Zachary Levi Wanted To Play Deadpool For Years

Shazam star Zachary Levi reveals he dreamed of playing Deadpool for years before Ryan Reynolds would ultimately be cast as the Merc with a Mouth.

Shazam star Zachary Levi reveals he dreamed of playing Deadpool for years before Ryan Reynolds would ultimately be cast as the Merc with a Mouth. Originally created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, Deadpool made his comic book debut in The New Mutants No. 98 as a supervillain before later evolving into his iconic antihero persona and becoming well-loved by fans for his irreverent sense of humor and fourth-wall breaks. Reynolds initially brought Wade Wilson to life on screen for the first time in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, though following the film’s poor reception and years of lobbying would get a second chance at a proper solo film in 2016, which launched the acclaimed Deadpool film franchise.

After starring in a supporting role on the hit ABC sitcom Less Than Perfect, Levi would rise to stardom with his lead role in the NBC action-comedy series Chuck as the titular computer service expert who finds himself embedded with a storage of all of the CIA and NSA’s database and must use his skills to thwart assassins and international terrorists. Following his acclaimed role in Disney’s Tangled, Levi would join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Fandral in Thor: The Dark World, taking over the part from Josh Dallas due to scheduling conflicts, which ironically forced Levi to miss out on the part for the first Thor. However, this would be short-lived as Fandral was swiftly offed in Thor: Ragnarok and Levi would bring his talents to the DC Extended Universe for Shazam!, which received rave reviews from critics and currently has a sequel in the works.

While attending this year’s DragonCon (via Koimoi), Levi revealed that before he was cast in the DCEU, he had always dreamed of bringing Deadpool to life on the screen. Admitting some jealousy for Reynolds landing the part, the Shazam star expressed his admiration for the Golden Globe nominee’s work as Deadpool thus far and teased another Marvel role he would be interested in tackling. See what Levi had to say below:

“For years I’ve wanted to be Deadpool. I was so jealous that Ryan… he rocked that… when you see somebody do something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time, and they do it great, you’re like ‘kudos, rock ‘n roll.’ Reed Richards would be kind of fun. But to be truthful, I don’t even really allow myself to go down those roads because I’m so good. I’m so set. The fact that I even get to be Captain Marvel/Shazam!/Billy Batson, it’s such a fun dream role. And it’s got so much different DNA than almost every other superhero."

Given Levi didn’t offer an exact timeline of when his desire to take on the role of Deadpool, it’s hard to exactly compare how the star would have done in comparison to Reynolds. Though X-Men Origins: Wolverine was not the best indicator of Reynolds’ potential in the role, it did show a mishandling of the character that few actors could have saved unless they truly cared for the source material. Levi certainly has the charisma to carry a superhero role, as evidenced by his titular turn in Shazam!, but Reynolds proved before he even made his debut as Wilson/Deadpool that he had the right balance of manic energy and knowing pointed humor to bring the character to life.

While Reynolds may be preparing his triumphant return as Deadpool for the MCU, it is interesting to see Levi cite Reed Richards, better known as the Fantastic Four’s Mr. Fantastic, as a point of curiosity for him. As evidenced by Gemma Chan’s return in Eternals, the door is always open for an actor to return in a different part if the filmmakers and Marvel Studios believe them to be right for the part and Levi can certainly tap into his Chuck persona to portray the best Mr. Fantastic to date. Only time will tell who Marvel ultimately chooses for the Fantastic Four film, be it Levi, the fan-favorite John Krasinski or a lesser-known star.