Deadpool had a long road to production — following the disappointing version of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds became devoted to giving the Merc With a Mouth the big screen treatment he deserves, but it wasn’t easy. With the help and persistence of director Tim Miller and writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, Deadpool is finally hitting theaters next February, but it’s taken a lot of work — and some special help — to get it there.

In a new interview with Collider, Wernick and Reese discussed the difficulties in getting Deadpool off the ground. Following the massive success of Marvel’s The Avengers, the duo thought they might have an easier time getting a green light, but they were wrong. Reese explains:

One of the lowest moments was when we turned in the script on the day The Avengers came out, a Friday, and The Avengers made what, over 200 and some million dollars opening weekend? And we thought for sure, ‘How do you read this script as an executive on that particular weekend and not greenlight this Monday morning?’ and instead we got the word on Monday morning that Fox was gonna kind of rethink, given the success of The Avengers, rethinkDeadpool possibly within the context of an ensemble as opposed to by himself, and we just went, ‘Ugh!’ so that was a low moment.

The pair persisted and continued to contact studio executives and producers until they found the right group:

It’s funny, greenlight decisions come down to people, people make the decision, obviously. But maybe not so obviously in the sense that you need that right combination of people, and it wasn’t until we had Jim Gianopulos, Stacy Snider, Emma Watts, and Simon Kinberg, that group of people, to come together and say, ‘Ok, now’s the time.” And we’re really lucky in that retrospect that I didn’t get made in a previous iteration because it might have been PG-13, or an executive who was doing it maybe because they thought the market was didn’t really get it.

Wernick and Reese also had some help from some heavy-hitters — James Cameron and David Fincher:

We had some angels on our shoulder too, this movie had some very quiet unsung heroes. One of them was Jim Cameron, who’s a friend of Tim Miller, and read the script at a key moment a few years back. He said he would read it and we were like, [Sarcastically] ‘Oh yeah, he will read it.’ And literally he read it that night and got back to us the next morning.

…he went to Jim Gianopulos and he got it on the radar in a really big way. David Fincher was another guy who was a big help for us, he’s also a friend of Tim’s, and he loved the script and he pushed forward with the executives at certain key moments. Having guys like Fincher and Cameron pushing certainly didn’t hurt and we very well might not be sitting here if it hadn’t been for those two guys.

They say it’s all about who you know, and for Deadpool, that’s not entirely true — the “leaked” test reel from last year definitely proved that fans were clamoring for a proper Deadpool movie, but having guys like Fincher and Cameron supporting the project certainly didn’t hurt.

Deadpool hits theaters on February 12, 2016.