You'd be forgiven if you're a little confused over just what the new movie Once Upon a Deadpool is. Is it a sequel to Deadpool 2, that just came out earlier this year? Or is it simply a new cut of Deadpool 2 that's been edited to make it PG-13? And if that's the case, then why is it getting a theatrical release? And what does that have to do with Christmas? And how did Fred Savage get wrapped up in all this? There are a lot of questions surrounding how Once Upon a Deadpool is different from Deadpool 2, so here are the answers you seek.
At first glance, Once Upon a Deadpool, which comes out on Dec. 12, appears to be a toned down version of Deadpool 2 — and that's mostly what it is. The movie has been edited and recut to tell the same basic story, but in a way that is more palatable for family viewing and without the swearing, violence, and nudity that are found throughout the film's R-rated version. The reason for doing this was twofold: First, it allows younger people who are fans of Deadpool to see a version of Deadpool 2 in theaters, which allows for more merchandising opportunities. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly for studio Fox, the edited version may finally open the film up to a release in China's lucrative — but censored — market, according to Deadline. But it's not all a cynical cash grab; there's also some holiday cheer behind the decision, as $1 of every one of the film's tickets sold will be donated to the charity F*ck Cancer, at star Ryan Reynolds' request.
As stated previously, the new movie pretty much tells the same story as Deadpool 2, but it's not exactly the same. The new version features 20 minutes of completely new footage, and since Deadpool 2 is a two hour movie, that means that about one-sixth of Once Upon a Deadpool hasn't been seen before. That new footage comes mostly via the film's framing device, which is borrowed from the classic 1980s comedy The Princess Bride. In that film, a grandfather (Peter Falk) reads a story to his sick grandson (Fred Savage), but leaves out the inappropriate parts. In Once Upon a Deadpool, it's Deadpool who's reading the story of Deadpool 2 while editing out the inappropriate parts — though he's still reading it to a now adult Fred Savage, whom he has kidnapped, tied up, and placed in a carbon copy of the bedroom from The Princess Bride.
That's pretty much all you need to know about Once Upon a Deadpool. It's a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 told using the framing device from The Princess Bride and featuring 20 minutes of new footage. Oh, and then there's the whole Christmas angle. Basically, it looks like the film is set around Christmastime, as there are some makeshift Christmas decorations around the bedroom they're in, which makes sense given its Christmas release. Outside of that, though, and maybe a few Christmas jokes, don't expect an outright holiday movie since this film is still mostly Deadpool 2 — just a version that's appropriate for both Santa and his elves.