Donald Glover’s Deadpool Script Takes Down Racism, Police Violence, Gossip & More
Donald Glover co-created the most-watched comedy on FX during its 23 years as a network. In addition to Atlanta, which is currently in the midst of broadcasting its second season, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning Glover (and his TV partner/brother Stephen) were working on an animated Deadpool series for the FX company (reportedly planned to air on the FXX subsidiary). It was a partnership between the Glovers, the network, and Marvel, which owns the comic-comedy Deadpool and is responsible for its 2016 film, starring Ryan Reynolds.
Donald and Stephen had signed on as executive producers, show-runners, and writers for Deadpool. Over the weekend, that news changed. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that the partnership had dissolved. “Due to creative differences, FX, Donald Glover, Stephen Glover and Marvel Television have agreed to part ways on Marvel’s Deadpool animated series,” FX said in a statement, reported at THR.
While that press release cited “creative differences,” Variety speculated that Donald Glover’s commitments might have been the issue. “Deadpool may have been a casualty of Donald Glover’s packed schedule,” penned TV Managing Editor Cynthia Littleton.
Donald Glover has now responded in a big way. Early this morning (March 28), the artist also known as Childish Gambino tweeted, “For the record: I wasn’t too busy to work on Deadpool.” Then, one of the most in-demand talents in media at the moment shared 14 pages of script (posted in sequence, in full below), as a satirical response to why the show was cancelled.
The script is titled “Deadpool: The Animated Series – ‘The Finale’.” Within the excerpts are highly-topical references to items including Tiffany Haddish’s recent report to GQ of an unnamed actress biting Beyoncé, the Sacramento Police Department killing of unarmed Black man Stephon Clark, and allegations of rapper Tekashi69 engaging in sexual relations with a minor.
However, more than just current events satire, Glover uses his script to address the three-day-old news of the Deadpool cancellation. While the 2016 film used humor and pop culture references to break some convention in Marvel films, Glover writes the “Deadpool” character as aware of the TV industry shuffle.
“You know, I’m not mad about this whole ‘cancelled’ thing,” says “Deadpool” on Page 7 of Glover’s tweeted script sampling. “I mean, is it even a good time to have a violent, gun loving white man ranting on TV? Other than the PRESIDENT?” The award-winning writer, director, and actor later uses the title character to ask a powerful question. “Do you think they canceled the show… cause of racism?! … Yeah, but all the writers were black. And the references were pretty black too. … Maybe we were alienating our white audience? No. We did a whole goat yoga episode. Damn.”
In 2016, Deadpool film test footage, starring Ryan Reynolds leaked online. “Just a little over two years ago it leaked accidentally on the internet,” Reynolds said to Jimmy Fallon in ’16, noting that such an act could be deemed illegal. “I’m 70% sure it wasn’t me.” Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld noted the leak as an impetus in the film’s subsequent production. “I had meetings on the Fox lot that following week [after the footage leaked], and that Deadpool footage was all the buzz. It had an impact. You could see it and feel it in the executive suites. It was palatable,” he told Cinema Blend that year.
Last month, Donald Glover opened up to The New Yorker‘s Tad Friend about the complicated creative relationship he’s encountered with FX since Atlanta began development. “I knew what FX wanted from me. They were thinking it’d be me and Craig Robinson horse-tailing around, and it’ll be kind of like Community, and it’ll be on for a long time,” he said. “I was Trojan-horsing FX. If I told them what I really wanted to do [creatively], it wouldn’t have gotten made.” That article reports that Atlanta‘s viewership is approximately 50% Black as compared to a 20% audience for ABC’s Black-ish. During the feature, Donald recalled FX executives disputing his writing a white character on Atlanta using the N-word. The co-creator explained, “I’m Black, making a very Black show, and they’re telling me I can’t use the N-word! Only in a world run by white people would that happen.” The feature reports that white FX executive Paul Simms was the one who subsequently advocated on behalf of the dialogue’s authenticity, and gained network approval for it to stay in the Atlanta script.
As one of TV, film, and music’s most exciting and proven forces loses an opportunity (for now, anyway), he does not go quietly. Donald Glover uses his creativity to raise new questions on an old system.
#BonusBeat: Donald Glover’s 15 page Deadpool: The Animated Series script:
DEADPOOL: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Written by Donald Glover
EXT. KENYAN SAVANNAH – DAY
DEADPOOL is asleep in a jeep that’s driving down a dirt road. He is sitting next to an african woman who looks in her late 30s, ESIANKIKI. Dead pool suddenly wakes up screaming.
Deadpool: DON’T LET BEN CARSON OPERATE ON ME!
Where the hell am I?
Esiankiki: You’re in Kenya. I picked you up from the airport. You were very drunk when I arrived. Security helped me carry you to the car.
Deadpool: Doesn’t sound like me. And it takes a lot to get me drunk.
Esiankiki: You were passed out. In an empty Duty Free.
Deadpool: (remembering) Oh yeah. You guys are the one’s with the rhino?
Esiankiki: Yes. I’m Esiankiki Jepkosgei.
Deadpool: Esia…Esian-kiki? You know what? I’m gonna call you, “The Greek Freak”
Esiankiki frowns. Doesn’t seem cool. Deadpool ignores it.
Deadpool (cont’d): Yeah…so ya’ll payin’ me in Bitcoin. I’m surprised. You’re the first to agree to do that.
Esiankiki: Whatever it takes. We’re suprised you took the job, actually. You don’t seem like the animal lover type.
Deadpool: Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d rip that horn off myself if a poacher paid me enough. I’m Jeremy Meeks when it comes to that bag.
But I also love everything rhino, ya know? I used to wear a ton of Ecko back in the day. I was a huge G-Unit gan. Had the whole fit. I still got some shirts.
Deadpool (cont’d): You want some Ecko shirts?
Deadpool: Yeah. Me neither.
So where’s this big grey nutsack-skin covered unicorn?
Esiankiki: We’re hiding Sudan right now. He’s very weak. We’ve been doing all we can, but if he stays in captivity, he will die. The problem is the poachers. They’re everywhere and they’ve been waiting for–
Deadpool: OH MY GOD!
Esiankiki: You see one?!
Deadpool: Sanaa Lathan bit Beyonce’s face! (scrolls) Wait. (relieved) Oh thank God. It was Jennifer Lawrence. I already hate her. It’s fine.
He continues to scroll and stare at his phone. Esiankiki keeps driving awkwardly. He looks for a moment, then he goes back to scrolling.
Deadpool (cont’d): (not looking up) It’s an addiction. So if it seems like I’m not paying attention to you, it’s…cause I agree the…what’d you say?
EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE – DAY
The jeep pulls through brush and into a clearing. There are twenty armed guards in uniform blocking a tunnel opening. They let the jeep pass through and they park in the tunnel. The jeep is blasting “Rubbin Off the Paint” by YBN Nahmir as they pull in.
Esiankiki: (trying to be polite) That song was…interesting.
Deadpool: Yeah, that’s my shit really. Him and Rich the Kid is all I really listen to lately…Rich the Kid not as much tho. He be clout chasin’. (lookin around) Wow. This is cool. Well, not actual cool. But like “Vegas” cool. “Chainsmokers” cool.
Esiankiki: Who are you talking to?
Deadpool: (aggressive) The people watchin– (sadly corrects himself) The people reading this.
Zachariah (off screen): You made it.
Zachariah Mufai walks over.
Zachariah (cont’d): Hello, I’m Zachariah. Sudan’s keeper. We really appreciate you doing this.
Deadpool: Don’t thank me. Thank the seven hundred Bitcoins you’re paying me– (he looks at his phone) Oh my god. It dropped that much?
I went from Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean to…Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride.
Deadpool pinches the bridge of his nose in frustration.
Deadpool (cont’d): Where’s this fuckin’ rhino?
INT. MOUNTAIN TUNNEL – DAY
A large rhino stands eating by a rock wall. Deadpool, Esiankiki, and Zachariah walk up to him.
Zachariah: This is Sudan. The last male northern white rhino on the Earth.
Deadpool: (waves) Hi.
Esiankiki: When he dies. A piece of us dies as well.
Deadpool: Pieces of me die all the time. It’s fine. Also can’t you guys just grab some rhino semen and make more rhinos.
Zachariah: We’d prefer to do it naturally. But in case something does happen to him in the wild, we did have semen samples taken.
Deadpool: So this isn’t even really the last male rhino? Ya’ll can Jurassic Park this shit whenever you want? This feels like a waste of my time.
Esiankiki: I assure you it isn’t. Whatever you’d be doing instead wouldn’t be as significant.
Deadpool: I’d be jackin’ llama’s from eleven year olds.
Zachariah and Esiankiki stare: “What?”
Deadpool (cont’d): Fortnite? Hello?
Oh! “Jackin’ llama’s from eleven year olds” sounds awful. That’s not what I’m sayin’. I’m not Tekashi69. (clarifying) I’m an amazing rapper.
Zachariah and Esiankiki are still confused.
Deadpool (cont’d): Wow. Nothing’s landing. Our cultures are very different. We have so much to teach each other.
EXT. AFRICAN SAVANNAH – DAY
A large flatbed releases Sudan out into the open the armed guards rally around and make sure he’s safe. Esiankiki and Zachariah wave from the jeep.
Zachariah: Be careful. We only need you to follow him until he mates. Then you can collect your price.
Deadpool: I gotta follow him until he mates?! Man, fuck this job. This ain’t worth it. (phone alert) Bitcoin status alert. (checks) Holy Jeff Bezos! (sincere to Zachariah) I will protect him with my life.
EXT. AFRICAN SAVANNAH – LATER
Zachariah, Esiankiki, and the armed guards drive away.
Deadpool: So. I guess it’s just you an me. Should be a fun script.
Sudan just stands there chewing.
Oh I see. This is gonna be a “Castaway”, “Wilson” relationship where I just talk to myself through you the whole time? Cause to be honest, it was feeling like an “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” ripoff. Which I was really excited about.
Deadpool (cont’d): What’s the wifi?
EXT. AFRICAN SAVANNAH – LATER
Deadpool and Sudan are walking through the brush.
Deadpool: It is very hot. Like damn.
Sudan keeps walking.
Deadpool (cont’d): You’re gonna love me by the way. I’m an amusing and charismatic wingman if I’m telling the truth.
Sudan says nothing. Obviously.
Deadpool (cont’d): I don’t know why I’m here either! I think the writer’s just mad. Or bored. We’ll find out I guess. Together.
Sudan stops and defecates.
Deadpool (cont’d): Good call.
Deadpool stands still for six seconds.
Deadpool (cont’d): Most people don’t think I wear a diaper under here. Probably cause I don’t.
Deadpool (cont’d): Listen, can you find a female in like, the next fifteen minutes? I got Kings tickets.
Sudan just stares far off. Deadpool’s Bitcoin alert goes off. He checks.
Deadpool (cont’d): Jesus. This isn’t worth my time again. (alert goes off again) JE-SUS! I’ma need that horn, bruh.
Deadpool pulls out his sword. Alert goes off again.
Deadpool (cont’d): Oh wow!
You wanna go to a Kings game with me?
INT. AFRICAN SAVANNAH – DAY
Sudan is chewing on grass. Deadpool is sitting against a tree.
Deadpool: You know, I’m not mad about this whole “cancelled” thing. I actually think it’s a good thing. I mean, is it even a good time to have a violent, gun loving white man ranting on TV? (hard sell) Other than the PRESIDENT!
Sudan continues chewing.
Deadpool (cont’d): If this was “Last Week Tonight”, people woulda laughed. (thinks better of it) Woulda clapped.
Sudan turns and scratches a tree w/ his horn.
Deadpool (cont’d): I mean, I get it. Maybe they just wanna sell toys. And this style of comedy isn’t it. It’s more “ha-ha, but I’m mad”. I get that.
Sudan shakes. Then continues eating grass.
Deadpool (cont’d): Do you think they cancelled the show…cause of racism?!
Sudan continues eating the grass.
Deadpool (cont’d): Yeah, but all the writers were black. And the references were pretty black too. I heard they went over the lunch budget ordering Jamaican food at least once a week.
Deadpool (cont’d): You’re right. Black Panther.
Maybe we were alienating our white audience?
No. We did a whole goat yoga episode. Damn. What was it?
Deadpool (cont’d): Noooooo. The Taylor Swift episode? Nah. No. They had to have loved that script.
Sudan walks away.
Deadpool (cont’d): Are you fucking kidding me?
Deadpool gets up and chases him.
Deadpool (cont’d): That episode’s hilarious!
Sudan doesn’t look. He just keeps walking.
Deadpool (cont’d): What? The Marvel stuff I said in it? All I said was Marvel was trying to sell toys to seven year old boys and fifty year old pedophiles. That’s just funny. They’re cool. They get it.
Sudan just keeps walking.
Deadpool (cont’d): Oh now I’m the asshole? That’s fine, Sudan.
Sudan stops and bites a bush of colorful flowers.
Deadpool (cont’d): What do I want?! I want to know why. I want the real story. If you have enough data in you, you can predict the future. That’s all that’s left. Google, Amazon, Facebook.
Deadpool (cont’d): Yeah. Fuck Facebook. Kick ‘em while they’re down.
It just feels like everyone wants something different, but no one want to do anything different to get it. Doesn’t Marvel have enough feel-good minority shows everyone supports but doesn’t watch? I mean, I think our show woulda been funny. I just wanted a place to be honest. (tearing up) And I guess that place is Freeform.
Sudan stares at him for a moment. Then walks off. Deadpool follows.
EXT. AFRICAN SAVANNAH – LATER
They come to a clearing. The sun is setting in front of them. It’s very beautiful. The orange and browns blend together. This should be drawn super well. It’s a really beautiful place and it gives the sense of solace we’re all looking for.
Deadpool: Wow. This is really beautiful. I really needed a quiet moment.
They sit silent for a moment. It is a moment of true peace.
Deadpool (cont’d): You know what? You’re all right. For a virgin.
Deadpool (cont’d): (Bitcoin alert goes off) Oooh!
Deadpool pulls out his phone. Suddently, Deadpool is SPLATTERED with bullets. About twenty gunshots go off from an automatic. Deadpool turns around and Armed guards comes from the brush.
Deadpool (cont’d): Fuck! Ya’ll Sacramento police?
The armed guards look at each other. Deadpool pulls out his own guns.
Deadpool (cont’d): HA! Just kidding! I’ve actually got guns! You should’ve killed me when you had the chance like the NYPD!
He flips into the air and sprays back at the guards. They are both shot multiple times, but one stumbles over to Sudan, and pulls the pin from a grenade that strapped to his vest as he collapses.
Deadpool (cont’d): (gasp) My Bitcoins!
Deadpool runs over and collapses on the guard/grenade. It EXPLODES. Deadpool’s entire abdomen BURSTS out his back. Black bile sprays everywhere.
Deadpool (cont’d): Is that blood? Or did I eat beets?
CLAPPING comes from the bush. Zachariah walks out with more armed guards.
Zachariah (off screen): It was me. The whole time.
Deadpool: What? What are you talking about?
Zachariah: I’m the one selling the rhino ivory.
Deadpool is confused. And still bleeding. You can see his intestines falling out of him as he gets up and walks to Zachariah.
Deadpool: What the hell are you talking about?
Zachariah: Didn’t you see all the clues I left? I’m the villain.
Deadpool stares at him.
Zachariah (cont’d): I own the last two female rhinos? I’m using the sperm, impregnating, and making more rhinos to sell the ivory at a price I dictate?
Deadpool: Dude, I’m sorry. I’ve been on my own journey. I didn’t see any clues.
Zachariah: I left them everywhere.
An awkward beat. [At the same time]
Zachariah: I’m sorry. I should’ve been more clear. I just assumed you were looking for who’s killing them. I…I didn’t plan this. My apologies.
Deadpool (cont’d): All good. Nah, it’s all good. I should’ve been looking. It was classic “When Nature Calls”, it’s my bad. All good.
They stand for a moment. Sudddenly, they both begin SHOOTING at each other.
Deadpool flips over Zachariah and shoots four armed guards. Deadpool rushes another guard and slices him in half with his Katana swords.
Deadpool (cont’d): Sorry you had to split.
Two more guards shoot at Deadpool. He hops toward them while dodging bullets. He cuts the guards up with his swords again.
Deadpool (cont’d): I see you’re dancing. But can I cut in?
A guard runs at Deadpool screaming with a hunting knife in his hand. Deadpool takes a stab to the chest but counters with a jumping swipe that cuts the guard from groin to head.
Deadpool (cont’d): Save me a slice.
One last guard appears with a rocket launcher. Before he can get his shot off Deadpool throws his sword and decapitates the guard. The rocket flies vertically into the sky.
Deadpool (cont’d): White guys give the best…head?
Zachariah (off screen): No. Please. No more.
Deadpool turns to find Zachariah standing near Sudan.
Zachariah (cont’d): No more one-liners. They’re awful.
Deadpool: Why would you even hire me for this if you were the bad guy? Why pay me to protect this dinosaur?
Zachariah: I needed a fall guy. A patsy. Plus when I hired you Bitcoin was trading at 2 cents a coin.
Deadpool: (laughs) Yeah, it’s been a crazy summer.
Zachariah: Listen. I’ll pay you a hundred-thousand cash right now. Just leave me with the beast and it’s yours.
Deadpool: No way. I’ve grown to love the little guy. Because in a way he reminds me of me. Ugly. And something people only cared about after like a million years.
Deadpool’s Bitcoin alert goes off. He looks at his phone and then his jaw drops.
Deadpool (cont’d): Really!?! I shoulda went Litecoin like that fucking Reddit nerd told me. (to Zachariah) Rhino’s all yours pal.
Deadpool begins to walk away as Sudan groans in the background. The creature actually seems sad. Deadpool’s Bitcoin alert goes off again. He checks it.
Deadpool (cont’d): (excited) Yes! I knew I’d be rich! Bitcoin is the future!
Deadpool turns to Zachariah.
Deadpool (cont’d): Sorry but I don’t need your money. And Sudan is my friend.
Zachariah furrows his brow in anger. He quickly draws his gun but Deadpool draws his faster. He fires one shot that hits Zachariah right between the eyes, killing him instantly.
Deadpool (cont’d): (to camera) Take notes teachers of America. Someday you’ll have to make a high pressure shot like that. (to Sudan) Let’s go home Sudan.
The two walk off into the sunset. It’s beautiful and everything feels right. In the distance we hear Deadpool’s Bitcoin alert go off.
Deadpool (cont’d): What the Fuck!!
It was Sanaa Lathan?!
INT. DEADPOOL’S HOUSE – DAY
Deadpool is on his couch drinking a cup of tea. He’s wearing a Rhino skin coat with the head as a hood. There’s a dog on a leash by him. Two movers are bringing in a piano.
Deadpool: (to movers) Yeah, right there is fine.
The movers place the piano and leave. BLIND AL walks in.
Blind Al: Wow. You really are a cold son of bitch huh?
Deadpool: No! I made the best parts of Sudan into something I’ll keep forever.
Deadpool pulls out two ivory handled pistols.
Deadpool (cont’d): See.
The dog barks at Al.
Blind Al: What’s the dog for?
Deadpool: Oh it’s a seeing-eye dog. I’m drinking this Rhino-horn-powder-tea and I should have a pretty intense erection for 6 hours. I figured I should be prepared for the worst.
Blind Al: I see. Well what about me?
Deadpool: I saved you some in the pot, calm down.
Blind excitedly runs to the kitchen to get her tea. Deadpool sits alone and toasts his tea cup in the air.
Deadpool (cont’d): This is for you Sudan. May your clone live on forever.
CARD: In loving memory of Sudan, the last male white Rhino.
This is as posted online March 28.