It’ll be a while until the next new Deadpool movie comes out. But for now, fans can enjoy a special version of Deadpool 2, just in time for the holidays: Once Upon a Deadpool, which comes out Dec. 12. This one is a PG-13 version that cuts out everything that garnered the original an R rating. But there's more to it than that. The new cut puts a fresh spin on the movie, including an homage to a 1987 classic family film. Once Upon A Deadpool features references to The Princess Bride, with Fred Savage reprising his role as the unnamed grandson. The framing device is that Deadpool decides that to make this a more kid-friendly version of his story, he needs to kidnap Savage and tell him a new bedtime story. According to Fred Savage, Ryan Reynolds is the one to credit for him reprising one of his famous childhood role.
“I got a phone call from Ryan, and he said he had this idea for how to make Deadpool 2 a PG-13 movie, and next thing I knew I was on set,” explains Savage over the phone. “It just kind of sprang from his mind and it sounded like something that could be interesting.”
Princess Bride has often been referenced in TV shows and movies, from How I Met Your Mother, to Shrek 2. The Goldbergs even recreated the iconic sword fight in 2015. But this was the first time that Savage himself has reprised his role, stepping into a recreation of the set and even donning a replica of his pajamas from the movie. “Stepping on set was surreal. The art department did an incredible job recreating that stage, that set,” recalls Savage. “It’s the smallest details. People online are starting to do split screens of the sets, they just did an incredible job.”
The Deadpool movies include plenty of meta gags, so it makes sense that for this one, Savage plays himself being forced into becoming this childhood character. But of course, it's not a straightforward portrayal. Once Upon A Deadpool features a much edgier, sassier version his Princess Bride character, who gives Deadpool a lot of grief along the way. Savage assures that their conversation is all scripted, but he does get in plenty of great zingers, including, “You’re Marvel licensed by Fox. It’s like if the Beatles were produced by Nickelback.”
Unfortunately, Savage says that there won’t be any other Princess Bride Easter eggs in the movie but promises that there will be plenty of non-related ones that fans can still look forward to.
“They pepper the film with a lot of things that you will only find after your third or fourth or fifth viewing,” explains the actor.
Making an appearance in a superhero movie sounds like a dream come true, but Savage insists that his favorite part of the experience was “the end, when he let me go. For sure.”
And if you go to theaters to see Once Upon a Deadpool, part of your ticket will actually go to a great cause. Deadline reported back in November that for every ticket sold, $1 will go to F*ck Cancer campaign, which, to fit with this version’s rating, is being temporarily renamed as “Fudge Cancer.” Reynolds clearly knows that the best way to drive viewers to watch a new version of a movie they’ve already seen is by hitting them with nostalgia — and of course, kidnapping a beloved former child star.