Shawn Levy revealed in a first-person essay for Esquire magazine how he worked a huge “Star Wars” homage into “Deadpool 3,” which was well into filming when production shut down amid the SAG-AFTRA strike. The director said watching “Return of the Jedi” in a packed theater inspired him to recreate one of the film’s most definitive scenes in the upcoming “Deadpool” sequel.
“I vividly remember the scene in which Luke is hiding from Vader in the Emperor’s room and Vader gives the speech that ends with ‘If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps your sister will,'” Levy said. “It was dead quiet [in the theater]. Pin-drop silence. Suddenly Vader has pushed the wrong button. Luke comes screaming out of the shadows and just goes to town in a light saber battle against Vader. The way that felt: The forty seconds of stillness from the audience, then the spectacle and emotion, is seared not just in my eyeballs but in my heart.”
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“That’s the essence of the blockbuster,” Levy continued. “When the tone is singular, when the themes are resonant, when the experience is connective, when the audience is reminded that the world is far bigger than ourselves, it creates a forever memory. I think that’s beautiful.”
Levy is hoping “Deadpool 3” connects with audiences in the same way. The film is Ryan Reynolds’ official introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it pairs him with the highly-anticipated return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
“I’m now making ‘Deadpool 3,’ the production of which was paused because of the actors’ strike,” Levy said. “For one key scene in the movie, I said to my stunt and action team, ‘Guys, this is the Jedi moment.’ I pulled up that scene of Vader and Luke on my phone and restudied how it was photographed, how it was blocked, the framing, the tempo. The keen ‘Star Wars’ fan will see the shot in my ‘Deadpool’ movie that was inspired by a moment that I saw in a theater decades ago. That’s a forever memory. And that’s a treasure.”
Production on “Deadpool 3” will continue once the SAG-AFTRA strike is resolved. While the film has had a May 3, 2024 release date, that opening and a potential delay will depend on the strike ending. The fusion of “Star Wars” and “Deadpool 3” is notable for Levy as he’s also attached to direct a new “Star Wars” movie for Lucasfilm.
“When Kathy Kennedy brought me on board to make a ‘Star Wars’ movie, her central mandate to me was ‘I want a Shawn Levy movie. I want a story and a tone that reflects you and your taste and what you bring to your movies — with a Star Wars story,'” Levy recently told Variety. “So I have felt extremely empowered. We are in early days, unfortunately, because the development process was abruptly paused [due to the WGA strike], but I feel very empowered to trust my instincts in the development of this story and movie.”
Levy added, “The experience that I’m currently having with Marvel on ‘Deadpool’ is showing me firsthand that it is indeed really possible to feel empowered and personal about making a movie within a universe that is bigger than any one film. My ‘Deadpool’ movie is turning out to be exactly what Ryan [Reynolds] and I had hoped when we started off. So I’m going into the development of my “Star Wars” movie with a similar optimism, and faith that my instincts will be allowed to lead the way.”
Head over to Esquire’s website to read Levy’s essay in its entirety.
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