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Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool scores 2016 release

Ryan Reynolds has been tipped to reprise his X-Men mutant character Deadpool in a long-delayed spin-off movie after studio bosses set a 2016 release for the highly-anticipated film.

The actor portrayed the comic book killer, aka Wade Wilson, in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but plans to shoot a stand-alone film for Deadpool stalled amid fears the script was too dark and violent for Hollywood executives.

Reynolds previously commented, "I love Deadpool and there is a script that's in development. But it's so, so far into the R-rated zone... it's a nearly NC-17 world and I just don't know if the studio would ever risk their reputation doing it."

Old test footage of Reynolds as Deadpool leaked online this summer (14) and garnered positive reviews from fans, and the response appears to have convinced Fox chiefs to finally move forward with the project, setting a February, 2016 release date.

Reynolds has yet to officially sign on for the project, but he is expected to return for Deadpool, which will be directed by Tim Miller in his feature film debut.

Reynolds is no stranger to the comic book world - he previously portrayed Green Lantern in the 2011 box office flop, opposite his now-wife Blake Lively.

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