeky script leak, the sort we’ve seen before when discussing the merc with a mouth.
That’s because we wouldn’t be talking about “Deadpool” in the context of film and television if there hadn’t been a previous rogue move made by someone (most likely rumored to be Tim Miller, who ended up directing the first “Deadpool” film) to leak a film test featuring Ryan Reynolds in character, talking directly to camera (even saying “Hi, Tom,” a reference to former Fox CEO Tom Rothman). While it’s never been confirmed that Miller leaked the footage, the way an early scene of the “Deadpool” film is almost a carbon copy of the scene below indicates that
But Glover’s “Finale” script is not a similar move. While right at the start, it feels like the beginning of a truly fun episode of animated television, the pages actually devolve into some real talk about what Marvel was expecting from the show — and what Glover was not interested in providing.
Not to mention:
As well as:
Glover has since deleted his tweets, but the Internet never forgets, and at least one outlet still has the complete script online. In addition, deleted tweets from Stephen Glover, as archived by The Wrap, confirm that there was a Taylor Swift-focused episode (that apparently was “the last straw,” presumably for Marvel).
Glover’s script is actually a deftly clever piece of writing, given how it does still deliver something resembling a feasible episode of television, while also critiquing the powers that wouldn’t ever let it exist.
Because by the way, the most baller element of all of this is how Glover framed this as a counterargument to the point that he might have been too busy to make “Deadpool” happen — the amount of very recent pop culture references buried in these pages make it clear that he wrote this in a matter of days (if not less), and it reads as a solid first draft of a TV episode (once you get past the parts where Deadpool is actively questioning whether or not Marvel is racist).
Glover (who, let’s remember, won two Emmys in 2017 for directing and starring in “Atlanta,” but also was a writer on three seasons of “30 Rock”) didn’t just write a thinly veiled “fuck you” to Marvel, he went to the trouble of constructing a real plotline for an episode of television.
Of course, it’s an episode we’ll never get to see in any form. In fact, the entire animated “Deadpool” project seems like something that the corporate entities involved would be happy to scrub from the face of the earth, which is a tragedy that extends beyond this one show to the increased consolidation of all our favorite franchises.
The character of Deadpool has always been one of Marvel’s cheekiest entities, one whose fourth-wall-breaking tendencies have offered an interesting edge to the superhero-packed film world. There’s no doubt that the upcoming film “Deadpool 2” will feature plenty of similar rule-breaking, but the fact that we now know Marvel has limits is a painful reminder that even the properties that seemingly have the most leeway to rebel still have limits.
Donald and Stephen Glover had clearly aimed to challenge the status quo with their take on “Deadpool,” and the fact that it didn’t fly with Marvel is worth noting. Millions may turn out for “Avengers: Infinity War,” but on a critical level, Marvel is at its best when it’s at its edgiest, such as the fascinating series “Legion” and Oscar-nominated film “Logan.”
In a time of over-saturation when it comes to not just superhero stories, but media in general, bold moves are the best way to keep people engaged. The first “Deadpool” film was a great example of that — but sometimes a mega-corporation has a hard time learning these sorts of lessons.