The holiday season is, of course, all about giving. And Deadpool is giving fans a special treat this year by releasing a PG-13 version of the franchise, retelling the story of Deadpool 2 through a slightly less expletive lens, titled Once Upon a Deadpool. And the Once Upon a Deadpool trailer teases the PG-13 movie with a super fun Princess Bride twist. And, yes, that includes an appearance by Fred Savage himself.
Released across Deadpool social media platforms on Nov. 19, the new trailer starts with some holiday cheer and a snowy backdrop (look closely and you'll see Deadpool's face on the flakes). A narrator states, "A good guy in red is coming to theaters." Now at this point, one's first thought might be "Santa!," à la Buddy the Elf. But instead, it cuts to the narrator continuing, "With his new sidekick, Fred." Now, viewers see a distraught Fred Savage glare at Deadpool, demanding to know why he's there.
Deadpool has notoriously been an R-rated franchise, something that Ryan Reynolds, who plays the Merc with a Mouth, had to push for instead of an original PG-13 rating (intended to make it more family-friendly). This time around, as Deadpool explains in the trailer, the film is going to be "filtered through the prism of childlike innocence" to create a new, PG-13 version. And as he goes on, "nobody does childlike innocence like" Fred Savage, who starred as the little boy being read a story in The Princess Bride and became a childhood star thanks to The Wonder Years.
Deadline first reported on Once Upon a Deadpool in early November, announcing that the toned down re-release would be a special Holiday event. Reynolds told Deadline that he was reluctant to partake in such a version, saying, "Fox has been asking for a PG-13 basically since the start in 2006... I've said no since 2006." So what changed his mind? Well, according to the actor, he had two very important conditions: "First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity. Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage. The second condition took some explaining."
This certainly explains Savage's part in all this (sort of), and also makes sense. If you've seen either Deadpool or Deadpool 2, you'll understand right away why it was rated R — it's not exactly an appropriate movie for kids. It's definitely gory, especially vulgar, and cursing is its native language. In an attempt to make the film more kid-friendly, Once Upon a Deadpool will reportedly re-cut the film and include a framing device starring Fred Savage, much like The Princess Bride.
In the trailer, an all-grown-up Savage is held hostage by Deadpool, forced to listen to the new, filtered story of Deadpool 2 (despite him being a grown man, and totally capable of watching the original Deadpool, but that's not important). There's breaking of the fourth wall, there's insults, there's an Up reference, and so much more. It's all you'd want in a Deadpool movie, just without all the R-rated stuff.
The limited-engagement movie, which will be in theaters starting Dec. 12 and ending on Dec. 24, will donate $1 of every ticket sold to the F*ck Cancer campaign, which will also change its name to a PG-13-appropriate monicker, “Fudge Cancer,” for the period of time while the movie is out.
Rewatching Deadpool 2 is going to happen anyway, so why not do it while helping donate to a great cause, and while reliving a childhood classic?