How to Break the 4th Wall

Deadpool referencing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Breaking the 4th wall is such an interesting thing that any creative media can do. It’s always added to my enjoyment of something, and one of the best examples of breaking the 4th wall is Deadpool. He has a wide range of breaking the 4th wall, from turning and talking to the camera to referencing other franchises. In both the comics and movies, Deadpool is known for talking to the audience and making it clear that he knows he’s a fictional character. Deadpool may not be the first character to break the 4th wall, but I’d argue that he’s the one of the most famous for it. Deadpool’s brand of breaking the 4th wall is integrated deeply into his character, so much that every piece of media that I’ve seen about him has him doing it. I love how the comic’s 4th wall breaking was effortlessly adapted into movie 4th wall breaking.

Dead Presidents, Vol. 1 (2013) Marvel Comics

I think that there’s so much creative potential for breaking the 4th wall based on the media that the story is presented in. In comics, the characters can use the text boxes, talk to the reader, and change the ways that panels are constructed. In TV shows and movies, the character can also talk to the viewer, but they can mention other aspects like music and they can roll back the The fact that Deadpool acknowledges them and calls them by their colors, which we the reader can see but normal characters wouldn’t be able to see, is very interesting and a fun touch. It’s a nice little hat-tip to the audience when a character breaks the 4th wall, it’s like the character is letting us in on the joke.

Personally, I think that more creative media should utilize breaking the 4th wall. It always makes me happy to see and there are so many ways it can be used. Breaking apart from the standard storytelling methods always makes something stand out, and this would be a fun way to do that.

She-Hulk from She-Hulk TV show

Other recent examples of characters breaking the 4th wall are She-Hulk in the new TV show (and years ago in the comic), where she accesses your Disney+ home page and jumps around to different shows, and the main character in Fleabag, who turns to make little comments to the audience throughout the show, almost continuously breaking the 4th wall.

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