Deadpool’s Vanessa almost stole the entire film, which is difficult when you’re up against a fast-talking, mutated and masked Ryan Reynolds. And when she returned for the hit movie’s sequel, what happened to her there left fans horror-struck. But why exactly does the actress who plays Vanessa look so familiar?
Deadpool was arguably the biggest unexpected hit of 2016. Indeed, although the superhero movie was so full of violence, gore and dirty jokes that it was given an R rating, that didn’t seem to put audiences off in the slightest, as the film would go on to earn more than $780 million at the worldwide box office. After such success, a sequel was inevitable.
And all the major cast members returned for the 2018 follow-up – among them Morena Baccarin as Vanessa. Furthermore, as Wade Wilson’s girlfriend, Vanessa is perhaps one of the most important characters of the franchise. So it was all the more shocking for fans when – spoiler alert – she was killed at the beginning of the film, thereby kicking off the rest of the plot.
After learning of her character’s fate, Baccarin confessed to Bustle in May 2018 that she was “bummed” about the decision to kill Vanessa off. However, the actress certainly doesn’t have to worry about her acting career post-Deadpool, as she already possesses quite the long and illustrious résumé. Indeed, if Deadpool viewers recognized Baccarin, it may have been because she’s starred in some of the most beloved TV shows of all time.
The most famous of those shows is probably Joss Whedon’s Firefly, in which Baccarin plays Inara. Sadly, thanks to the show being canceled prematurely, Baccarin never had a chance to act out most of what was planned for her character. But Firefly still had its fair share of fans, and the support for the series even prompted a send-off movie, Serenity.
Unfortunately, Serenity was also a flop; despite considerable critical acclaim, it simply didn’t make enough money. And even the awards the film picked up – including a Hugo – couldn’t save the franchise. The Firefly universe came to a dignified end, then, and its cast headed off to do other things.
After Serenity, for example, Baccarin took on small roles in two big TV shows: The O.C. and How I Met Your Mother. Specifically, she appeared in three episodes of the former and one episode of the latter. And, happily, it was also on The O.C. that Baccarin first met her husband-to-be, Ben McKenzie; the pair got married in 2017.
Later, there were whisperings that Baccarin would play Wonder Woman in a Whedon-produced movie of the famous character, but that never came to fruition. Instead, Baccarin began appearing in another popular sci-fi show, Stargate SG-1. She was offered the role of Adria without an audition, which she put down to the producers having seen Firefly.
Then in 2009 Baccarin won another high-profile role: the alien Anna in a revival of the hit ’80s sci-fi series V. But although she earned two Saturn Award nominations for her performance, V ended up being another TV show that didn’t work out for the actress. The series received low ratings and was canceled after just two seasons.
Still, the success of Homeland seemed to suggest an upturn in Baccarin’s fortunes. Indeed, for her role as Jessica Brody in the gritty drama, the star even picked up a Primetime Emmy nomination. However, real life ended up getting in the way during her time on the show; Baccarin became pregnant before the third season aired and so had to reduce her screen time as a result.
Then, once she left Homeland, Baccarin began acting in movies again. Unfortunately, luck was not on her side when she appeared in the 2014 rom-com Back in the Day. For one, the film received terrible reviews, leading to it scoring a dismal Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 11 per cent. “There are a lot of odious movies yet to come in 2014, no doubt, but they’ll have to work to beat Back in the Day for awfulness,” The New York Times wrote.
That same year, Baccarin filmed the pilot for an ABC medical drama called Warriors. Had the pilot gone to series, it would have been a leading role for her. But, unfortunately, despite the show’s promising premise, it never got picked up; Warriors now exists only as a one-off TV movie.
Luckily for Baccarin, a break was just around the corner. In 2015 she appeared in the comedy Spy alongside Melissa McCarthy, and the film proved to be a huge critical and commercial success. But, although writer Paul Feig has plans for a sequel to the hit flick, Baccarin probably won’t be in it. Why? Well, her character died in that movie, too.
Meanwhile, during the same year in which Spy was released, Baccarin began appearing in the Batman prequel series Gotham. She played Dr. Leslie Thompkins as a recurring character for the first season, with her character being bumped up to a series regular from season two. Gotham was renewed for a fifth and last season in 2018.
Still, it may seem as if Baccarin hasn’t had that much luck in the acting world, despite her Emmy nomination. Some of her TV shows have ended up being canceled prematurely, after all, and several of her movies have flopped to boot. However, the star certainly doesn’t see things that way; by contrast, she thinks that she’s been incredibly lucky.
For a start, Baccarin has still got a huge cult following from Firefly, despite the fact that the show was canceled over a decade ago now. “I’m always amazed… It’s been a long time ago and there’s no new material, and yet Firefly seems to dominate the sci-fi conversation. I think that’s great,” the actress told Showbiz Junkies in 2015.
And even though Vanessa was killed in Deadpool 2, Baccarin is okay with it. “I think what’s great about [Deadpool 2] is that it goes to all these places that people don’t dare to usually,” she told Bustle. “To strip away the love interest immediately upon them being together is so devastating, and it’s kind of the only way to give [Wade] such a genuine arc in the movie.”
Baccarin added, “So I’m glad that they were so bold – and also equally as glad that there’s a way out.” Yep, it turns out that Vanessa might not actually be dead after all. You see, in the post-credits scene of Deadpool 2, the titular hero goes back in time and prevents the bullet that kills Vanessa from ever hitting her.
So, perhaps Deadpool 3 will have a happy ending after all. “I want to see what kind of super-baby these guys are gonna make,” Baccarin told Bustle. “In the next one, it would be fun to jump back into the craziness.” And seeing as it’s Deadpool, just about anything could happen.
For now, though, the Deadpool franchise has made Baccarin even more recognizable. Even bigger things might be on the horizon, too; the star has said that she dreams of playing the Batman character Catwoman one day. But in the meantime, she’s seemingly happy being a wife, a mom and a beloved icon of sci-fi television.