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Ryan Reynolds tackles 'Deadpool 2' fridging controversy, calls it 'fair'

Will Lerner
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Deadpool 2 has been one of 2018’s big successes, ranking as one of the top-grossing films worldwide and earning kudos from fans and critics alike. The sequel also made much-needed progress in the world of superhero films with a same-sex relationship with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). The film even gave a nod to those with vitiligo via the design of Zazie Beetz’s Domino character.

Yet, there was an element to the story that many perceived as problematic — the continued fridging of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Fridging is a term used to describe the death, maiming, abuse, or general endangerment of a protagonist’s loved one as a means to advance the plot or give an element of drama to the typically male hero’s backstory.

The original Deadpool’s plot was propelled by the kidnapping of Vanessa by the villainous Ajax. The sequel furthered the trend by having her killed by nondescript bad guys; additionally, new hero Cable’s wife and child met their ends at the ends of an evil Firefist in the future. The trope did not go unremarked by commentators.

When Yahoo Entertainment sat down with the cast, writers, and director of Deadpool 2 at the San Diego Comic-Con, we asked star Ryan Reynolds if he felt that criticism was fair.

Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Wade (Ryan Reynolds) embrace moments before her untimely end in Deadpool 2. (Photo: FOX)

“I think it’s fair,” Reynolds replied. “To be honest, [the feedback is] where I learned about it. But I think it is fair. One of the things [we considered when] we were coming up with the storyline for [Deadpool 2] was ‘How do we take everything away from this guy?’

“The only thing he really has is her, so it was tough,” Reynolds continued. “And she’s certainly a through line throughout the movie, but I don’t think that really necessarily excuses that. You always want to push forward and really make sure that your characters are front and center and really have strong interior lives and pushing the A plot forward too. I think it was fair.”

It should be noted that a late film sequence indicates that Vanessa will survive in a future installment, due to Deadpool’s time-travel trickery. Reynolds did have one idea how to avert further controversy. When we asked Zazie Beetz about the idea of a Domino-led spinoff film, Reynolds suggested, “You should fridge Deadpool.”

Deadpool 2 and the Super Duper $@%!#& Cut premiere on Digital August 7 and 4k Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD August 21.

Watch: The writers and director of Deadpool 2 discuss breaking ground for LGBTQ+ relationships:

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