Donald Glover is already producing one hit show for FX, Atlanta, and last year he and his brother, Stephen Glover, signed on to expand their television empire by producing an animated Deadpool series for FX’s comedy wing, FXX. It was to be something like Archer but for Marvel, and went straight to series with a ten-episode order. But over the weekend it was announced that Glover, FX, and Marvel TV parted ways, leaving a potential animated Deadpool series the sole concern of Marvel TV. They cited “creative differences”, naturally, and FX reassured anyone who cares that they will continue to make the X-Men series Legion. That’s that, right? Well, no. Because Donald Glover took to Twitter early this morning, tweeting out a mock script that references everything from the death of Sudan, the last male white rhino, to #WhoBitBeyonce, and teasing some possibilities for why Animated Deadpool got canned.
for the record: i wasnt too busy to work on deadpool.— donald (@donaldglover) March 28, 2018
There’s a lot to unpack in Glover’s be-scripted take down of what happened. First thing is I don’t believe this is any part of an actual episode that would have existed if the show got made. A lot of people seem to be taking this as a real script, it’s clearly not. Animation moves too slowly for so many current references (unless you’re South Park and committed to both an insane production schedule and a flat, simplistic animation style), and besides, actual scripts would be protected by legal clauses. I think this is an off-the-cuff expression of Glover’s frustration and disappointment, which comes out sharpest in the line:
“It just feels like everyone wants something different, but no one wants to do anything different to get it.”
He also takes it to Marvel:
“What? The Marvel stuff I said in it? All I said was Marvel was trying to sell toys to 7-year-old boys and 50-year-old pedophiles.”
And to FX:
“…I think our show woulda been funny. I just wanted a place to be honest. And I guess that place is Freeform.”
(Freeform will premiere Cloak and Dagger this summer, but they dumped a New Warriors series.) So maybe it really was creative differences. Maybe Marvel and FX just didn’t like Glover’s take on the character, which Glover pondered could be “too black”, and his implication that his tone clashed with the kind of people out to sell toys is hardly surprising.
Or maybe this really isn’t just about Glover. Marvel overlord Disney has a lot going on right now. They’re planning to launch their own streaming service to compete with Netflix, and right now no one is entirely sure how that will affect the various Marvel TV shows spread across different networks. And then there is the ongoing Disney/Fox merger, which will bring FX under the Disney network. When I read about Glover’s Deadpool series getting axed, I thought, Oh, FX is cutting their losses before Disney does it for them. How an R-rated character like Deadpool is going to fit under the Disney umbrella is a huge question mark (see also: toy sales), so I just assumed FX didn’t want the headache of launching a new series only to see Disney shut it down because it doesn’t fit into their brand.
So maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe things weren’t 100% copacetic between Glover, Marvel, and FX, and maybe FX decided it wasn’t worth the headache, especially with so many unanswered questions regarding Disney’s plans for Fox properties after the merger. It’s hard to imagine FX quitting on Glover because they’re so supportive of Atlanta, but with all these other factors in play, it’s less about him and more about not taking on more than can be managed on the eve of a management change, especially since Glover and Marvel are not the most obvious creative partners. It just sounds like a mess all the way around, and Donald Glover got caught in the middle.