We all know that Deadpool is notorious for breaking the fourth wall and that he knows he is in a comic book (or video game for that matter), but was it always like this?

Did Deadpool gain this power or was he breaking the fourth wall before becoming the merc with the mouth?

The answer can be from any storyline or from any writer.

  • Him being Wade Wilson isn't even solid canon; he may have always been the merc with a mouth, only sans the merc profession -- you know, insane. Different writers seem to handle him differently.
    – user40790
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 16:41
  • @Axelrod really? Isn't the movie coming out in February based on his origin story? Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 16:49
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    Are you asking if he has always been written to as being aware, or if the character in-universe, has always been aware? Deadpool, as a character, didn't always break the fourth wall. When he first showed up in New Mutants, he was just a sarcastic merc. It wasn't until later that they started doing the fourth wall breaking. I'm not sure if it was retconned to being something he did earlier in life though.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 16:50
  • @phantom42 I'm asking for the character in universe. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 16:51
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    No, it was addressed. The answer is just different depending on which writer you are asking about. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 17:42

3 Answers 3


The trailer for the new Deadpool movie appears to have Wade Wilson, prior to becoming Deadpool, break the 4th wall. In it, Wade is being taken to his "procedure" on a gurney when he says, "And please don't make the super suit green. Or animated!" The "Or animated!" portion seems to clearly break the 4th wall, as it makes it a clear reference to Ryan Reynolds's previous work in Green Lantern, while making pretty much no sense to the other characters in-universe.

  • 2
    Provided that wasn't just a gag made specifically for the trailer and the scene is actually in the movie.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 19:56
  • @BMWurm: I considered it. If the movie comes out and the line isn't in it, I'll certain edit or delete this. At the very least, I'd expect the community to respond appropriately. But until it does, this seems pretty credible.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 19:57
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    It is, hence +1. :D
    – BMWurm
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 20:05
  • I like this! This does show that the Wade Wilson of this universe is breaking the fourth wall. I just wish we had an explanation as to WHY he breaks it. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 20:53
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    @Schullz: He may have been engaged in a, err, "conversation" with the "doctors", but the line about the animated suit was clearly for the benefit of the audience. Wikipedia: "Speaking directly to, otherwise acknowledging or doing something to the audience through this imaginary wall – or, in film, television, and video games, through a camera – is known as 'breaking the fourth wall'." The animated suit line acknowledges that the audience is most likely familiar with his work as Green Lantern, which Reynolds himself rated poorly.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 16:55

According to his entry in Wikipedia, Deadpool's first appearance ever was in comics, in 1991:

Created by artist/writer Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool made his first appearance in the pages of The New Mutants #98 cover dated February 1991.

But breaking the fourth wall did not happen for most of that decade:

In 1997, Deadpool was given his own ongoing title, initially written by Joe Kelly (...) Reportedly Kelly introduced the fourth wall breaking gimmick.

So for the first six years of publication, he could only break up to the third wall.

Just as a curiosity, crossing the info from Wikipedia with the info on this CBR article indicates that the first time Deadpool broke the 4th wall was in the last panel of this page in Deadpool #0:

A comig page from Deadpool #0 Source: the same link as above, https://www.cbr.com/deadpool-fourth-wall-breaking-villain/

Deadpool first appearance in videogames was in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, from 2005. He had long been an expert in 4th wall demolitions by then and does break the 4th all in this game. In fact this is the media where he goes the farthest through 4th walls; in at least one game (Marvel vs. Capcom 3) he will go as far as grabbing his own life bar and wielding it as a blunt weapon against his opponents.

And then there are the Fox movies. He was not breaking any 4th walls in 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but when he did get his own movie in 2016 his previous Hollywood incarnation got retconned into not being the official one. In the 2016 movie, he is never seen breaking the 4th wall in the flashbacks of his life before getting his mutation activated - so it seems like an acquired power.

Las but not least: he was never the first Marvel character to blatantly break the 4th wall. She-Hulk had been doing it since 1989, but she never got as much love as Deadpool. I remember other characters doing it too, but this is all I can find a reference for right now.

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    One of the stingers to X-Men Origins: Wolverine had his decapitated head wink to the camera, so there was a little fourth-wall breaking.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 19:12

While others may vary, id say most likely not. The green lantern reference in the movie was a reference FOR the audience, but plenty of previous movies have had easter eggs.

They also had a line about ryan reynolds (and his "superior acting talent" and good looks), which would denote that deadpool takes place in a universe where the merc has a celebrity unaffiliated with the actor portraying him in our world. That is to say, deadpool is aware he's in a movie (and thus most likely knows he has an actor portraying him), and he acknowledges ryan as an actor in HIS world, even if he is (or isnt) aware of ryan playing him in ours. Ergo, we could assume that deadpool was referencing the in-universe green lantern movie.

Sorry for the roundabout answer, but my take is basically: no. The line about ryan and the green super suit are just easter eggs. Before his cancer cure (in the movie), he wasnt aware of the 4th wall. Or at least, he didnt show it. So we could assume that the healing factor that cured his cancer also "cured" his lack of self-awareness, allowing him to look directly at the camera, as he is known to do.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. You seem to be arguing against the premise of the question solely on the basis of the movie, but the question covers the comics as well. So even if Deadpool didn't break the 4th wall in the movie, it's fairly well documented that he does (currently) in the comics. So when did he start?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 19:06
  • We also know that Ryan Reynolds exists in-universe because of one of the time-travel tricks Deadpool does in Deadpool 2 where he meets Ryan Reynolds. Briefly. Violently.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 19:13

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