Let’s be honest: would anyone really expect Deadpool to play by the rules? Deadpool annihilated the box offices this past weekend, raking in over $135 million and surpassing records left and right. The film is also, like many in the comic book-based genre, riddled with Easter eggs and subtle winks and nods for true fans to find. One wink, however, may not be returned; as screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick featured a Marvel-owned character without permission from Marvel Studios or Disney. That could be one big no-no.
This Easter egg was expertly hidden. With a slightly altered name and lack of back story, the end fight scene of the film may have played out without any notice of the connection at all. But the writers confirmed that Wade Wilson’s “old colleague, Bob,” is the one and only Hydra Bob– one of Deadpool’s besties and unofficial sidekick.
Marvel Studios owns the rights to Hydra Bob; not 20th Century Fox, who made Deadpool. So while they didn’t have the legal rights to represent him, Bob was brought in anyways on a technicality. Paul Wernick explains:
“That’s why he’s just called Bob. The hardcore fans will go, ‘Oh my God, is that Hydra Bob?’ but the lawyers at Marvel won’t go, ‘Wait, that’s Hydra Bob, they don’t have the rights to it.’ We did take some liberties. Fox has a list of characters that they own and that we can use, and Simon Kinberg, who is a producer on the project, is the keeper of the X universe. So he was a great source for us in knowing what we can use, how it’s going to play into the larger story, and overall arching stories of the X universe. So between Simon and legal, they kind of guided us to what we can and can’t do or have access to, and then it was up to us to see how we were going to use those characters creatively, once we knew we really did have the rights.”
Bob’s character was the brainchild of Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown, conceived for Marvel Comics in 2007. The movie introduces Bob as one of Ajax’s henchmen. He has a background in special forces and a wife back home like Marvel’s Bob, but there’s no overt mention of Hydra.
As expected, there are some other subtle nudges worth noting in the film. Jeremy the Pizza Delivery Boy’s place of work, Feige’s Famous Pizza, used the namesake of Marvel boss Kevin Feige. A fan theory suggests that the third act of the movie takes place on a decommissioned Helicarrier.
What do you think about Deadpool’s use of Hydra Bob? Was it sneaky in a clever way, or sneaky in a sleazy way?
Deadpool hit theaters February 12, 2016.