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An Annotated Version of Donald Glover’s ‘Deadpool’ Script

Presenting a page-by-page dissection of Glover’s meta (and metaphorical) screenplay for the canceled animated FX-Marvel series

Getty Images/Marvel/Ringer illustration

“For the record: I wasn’t too busy to work on Deadpool.” That was what Donald Glover tweeted early Wednesday morning. Four days earlier, Variety had reported that Glover was parting ways with FX and Marvel TV over “creative differences” on the planned animated series, and that no scripts had yet been delivered, even though the network had targeted a 2018 release date. The announcement sparked speculation over the exact cause of the split, and suspicion that Glover himself, between Atlanta and his film and music work, could not devote enough time to the series. To rebut that theory, Glover proceeded to tweet out an entire script for Deadpool: The Animated Series.

The 15-page script is rife with meta and pop culture references. To fully understand the work, we have annotated each page.

1. “Finale”: The last episode in a TV series (but almost definitely the only script of this series Glover ever wrote).

2. “the rhino”: Here, a stand-in for an animated TV show.

3. “You don’t seem like the animal lover type”: FX and Marvel TV didn’t expect Donald Glover to be interested in creating an animated series about Deadpool.

4. “I’d rip that horn off myself if a poacher paid me enough”: Glover wasn’t necessarily interested in making an animated Deadpool series — he was interested in making a ton of fucking money.

5. “Jeremy Meeks”: Better known as “Felon Bae” or “Hot Convict,” Meeks is an opportunist who parlayed a viral mugshot into a modeling career and romantic relationship with the heiress of Topshop.

6. “Sudan”: Literally the last remaining white rhino in existence, Sudan died on March 20. His sperm was frozen by caretakers in the hopes of using it to save the species

6a. “Sudan”: A stand-in for the Deadpool animated series.

7. “The problem is the poachers”: FX is competing with many other corporations for Glover’s attention.

8. “Sanaa Lathan bit Beyonce’s face”: Glover had to have written this script on Tuesday.

9. “Oh thank God. It was Jennifer Lawrence”: The public prefers comfortable resolutions that maintain their biases.

10. “He continues to scroll and stare at his phone”: The “Who Bit Beyoncé” saga is proof that humans as a species are doomed.

11. “a tunnel”: The Marvel Television offices.

12. “YBN Nahmir”: An Alabama rapper who most white people — and likely all TV executives and prestige journalists — don’t know about.

13. “clout”: A modicum of fame, popularity, and relevance.

14. “clout chasin’”: The transparent act of seeking clout.

15. “‘Chainsmokers’ cool”: Something that is superficially impressive, or just shiny. Ex: the streaming site’s offices in the Atlanta episode “Sportin’ Waves.”

16. “ZACHARIAH MUFAI”: A prominent television executive.

17. “It dropped that much?”: As Glover’s prominence as a creator rises, the value of the rate agreed upon for the Deadpool animated series falls.

18. “can’t you … grab some rhino semen and make some more rhinos?”: Isn’t there an established formula for this animated superhero show?

19. “This feels like a waste of my time”: This was a waste of Donald Glover’s time.

20. “Whatever you’d be doing instead wouldn’t be as significant”: The network doesn’t care about Atlanta.

21. “Fortnite?”: Once again, Glover just wrote this script.

22. “Tekashi69”: Best known for his song “Gummo,” Tekashi 6ix9ine is an up-and-coming rapper who pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct charges in 2015 for the use of a child in a sexual performance.

23. “I’m an AMAZING rapper”: Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, believes that Childish Gambino is an amazing rapper; better than Tekashi 6ix9ine.

24. “Our cultures are very different”: The powers that be do not understand what Glover is attempting to accomplish.

25. “We only need you to follow him until he mates”: The powers that be are not interested in Glover, but in the audience Glover attracts.

26. “It’s just you and me. Should be a fun script”: Things work out when Glover is left alone.

27. “Sudan stops and defecates”: The development process for the Deadpool animated series was not going well.

28. “I got Kings tickets”: Glover has better things to do, and actually likes hockey.

29. “This isn’t worth my time again”: The money is no longer enough to do a Deadpool animated series.

30. “Deadpool pulls out his sword. Alert goes off again”: Heeding Glover’s threat to become a poacher, the network offered him more money.

31. “I’m not mad about this whole ‘cancelled’ thing”: Glover says he doesn’t care about the cancellation of his Deadpool animated series — though just saying that (and by writing an entire script in reference to the incident), it appears evident that he does care.

32. “Maybe they just wanna sell toys”: The superhero movie/TV industry is not interested in the kind of show Glover wanted to make — a common criticism from creatives who clash with executives of blockbuster franchises.

33. “I get that”: Glover understands, but does not like, the business of making television.

34. Entire page: The success of Black Panther refutes the idea that black voices don’t or can’t exist in the superhero genre. But even Black Panther, according to Glover, played by the rules of the genre’s carefully maintained framework. The Deadpool series would not have.

35. “If you have enough data you can predict the future. That’s all that’s left”: Goals determined by algorithms are hampering creativity. See also this recent quote from musician Julian Casablancas: “There are formulas to make the most amount of money out of music and those formulas don’t incorporate the variable for quality.”

36. “Fuck Facebook”: Fuck Facebook. (Also, hint no. 72 that Donald Glover wrote this yesterday.)

37. “Doesn’t Marvel have enough feel-good minority shows everyone supports but doesn’t watch?”: Because Luke Cage exists, shouldn’t Donald Glover be allowed to take a risk?

38. “I guess that place is Freeform”: The Bold Type is good.

39. “Armed guards come from the brush”: There was a hostile takeover of Deadpool.

40. “Y’all Sacramento police?”: On March 18, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot to death by Sacramento police in his backyard; he was unarmed.

41. “one stumbles over to Sudan, and pulls the pin from a grenade”: FX very much wanted to kill the Deadpool animated series.

42. “Deadpool runs over and collapses on the guard/grenade”: Glover is willing to die to protect his vision.

43. “It was me. The whole time”: The network executive is the villain.

44. Zachariah’s admission: Glover is a pawn; his Deadpool animated series was a pawn.

45. Cross-talk: The network executive and Glover must maintain their professional relationship.

46. “they both begin SHOOTING at each other”: Untoward things were said by both parties, both privately and in long features published by The New Yorker.

47. “No more one-liners. They’re awful”: Maybe no one wants and/or needs more Deadpool?

48. “Plus when I hired you Bitcoin was trading at 2 cents a coin”: The plan was always to use Glover as a pawn, but the plan was much more viable when Glover wasn’t in such high demand.

49. “Yeah, it’s been a crazy summer”: Isn’t it amazing how quickly everyone turned and loves Glover now?

50. “Just leave me with the beast and it’s yours”: Just let me retain the rights to a Deadpool animated series and I’ll pay you a ton of money.

51. “something people only cared about after like a million years”: Glover, like the majestic white rhino, was fully appreciated only after a very long time.

52. “his jaw drops”: You can buy pretty much anyone’s compliance with the right amount of zeroes.

53. “The creature actually seems sad”: The project is unsalvageable without Glover.

54. “Sudan is my friend”: As it turns out, Deadpool was more than a paycheck for Glover.

55. “He fires one shot that hits Zachariah … killing him instantly”: Glover’s professional relationship with the executive is, uh, not going well.

56. “It was Sanna Lathan?!”: OK yeah, Glover 100 percent wrote this yesterday.

57. “I made the best parts of Sudan into something I’ll keep forever”: The Deadpool animated series will live on, either as a clone (more on that in a second) or in bits and pieces in Glover’s other work.

58. “seeing-eye dog”: A setup for one more masturbation joke, and also Glover telling FX and Marvel that he’d rather stay home and jerk off all day rather than make their version of Deadpool.

59. “May your clone live on forever”: See? Maybe Glover will make this show at some point after all.

60. “CARD”: Ugh. You get it at this point, right?