In the 2016 box office smash, Deadpool, Vanessa Carlysle stole Wade Wilson’s heart, and Morena Baccarin, the actress who played her, stole the hearts of viewers everywhere. She may not be the most recognizable face in Hollywood, but she has appeared in various hit shows for almost two decades. And, if you are a fan of sci-fi or fantasy TV, the chances of you coming across a show she has starred in – or at least appeared – are pretty good.
You may feel like you have seen her before, but you just can’t place her. The thing is, Baccarin is a staple of genre television projects, and there is a good reason why Vanessa from Deadpool looks so familiar. Back in 2002, Baccarin played Inara Serra in Joss Whedon’s short-lived but well-loved sci-fi series Firefly. This role helped the actress develop a following in the sci-fi community and it led to her landing the role of Adria in Stargate SG-1 in 2006.
She popped up again as a sci-fi villain three years later in the ABC series, V, the revival of the high-concept hit from the 1980’s. Baccarin played Anna, the queen of an invading alien species, who rocked a sweet pixie cut.
The actress also made appearances on TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, The OC, and Homeland, and then made the jump to movies with roles in Back In The Day and Spy. And just before landing the role in Deadpool, she starred as Dr. Leslie Thompkins in the Fox drama, Gotham.
So, even though you may not have realized it, Baccarin has been on our screens for years, and there are plenty of reasons she is perfect as Deadpool’s girlfriend. But then again, there could be an actress out there that would have been way better.
20 Sci-Fi Cult Queen
Baccarin’s run as Inara Serra in Firefly is probably her most well-known small screen role. Producers cut many of the planned storylines surrounding the character since Fox canceled the show after just 14 episodes, but she was still a fan favorite because of her poise, charisma, and intelligence.
Even though it lasted just one season, Firefly became a cult hit when fans discovered it on streaming devices and DVD. In fact, it gathered such a following years after its cancelation, that it came back for the feature film, Serenity, and Baccarin reprised her role.
Inara had a big part to play in the film, even though she never got to kiss Mal, her longtime flirtation. But the role demonstrated once again just how electric Baccarin can be on screen.
Producers of Stargate SG-1 were such fans of Firefly that they offered Baccarin the part of Adria for five episodes and the movie, Stargate: The Ark of Truth. It was her first outing as a villain, but she would go on to explore that side in roles later in her career. Baccarin relished the chance to be evil, and, despite the fact that Adria didn’t appear for long, it still highlighted her multifaceted talent.
19 Not A Mutant
When Deadpool writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, crafted the relationship between Wade Wilson and Vanessa, they did what they could to stay as close to the source material as possible. But, fans noticed one significant change to Vanessa’s identity – they didn’t reveal her to be a mutant.
In Marvel Comics, fans know Vanessa’s character as Copycat, a mutant with shapeshifting abilities like Mystique. So why did the writers make this alteration? The simple answer is that it just made things too confusing.
Reese and Wernick did consider including Copycat in the script, but they ultimately decided it would be just too much for the audience.
“We did toy with [the idea], you know, but again, there was so much for the audience... We’re introducing a new character to the world, and so we didn’t want to muddy the waters with, ‘Wait a second, she’s also a mutant?’ So hopefully, we’ll see what happens if we’re afforded the opportunity to move forward in this world. It’s something that would probably be worth exploring at some point,” said Reese.
Since Deadpool 2 is on the horizon, Reese’s statement definitely increases fan interest in the next film. We don’t know much about the sequel except that it will feature the bionic arm-sporting, time-traveling mutant, known as Cable. But, could it feature Copycat as well?
18 She Wants Superpowers
It is an understatement to say that Vanessa had a hard time in Deadpool. A mutant sociopath kidnapped and then almost killed her, and she found out that her long-lost boyfriend became a hideously disfigured anti-hero. But, by the end of the film, the character seemed happy when she helped save the day and made amends with Merc With a Mouth.
Now, when it comes to the sequel, Baccarin hopes that fans will get to see the evolution of Copycat and how she becomes a mutant. The actress says that she thinks it would be very interesting to see Vanessa and Wade’s relationship continue after that change.
Her abilities would be a huge asset for Deadpool since he doesn’t exactly blend in well, but fans shouldn’t get too excited about this possibility. Baccarin said last year that she didn’t know if Vanessa will manifest her powers in Deadpool 2.
She says obviously everyone wants to see Copycat, but she has no idea if the writers have that in the works or not. Baccarin may have just been keeping her cards close to the chest, or she may genuinely not have known if Copycat will appear in the sequel. But, with the introduction of Domino, it is more likely that fans will see her manifest her mutant powers in a third Deadpool.
17 There Has To Be Changes
The first Deadpool broke the mold in Hollywood along with any expectations of what a superhero movie could be. And, with the sequel coming out on May 18th, fans are wondering where their favorite characters will go from here.
Vanessa was a tough-as-nails damsel in distress in the original, but things are much different now. Her rescue was a driving force in Deadpool’s narrative, but audiences didn’t get the chance to see her and Wade interact much in the present. And, since there has been so much time and distance between their last relationship and the new one, there are sure to be changes— especially since Wade Wilson is now full-on crazypants.
Part of what makes Deadpool such a popular Marvel character is the fact that he is a certifiably insane anti-hero. In the comics, he breaks the fourth wall and has regular conversations with himself. So, given his psychotic trauma, how is he going to have a healthy relationship with Vanessa?
A lot of it will depend on if and when the writers use Copycat. The sequel already has major shoes to fill with the addition of complicated characters like Cable. So, chances are Vanessa won’t discover her mutant abilities until the end of Deadpool 2 or maybe even as a tease for the third movie.
In the first Deadpool’s post-credits scene, they set up Cable’s introduction. Maybe, they will introduce Copycat in a similar way.
16 Catwoman or Poison Ivy?
While promoting Deadpool 2, Baccarin spoke to the Brazilian website, CinePOP, and they asked her which superhero she would like to play in a movie. The Gotham star actually replied in Portuguese, but thanks to a rough translation from YouTube, fans were able to make out what she said.
She explained that this was a hard question because she identifies more with villains, and then listed the examples of Batman villains, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. There is no shortage of DC-related projects in the works at Warner Bros right now. They all won’t see the light of day, but if just a fraction of them go into production, the studio will have a bunch of roles to cast.
In the next few years, characters in Birds of Prey, The Flash, and The Batman will be up for grabs. The WB has not confirmed their plans, but they do continue to look for Batman’s supporting characters, both friend, and foe, to fill the universe. There are some prominent female characters in that part of the comics world, and if Baccarin is seriously interested in playing Catwoman or Poison Ivy, she might be in luck.
WB is working on several Harley Quinn-related projects that will see Margot Robbie reprise her role. At this point, Birds of Prey is a priority, and there is a strong chance that either Catwoman or Poison Ivy – or maybe even both – will be in the film.
But, even if they don’t join the DC universe in that movie, it could happen in Gotham City Sirens or Suicide Squad 2.
15 The Next James Bond?
Trying to figure out who will succeed Daniel Craig as the next James Bond has become a never-ending international obsession. Fans and critics alike have mentioned everyone from Tom Hardy to Tom Hiddleston to Idris Elba. However, Baccarin thinks that she will have the next license to kill on the big screen.
“I think it’s going to be me,” the actress joked to CinePop. “Of course, I have to be the next one, I have the training.”
There could be some roadblocks for Baccarin when it comes to landing that role, but there have been some rumblings from 007 producers that they could be going in a different direction after Craig exits following Bond 25.
Producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have even said publicly that the next Bond could be a woman, but that move would be controversial to some. The recent casting of Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor on Doctor Who – a famous character portrayed by a man since 1963 – caused quite an uproar.
This kind of progress is usually met with resistance, and the fate of the James Bond character is far from certain. But, now more than ever, there is a real chance that the next Bond will be wearing high heels.
14 Even Better
Deadpool 2 is subversive, funny, profane, and sometimes even serious, and that makes it the best kind of cinematic entertainment. According to critics, it is the kind of film that doesn’t feel too long – despite the nearly two-hour running time – because it is in a state of constant motion. It is the rare action film that you can watch over and over and relish the jokes that you might have missed the first or second time around.
The buzz is that the sequel is even better than the original. And just like the first one, it is the quintessential anti-superhero movie. There is no looming apocalypse or unstoppable supervillain that often makes these kinds of movies super serious and sometimes a little ridiculous. Instead, Deadpool 2’s tone is almost entirely lighthearted, with the occasional foray into poignancy.
This time around, Wade Wilson has made peace with his horrible disfigurement and found love with Vanessa. But, of course, these things are short-lived. Cable, a time-traveling warrior from the future, is the new villain in town, who comes looking for Wade in the “icebox,” a special prison for mutants.
But, he is actually hunting his cellmate, Russell (Julian Dennison), a.k.a. Firefist, who is a plus-size mutant who subverts convention by not fitting the stereotype. Deadpool then assembles a team of mutants – with the hilarious exception of Peter, who has no superpowers – that he calls X-Force. The group prepares for a rescue before facing off against a more ordinary, yet nasty, villain, the headmaster of a reformatory for mutant children – Broadstone House.
Apparently, all the elements come together in a delightful way, and the result is a film that entertains and amuses audiences at a breakneck pace. You also want to make sure to stay in your seat for the closing credits.
13 NYC Premiere
Baccarin hit the red carpet – along with Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin – for the Deadpool 2 premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square this past week, and joining them at the event were co-stars, Zazie Beatz, Brianna Hildebrand, Bill Skarsgard, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Eddie Marsan, and Julian Dennison.
Brolin’s wife, Kathryn, Reynolds' wife, Blake Lively, and Morena’s husband, Ben McKenzie, were also there to show their support for their spouses.
During a red carpet interview, Reynolds said that the success of the first movie was a complete surprise.
“Nobody saw what Deadpool...nobody saw that coming. None of us did. I mean, our highest goal was that the movie makes its money back, and then some idiot at Fox says ‘Hey, why don’t you guys make a sequel someday.’ But, we didn’t expect it to do what it did, and that was crazy. So, to be standing here right now is kind of a pinch-me moment,” revealed Reynolds.
Besides starring in the film, Reynolds also co-wrote and produced the much-anticipated sequel, and that impressed his co-stars. Crews say that Reynolds is “one of the best guys in the world,” and is one of the funniest and most-talented people he has ever worked with.
12 Superhero Diversity
Vans like this were used when I was a kid to publicize things and make announcements. It would go around the city with the driver shouting ads or political messages. And now here we are ❤️😂❤️ (Van translation for those of you who don’t speak Portuguese: “don’t be a fool, go get your tickets.”) #deadpool2
Through the years, fans have witnessed the comic book movie landscape evolve, and Baccarin is happy to see it. During an interview with Variety, the actress answered the question about the increase of diversity in superhero movies by saying that people are ready for a change and to see something that reflects our times a bit more.
She has witnessed the evolution of the superhero genre first hand, considering she has lent her voice talents to animated series like Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and The Flash.
And, with the recent releases of Wonder Woman and Black Panther, plus, the upcoming Captain Marvel, it is safe to say that Baccarin isn’t the only actress who has these beliefs.
Black Panther star, Lupita Nyong’o, said that she grew up in Kenya watching Mexican and Australian soaps, plus, things from America, and she didn’t feel TV was diverse, but just took it in stride. But now, she says what is really exciting is if she can project her humanity onto people who don’t look like her, from cultures that aren’t like hers, there is no reason it shouldn’t be the same in reverse. In other words, the prominence of films like Black Panther means it is entering a more mainstream cultural consciousness.
“Superhero movies are our modern folklore – and folklore is important,” said Nyong’o.
11 Living Up To The Hype
Deadpool was a huge success, and fans are eager to see if the sequel can live up to the hype of its predecessor. There have been some switch-ups behind the scenes, but things seem to be on track for another hit.
Fox took an unusually patient approach to making Deadpool 2. Producers slowly added new cast members, the first being Atlanta’s Zazie Beatz as the mercenary, Domino, who apparently has great chemistry with Ryan Reynolds. But, it did take them a while to find the perfect actor to play Cable. At first, the frontrunner appeared to be Michael Shannon, with Brad Pitt also being in contention. But, the hotly sought-after role eventually went to Josh Brolin.
For many fans, seeing Cable and Domino come to life on the silver screen for the very first time will be just as exciting as Wade Wilson finally getting a proper live-action film. But, the sequel won’t be all new characters, since many of the supporting cast from the first film will be returning. Deadpool 2 will also dive into their histories a bit more, along with their relationships to Deadpool.
Of course, the relationship between Vanessa and Wade is of particular interest. It was a big part of the first film, and even though they had a happy reunion, we haven’t seen what they are like together now that Wade has become the deranged Deadpool.
10 Olivia Munn
Deadpool may have broken box office records and won over critics, but Olivia Munn is glad she turned down the role of Vanessa. She was unsatisfied with the character’s depth and lack of action sequences and didn’t want to play “the girlfriend” role again. Instead, she wanted to fight, to make noise, and to kick butt. And, since there was no fight scene for the character in the first film, she said no to the part.
Instead, she opted to become a superhero herself and took the role of the sword-wielding, Psylocke, in X-Men: Apocalypse.
“I thought Psylocke was always one of the most lethal characters, and I said, ‘Yes, as long as you’re not using her to be the eye candy,” Munn added. “She has really powerful abilities.’ And they said, ‘Yes, that’s an important part.’”
She found what she was looking for in the character of Psylocke, who boasts some of the deadliest skills in the entire X-Men franchise. However, when she first discussed the character’s potential as a centerpiece in the movie’s action sequences with filmmakers, she was worried that they would saddle her with dialogue, but she told executives that “the fight scene could be her monologue.”
9 Taylor Schilling
The Orange is the New Black star was on the shortlist to play Vanessa, but the role eventually went to Baccarin. And now that parole looks to be imminent for Piper in the Netflix dramedy, Schilling decided to trade prison walls for outer space in the new Netflix original sci-fi flick, The Titan, in which she co-stars with Sam Worthington, Ruth Wilson, and Tom Wilkinson.
Schilling explains that the film is set in a dystopian future where the Earth is no longer inhabitable, and they are starting to make modifications to humans, so they can live on other planets.
When it comes to acting in movies like this, she says it is a lot of substitution work and playing a lot of pretend. But, in addition to getting to do the cool sci-fi stuff, Schilling found something in the script that moved her even more – the heart of the story.
She says it is a beautiful, sensitive story of a family trying to stay together while dealing with heartbreak and great loss. Schilling says that it would be an interesting contrast if the director could pull off a sensitive human story in a sci-fi world.
8 Megan Fox
After roles in the Transformer movies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Megan Fox may have been an interesting choice for Vanessa, but she never made it to the shortlist. And that is probably because she has made some less than spectacular career choices in recent years.
You might think that mixing together a gorgeous movie actress like Fox with ancient aliens, Amazons, Atlanteans, and the Travel Channel would be a hit for ratings-hungry TV producers, but Fox’s new project has sparked some backlash from archaeologists.
Mysteries & Myth is a new show that features a wealth of ancient fables, conspiracy theories, and pseudoscientific technobabble, and some are worried that presenting the barrage of fantasy as fact on television is distorting reality.
Fox bills herself as a co-creator, host, and executive producer, but what she isn’t is a historian or archaeologist. However, she feels qualified enough to take on the experts.
“Now, she is embarking on an epic and personal journey across the globe, where archaeologists and experts will re-examine history, asking tough questions and challenging the conventional wisdom that has existed for centuries,” the show’s press release reads. “The series will delve into some of the greatest mysteries of time, including whether Amazon women really existed or if the Trojan War was real.”
7 Margot Robbie
For over a year, a Birds of Prey movie has been the topic of conversation, and now it looks like the DC movie could start production in January with a crew entirely made up of women. Margot Robbie will produce the film under her LuckyChap Entertainment banner and star as Harley Quinn. The film supposedly has two scripts, both including Quinn and Batgirl as main characters, and there could be an appearance from Black Canary, Huntress, Poison Ivy, or Catwoman.
One thing is clear when it comes to this project— the female characters will not be playing second-fiddle to the male heroes and villains of the DC universe.
Robbie says she pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film that included Harley because she thought that the character needed friends. She says that Harley loves interacting with people, so there is no reason to make her do a standalone film. Robbie says that the character has got to be with other people, and it makes the most sense for her to be with a girl gang. And, since the actress wasn’t seeing that kind of thing on screen, especially in the action space, she thought this would be a great idea.
6 Sarah Greene
The Irish actress made the shortlist for the role of Vanessa and was probably the least-known person on it, with her most notable role at the time being a three-episode stint as Judith on the show, Vikings. Greene has a background in theater and received a Tony Award nomination for her role in The Cripple of Inishmaan.
She used to be a constant figure on the stage, but it led to her being broke most of her 20's. But now that she is working on her film and TV career, Greene says she finally has money in the bank at the age of 30.
The Penny Dreadful star explained that she started saying no to theater jobs and making herself available for film and TV because she wanted to challenge herself again, but she didn’t work for months. Greene admits that part of her decision to move on to the small and silver screen was to establish some financial stability.
She says that you spend so long working in theater and it is fantastic, but you get tired of being broke constantly and living week to week.
5 Rebecca Rittenhouse
Rittenhouse was a surprising name on the Vanessa shortlist since she had landed her first big role as Nurse Doblar on the Fox show, Red Band Society. But, ultimately, the Deadpool filmmakers decided to go in a different direction. She then moved on to The Mindy Project and is now set to play a major role in the proposed USA Network's, Suits spinoff.
The network cast her in the Suits season 7 finale, which was also a backdoor pilot for a potential spinoff which would center on Gina Torres’ character, powerhouse lawyer, Jessica Pearson, and set in the world of Chicago politics. Rittenhouse will play Keri Allen, who was born and raised in Chicago and is a driven and ambitious city attorney who is also the unofficial right hand of the mayor.
In the Suits finale, the characters of Harvey Specter, Mike Ross, Louis Litt, Donna Paulsen, and Rachel Zane reunited with their old boss and friend, Pearson, as she adjusted to her new life in Chicago. She must rely on her legal wits and relationships from Pearson Specter Litt to navigate through the unknown dirty world of Chicago politics.
The role comes at a perfect time for Rittenhouse, who played Anna on The Mindy Project, because the show just came to an end after six seasons.
4 Crystal Reed
Reed was another genre favorite who made it to the Vanessa shortlist. She was an alum of the MTV show, Teen Wolf, who played the role of Allison, the main character’s love interest, and she was also an archer who took down bad guys. She also appeared in movies like Skyline, Crush, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
After the filmmakers of Deadpool passed on Reed, she ended up landing the role of Sofia, Carmine Falcone’s daughter, on the Fox TV show, Gotham. The Detroit native says the character is a morally complicated love interest for the show’s hero (Ben McKenzie)
Executive producer, John Stephens, explained the relationship between Sofia and Ben by saying, “We’re going to see Jim, in his quest to save the city, cross different ethical lines than he ever did before. It’s going to bring him to an ethical nadir that we haven’t seen him at, and it’s going to be told through the context of a relationship that he has with Sofia Falcone, the daughter of Don Falcone, who’s played by Crystal Reed this year. And that’s going to be a really compelling and interesting relationship.”
3 Scarlett Johansson
It may be difficult to think of Scarlett Johansson as anyone other than Black Widow from The Avengers, but she could have rocked the role of Vanessa – except for the fact that she and Reynolds are divorced. That may not have been the best dynamic, but there is no doubt that Scar Jo could have brought something special to the screen as Vanessa.
But, she is most certainly an Avenger, and she and four of her co-stars have solidified that bond by getting matching tattoos. Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey, Jr., and Chris Hemsworth all went under the needle with Johansson recently. It looks like Mark Ruffalo was the only one to opt out of the inking process.
The five actors all got a tattoo from the artist, Joshua Lord, with the Avengers symbol along with the number six, to represent the six original stars and their decade-long stint with the popular Marvel franchise.
Renner posted a video of himself getting the tattoo and wrote that Lord was a brave man to allow all of the Avengers the opportunity for the ink. Meanwhile, Evans shared a video of his tattooing process, with Johansson at his side. Downey Jr. revealed that it was Johansson’s idea for the all of them to get the matching tattoo.
2 Jessica De Gouw
De Gouw first popped up in 2012 as Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress on Arrow, but she also starred in the short-lived series, Dracula, as the title character’s primary love interest, Mina Murray. She made the Vanessa shortlist for the first Deadpool movie, but even though she didn’t get the role, De Gouw remained a fan favorite on the CW drama.
She debuted on the show in season one where she served as the love interest and protege of Oliver. Then, she re-appeared in the season two episode, "Birds Of Prey," but shortly after ended up incarcerated, and that was her standing in the show until earlier this year. Apparently, she figured out a way to escape.
When the show returned from its midseason hiatus in January, her cousin Jerry revealed that Helena had “gone underground.” That means that there is potential for a Huntress return, and De Gouw has expressed willingness to come back.
In the meantime, the Australian star, who now lives in Los Angeles, starred in the film, OtherLife, and she says it was the film’s strong female lead that attracted her to the role. In the Australian sci-fi flick, De Gouw plays Ren, the inventor of a new revolutionary drug, who descends into madness.
1 Blake Lively
There is no denying that fans would love to see Reynolds and his wife star in a movie together, and it seems that Blake playing Vanessa would have been a perfect fit. Reynolds says that the Deadpool sequel is really all about love and family, “even though I am still as immature as [...].”
But, jokes aside, the 41-year-old says that his inspiration for writing the script was his wife, Blake Lively, and their two young daughters. “My family is everything to me, and that’s what brought about Deadpool 2,” Reynolds told Vanity Fair at the film’s New York premiere.
He said that he and the other writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, have been friends for ten years, and in that time, they have all started families and grown up a bit. So, they wanted to write that into the story. Reynolds credits his wife of nearly six years for enriching his life and supporting him through the challenging process of bringing Deadpool to life. Studio executives sent him 47 rejection letters before finally giving him the green light for his passion project.
“She’s immeasurably made my life better,” said Reynolds, who walked the red carpet with Lively and posed for an impromptu selfie with her. “She’s my best friend. I absolutely love and respect her. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
References: thewrap.com, express.co.uk, ew.com, people.com, nickiswift.com, thestar.com, cbr.com, cinemablend.com, screenrant.com, looper.com, vulture.com, screencrush.com, dailymail.co.uk, independent.ie