There are two goofy superhero movies that are about to come out, and both are making fun of their more serious genre competitors as part of their marketing campaign. But when Teen Titans Go! To the Movies also pokes fun at Deadpool 2, how will the Merc With a Mouth respond?
The animated TV series, based on the Teen Titans Go! show on Cartoon Network, features Slade as its main villain. Played by Will Arnett, the character was featured in the newest trailer, during which the Teen Titans all confuse him with “Deadpool,” one of many jokes the movie is making about other superhero films.
Ryan Reynolds, who plays Deadpool in the Fox franchise, actually took to YouTube to address this insult.
“Deathstroke/Slade Wilson is nothing like Deadpool/Wade Wilson. Not sure where the confusion comes from,” the actor wrote. As an added bonus, he signed the message “Ryan Gosling,” confusing himself with another Canadian celebrity.
The joke, for those who are unfamiliar with comic book history, is that Deadpool was, in fact, a fairly blatant rip-off of Slade (last name Wilson, who goes by “Deathstroke” in the comics) when he was first created by Rob Liefeld in 1991. Aside from the similar code names, the two wear similar outfits and both are mercenaries with super-agility. Deadpool is a Marvel character; Deathstroke belongs to DC Comics.
Liefeld’s partner, Fabian Nicieza, noticed the similarities and named him “Wade Wilson” as a joke. Over time, he evolved in a very different direction from his DC counterpart. In 1997, Joe Kelly began writing a Deadpool series with artist Ed McGuinness and introduced the character’s bizarre sense of humor and ability to break the fourth wall, essentially making him a parody of characters like Deathstroke (who were common in the 1990s).
That brand of humor has carried over to the movies, and the marketing for Deadpool 2 has not hesitated to joke about other superhero films, including the DC Extended Universe. From Teen Titans Go! To the Movie‘s trailers, such jokes look like a big part of their content, too.
The films are similar, in some ways, but they are directed at very different age groups, and the morally ambiguous Wade, who will spend his movie protecting a child, is quite different from Slade, who will be fighting them.