How ‘Deadpool’ Features An Ultra-Subtle Copyright Violation (Almost)

02.17.16 2 years ago 10 Comments
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One of the more deviously entertaining aspects of the breakout smash Deadpool is the unhinged mercenary’s constant taunts toward the studio system that made the movie possible. The credits openly dump on all parties involved, the script works in a few jokes about the film as a planned three-quadrant tentpole, and Tim Miller’s film exhibits an overall contempt for studio architecture at large. At one point, Deadpool cracks a joke about Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead only appearing in the film because 20th Century Fox lost the rights to all the good X-Men to Marvel Studios. But CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg has now noted another elbow to the ribs of Marvel Studios, this one so subtle that it’s impossible to notice without a little background on copyright particulars.

Deep in a climactic fight, Deadpool prepares to kill a man who he then recognizes as his old pal Bob from Jacksonville, and the two stop for a moment to reminisce about their good times at the town’s T.G.I. Friday’s. Comics diehards may have recognized that this appearance was intended as a cameo from HYDRA Bob, Deadpool’s constant nemesis in his source material, but there’s a little more to it than that. Miller wanted to incorporate a nod to Deadpool’s least-extraordinary foe. (Bob’s powers in the comics are listed as “I don’t know, just some guy.”) But the rights to the international fictitious terrorist group HYDRA belong to Marvel, which makes Bob their property, as well. Miller devised a workaround that’s a little ingenious in its simplicity: No way Marvel had the copyright to the name “Bob,” so as long as the film didn’t explicitly spell out that the character worked for HYDRA, he’d probably be in the clear. As co-writer/producer Paul Wernick explained it to CinemaBlend, the filmmakers realized that fans would pick up on the allusion, but the Marvel legal team most likely would not. As punk-ass rule-flouting moves go, this one’s pretty minor, but a fun factoid’s a fun factoid.

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