It's no secret how Ryan Reynolds gained the most significant boost of his acting career in 2016's Deadpool. Considering the fact the Canadian actor's leading man status saw more an indication of being box office poison than gold, Reynolds got an unprecedented third chance to lead a comic book film. Following his abysmal turns in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine for 20th Century Fox and 2011's even worse outing in Green Lantern for Warner Bros. In 2014, the perfect storm of opportunity for Reynolds arrived in two developments. First, X-Men: Days of Future Past forever retconned the event of the 2000 X-Men trilogy with Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) time-traveling changes. Second, test footage to see how Deadpool could work as a film was somehow leaked to the public online. The footage saw Reynolds in the costume fans never got to see in the 2009 film in full character faithful to the comic. Directed by Tim Miller, it not only saw the full-comic version of the character realized, but it also showed Reynolds' ability to be a viable action star with his comic chops gloves coming off from PG-13 into R.
The test footage ended up reshot with Fox's allotted budget as the opening scene to Deadpool. Reynolds was able to ultimately be let off the chain creatively as the sharp-tongued wise-cracking crimefighter he was meant to be grossing $783 million worldwide at the box office. The film's success spawned a superior sequel in 2018 with David Leitch taking over directing duties with the film's star with more creative control making $786 million. Of course, the Christmas re-release to show Disney the franchise can work at PG-13 as the rebranded Once Upon a Deadpool didn't hurt either. To commemorate the start of his superstardom, Reynolds re-edited scenes from the 2016 film into a vignette in the style of the revived Netflix series Unsolved Mysteries since the identity of the leaker remains a secret.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 28, 2020