So, Deadpool 2 — pretty darn good, right? But don’t worry, if you’ve yet to check out the return for Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth, fear not, for this article is pretty much spoiler free. So don't worry, there’s no particular plot points or twists and turns revealed here. We’re good like that.
Having blown everyone away with Deadpool back in 2016, it was a no-brainer to bring Chiyonosake back for a second outing. And this time around, he’s joined by a few friends. For this follow-up, the ante has been upped in terms of scale, scope, blood, guts, laughs, cries, and, of course, budget — with the sequel being afforded a $110 million budget in comparison to the $58 million budget of that first movie.
While Deadpool may have been viewed as a risky move from 20th Century Fox — a risk that paid off massively — the sequel was a much safer option for the studio and the names who were maybe weighing up a role in Deadpool 2. As such, that meant that some pretty major names were up for roles in the sequel, and that’s where we’re going to focus our attention here. What we have ahead for you are fifteen names who were at one point in the frame for a role in the Deadpool franchise, be that the original or its follow-up.
15 Pierce Brosnan got fans excited
If it seems that a lot of this article is dominated by Cable, that’s because it is. That character is a pretty major deal in the world of Marvel Comics, and the role was a seen as a hot, hot ticket in Hollywood circles once it was revealed that the character was on the way for Deadpool 2. As such, there were a whole host of major names — most of whom are featured in this piece — who were circling the part, being suggested for the part, or outright tested for the part. And one of those was none other than former 007, Pierce Brosnan. Sadly, in the case of James Bond star Brosnan, it appears that he was never officially in the running for the Cable role. Instead, it was more a case of 2 + 2 =1487 from fans.
What set tongues a-wagging was the above picture showing Brosnan posing with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman. Instantly, fans jumped to the major conclusion that Brosnan was to be involved in a Marvel-based movie alongside the Deadpool and Wolverine stars. Of course, what better role for the former Bond than that of time-travelling, metal-armed badass Cable, right? Well, apart from the fact that that was something that was never particularly on the table. Unfortunately, that was all merely fan speculation and misjudged rumor.
14 Daniel Cudmore Was Offered The Chance To Return As Colossus
One of the most impressive parts of Deadpool was the relationship between eternal good guy Colossus and the foul-mouthed, body-count-piling Merc with a Mouth. The charming Stefan Kapicic was brought in to voice Colossus in that first movie, and Kapicic returned to provide vocals and motion capture work for Deadpool 2. But before the casting of Stefan, Daniel Cudmore was offered the chance to reprise the Colossus role.
As director Tim Miller explained, “I did actually call Daniel Cudmore to ask him if he wanted to do this, even though he’d be entirely CG the whole time. He was very nice about it. He was like, ‘I appreciate your offer, but nah.’”
For those not familiar with the name, Daniel Cudmore is the person who previously played Colossus in the standard X-Men franchise. Debuting in a small but memorable role in X2, the character would be given a lot more screen time in X-Men: The Last Stand before being killed off as part of the future-set carnage of X-Men: Days of Future Past. While it was great to see Colossus brought to live-action life, not everybody was thrilled with the version of Piotr seen in those movies. Still, Cudmore was offered the chance to reprise Colossus for Deadpool, but he politely turned the gig down when he realized it would just be for mo-cap purposes – with the vocals being done by Kapicic.
13 Michael Shannon Up For Cable… Twice
Michael Shannon has superhero previous, with him having played General Zod in Man of Steel (and technically in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) in addition to a role in the Josh Brolin-starring Jonah Hex. Now while Brolin would obviously be the one to be given the task of bringing the much-loved Cable to big-screen life, it was so nearly Shannon who landed the role — twice, to be precise.
In fact, Shannon – who first came on to the radar of many for his stunning turn in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire – was the first "frontrunner" for the Cable gig. After Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth name-dropped the character during Deadpool’s post-credits sequence, the powers-that-be at 20th Century Fox were on the hunt for their Nathan Summers.
Well, that hunt likely loosely started way before Deadpool made it to the silver screen, but the fact still remains that Michael Shannon was the studio’s first choice to play the role of the time-travelling, red-eyed, metal-armed badass. As Deadpool 2 director David Leitch put it, Michael Shannon “would make an incredible Cable. If that happens, I would be through the roof.” While talks took place, Shannon had to drop out of the running due to scheduling conflicts on a whole slew of projects he had in post-production and needed to do press for. But that wasn’t the end of the matter. Fast forward several months later, and Shannon’s name would again be tossed around to play Cable, before, again, scheduling conflicts reared their head. Michael Shannon would have made a great Cable, but it just seems like it wasn’t meant to be.
12 Brad Pitt Wanted The Cable Gig
Of all of the characters who have appeared in the two Deadpool movies to date, the one who has had the most potential candidates to play the role is hands-down Cable. The son of Cyclops and a Jean Grey clone, this no-nonsense, metal-armed warrior from the future is quite the hot ticket. We now obviously know that Josh Brolin was the one tasked with bringing Cable to life, and he did a fantastic job in Deadpool 2, but there were several other big names linked to the gig before Brolin signed on the dotted line. And out of those candidates, the biggest name of the bunch was Brad Pitt. Not only was Pitt linked to the role, he met with director David Leitch and his team to see if they could work something out. Again though, the ever-familiar scheduling issues surfaced. As Leitch himself put it,
“We had a great meeting with Brad, he was incredibly interested in the property. Things didn’t work out schedule-wise. I think he would’ve made an amazing Cable.”
There’s no doubting that Brad Pitt would have brought a whole lot to the role, and he really is a true Hollywood A-lister, but for those eagle-eyed fans out there, you may well have spotted the Fight Club star in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in Deadpool 2.
11 From Cable To Hellboy
Once Michael Shannon was finally ruled out of the Cable running for good, one name who emerged as a candidate to play Nathan Summers was David Harbour. Fresh from grabbing many people’s attention in Stranger Things, the burly Harbour was seen as quite the inspired choice to take on the Cable role. So keen on having Harbour — who also made his mark in the likes of Black Mass, End of Watch and Manhattan — involved in Deadpool 2, he was even brought in to screen test opposite star Ryan Reynolds. By all accounts, seemingly all was his to lose. One other particular element that Harbour had on his side is his height and build.
Given how the comic-book Cable is billed as 6’8” tall, Harbour’s 6’3” frame wasn’t quite Cable-size but was still big enough to make him look markedly taller than Reynolds’ Wade Wilson.
Further to this point, Deadpool 2 actually even pokes fun at the height of Josh Brolin’s Cable, with Brolin measuring just shy of 5’10” when it comes to height — way shorter than his comic-book counterpart. Still, despite playing Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Brolin would eventually get the nod as Cable — and his performance in Deadpool 2 was a highlight of a highlight-filled follow-up.
10 Stephen Lang Lays Some Cable
This would have been a brilliant piece of casting, but it’s not actually known whether there was ever any interest from 20th Century Fox on this particular actor playing Cable. The actor in question? Why, that would be Stephen Lang, a badass known for the likes of the ground-breaking, game-changing Avatar and the chilling Don’t Breathe.
It seemed as if it was only a matter of minutes after Cable was name-dropped in the Deadpool mid-credits scene before Lang took to his social media channels to throw his name into the ring for the role. Already known for his impressive physique, Lang posted images of him, as he put it, laying some Cable while outright stating his intention to play the character.
In terms of the look of the silver-haired, physically-imposing Cable, Stephen Lang certainly had more than a passing resemblance to the comic book character. Unfortunately for him, it appears that the guys at Fox didn’t have any major interest in Lang taking on the role and so nothing would come of it. From what we’re aware, there was no meeting, no audition, no screen test, nothing. Just Stephen Lang going public in making it known how much he wanted to play Cable.
9 Huntress Nearly Became Copycat
Jessica De Gouw is someone who will likely be familiar to many of you reading this if you have a penchant for all things comic book-based. That’s because De Gouw has played Helena Bertinelli, a.k.a. Huntress, in The CW’s Arrow. She also impressed many in Zak Hilditch’s stunning These Final Hours. And at one point in time, De Gouw was in the running to play the role of Deadpool’s love interest, Vanessa.
Depending on what you read, up to six candidates were being considered to play Vanessa, and De Gouw was definitely shortlisted for the gig. Ultimately, it would be Morena Baccarin who was successful in landing the role, with many savvy comic book fans waiting for the moment that Vanessa transitions to the moniker of Copycat.
You see, in the comics, that is exactly who she is, often floating between the role of hero and villain as she mimics the characteristics and appearance of others. Whether that happens on the silver screen at some point over the next few years, we’ll have to wait and see. But what we do know, is that it will be Morena Baccarin playing the Vanessa role rather than Jessica De Gouw.
8 Lizzy Caplan Was Up For Domino
To some more casual fans, Domino may be a character that you were not all that familiar with before seeing the character in Deadpool 2. Make no mistake about it though, she is a big, big deal in the world of Marvel Comics, in the world of X-Force, and in the world of Deadpool. Zazie Beetz is the person tasked with bringing the character to life on the big screen, and Beetz is absolutely phenomenal in Deadpool 2. That nearly wasn’t the case, though. Much like most roles, there were several names in consideration to play Domino in the Deadpool sequel, and Beetz was at one point merely one of those in contention. Another who was up for this hotly sought role was Masters of Sex’s Lizzy Caplan.
Caplan has her fair share of fans, and many saw her as the favorite to land the Domino role once the shortlist of candidates was revealed. She’d ultimately missed out on the role, with Zazie Beetz given the nod as the probability-driven badass mutant merc. Now we just have to wait and see what lies ahead for the Domino character, be that Deadpool 3 or that long-gestating X-Force picture.
7 Rob Liefeld’s Cable Choice Was Russell Crowe
Rob Liefeld is never anything if not controversial. Love him or hate him, every comic book fan has an opinion on Liefeld. Some herald him as a genius, others lambast him for his inability to draw feet. Regardless of your stance on Liefeld, it’s a fact that he co-created Deadpool along with Fabian Nicieza — not to mention key characters such as Cable and Domino were also created by the duo. Liefeld belongs to that group of comic book writers and artists who became rock stars in the ’80 and '90s, with him being one of the six key founding members of Image Comics back in 1992. So yeah, he’s a big deal in the comic book world.
When it comes to Cable, there was plentiful speculation and rumour over just which actor would end up playing this insta-cool character in Deadpool 2, and eventually Liefeld — who does have some involvement with the Deadpool movies — chimed in to say that Russell Crowe would be a good fit to play Cable.
Sure, Crowe and Liefeld had a few back and forth moments on Twitter, but nothing formal really came of this in terms of the Gladiator actor putting himself up for the role. Instead, it was more like wishful thinking on Liefeld’s part, including a pretty snazzy piece of art showing Crowe decked out like the time-travelling, metal-armed Cable.
6 The Cable-Driven Split
While screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick returned for Deadpool 2, at one point in time they were due to be joined by Deadpool director Tim Miller. Of course, John Wick’s David Leitch would direct Deadpool 2, and that’s due to Miller departing the sequel over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds. The reported cause of those differences? Why, that’d be a certain Cable candidate. Miller was said to be keen on having Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler play Cable in the follow-up, and Chandler is indeed a name who had long been tied to the role. For what it’s worth, the actor didn’t have any meetings or screen tests for the gig, more it was just Tim Miller saw him as the best fit for Cable.
Unfortunately for Miller, Reynolds had the key say on this matter, with him having put a deal in place for Deadpool 2 that gave him a creative influence over the sequel — as indicated by having him joining Reese and Wernick in putting together Deadpool 2’s screenplay.
So while Kyle Chandler didn’t have a direct influence on Deadpool 2, he did indirectly have a pretty major part to play when all was said and done in how Tim Miller ultimately didn’t return for the sequel.
5 Taking Deadpool To Sin City
While a Deadpool movie had been gestating for years in some form or fashion — even going as far back as the year 2000 — it wasn’t until the Merc with a Mouth’s appearance in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine that the cogs seriously got turning once more. And so, a screenplay was soon put together by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and the hunt was on for a director.
As the reports go, the initial script was put together in January 2010, with Robert Rodriguez approached to fill the director’s chair in June 2010. Rodriguez had made a name for himself with efforts such as his El Mariachi trilogy, From Dusk til Dawn, The Faculty, Sin City and Planet Terror, and his style and tone were seen as a good fit for Pooly-D.
Despite going public with his thoughts on how good the Deadpool script was, Rodriguez would eventually rule himself completely out of the project by that October. Briefly, Swedish commercial and TV director Adam Berg was in contention to direct, before the Fox bigwigs eventually decided that Tim Miller was the man best served with bringing this hugely popular comic book character to life on the big screen.
4 Should I Call You Logan, Weapon X?
One of the great things about the marketing for both Deadpool and Deadpool 2 was how the titular Chiyonosake would poke fun at Wolverine. Hell, part of the promo material for Deadpool 2 saw the film advertised as “From the studio that killed Wolverine.” So, many fans were hoping that somehow Hugh Jackman’s Wolvie would get a role in Deadpool 2. And no, we don’t mean just a cameo or a toy reference. Adding excitement to the rumour mill, Jackman himself said,
“I’ve never thought about it till now, but doing something with Ryan — he’s awesome — that’s always attractive to me,”
when asked about the possibility of playing a significant part in the Deadpool sequel. From there, the fire was fuelled and fans began to speculate whether Logan may get one further final outing. Of course, this would come to nothing as it pertains to Wolverine being a major player in Deadpool 2, but, given the pair’s unique relationship in the comic books, it at least got people thinking about how ridiculously cool it would be to see Jackman’s Wolverine lining up alongside Reynolds’ Deadpool. Well, apart from in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Then again, even though that film had major problems, the dynamic between those two was electric to watch.
3 Orange Is The New Red And Black?
One of the unique things about that very first Deadpool is that there was always only one guy who was going to headline the film. Even before he was cast as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds was being earmarked for the Merc with a Mouth role after winning over decision makers as Hannibal King in 2004’s Blade: Trinity. Where Reynolds was always, always, always the one and only choice for Pooly-D, there was at least some sort of competition to play his love interest, Vanessa. One of those up for that particular role was Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling.
At one point in time, Schilling was in the running to play the role that ultimately went to Morena Baccarin. Not to put any sort of sleight on Schilling, but it’s fair to say that Baccarin was the best choice. She’s showcased just how ridiculously good comedic and romantic chemistry she has on screen with Ryan Reynolds.
Baccarin may make for a great Vanessa, but there are still likely plenty of fans out there who were wondering “what if?” about the prospect of Taylor Schilling playing the item of Wade Wilson’s affection.
2 The Other Top Domino Candidate
While fans had known that Cable was on the way for Deadpool 2 as soon as the first movie came to a close, one other new addition for the sequel was longstanding X-Force member Domino. Not to go into too many details, but Domino and Deadpool’s paths have long been intertwined, with the pair technically debuting together back in 1991. For those of you who have seen Deadpool 2, we’re sure you’ll agree that Zazie Beetz absolutely kills it as Domino, bringing a cool, charismatic charm to the character. In fact, Beetz often completely steals the picture whenever she’s on screen. Sure, the hype may have been mainly around Deadpool and Cable, but Domino is just as impressive, if not more so, than her X-Force counterparts.
While Beetz is a perfect fit for the character, at one point in time we nearly had Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the role. The 10 Cloverfield Lane star was one of several names up for the role before Beetz was ultimately cast, and she was reported to be one of the frontrunners for the gig at one point in time.
Zazie Beetz would get the role and the rest is history, with her stealing the show and having audiences eager to see a whole lot more from Domino.
1 There Can Be Only One
While we would love to finish this article by mentioning one or two people that were rivalling Ryan Reynolds for the Deadpool role, the truth of the matter is, there was only ever one name in the frame. Having impressed the powers that be with his charismatic turn as Hannibal King in 2004’s Blade: Trinity, Reynolds was seen as the one and only choice to headline Deadpool if and when that movie would happen. This was fresh off Pooly-D himself referring to his appearance as “Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei” in one of his comic book tales. At that point, the rights for the film were at New Line Cinema, with New Line ultimately struggling to get the picture up and running due to rights issues with 20th Century Fox and their ownership of the X-Men property.
Fast-forward five years, and 2009 would see Reynolds officially turn up as Wade Wilson in the so-so X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Again, it would be a struggle to finally get the Merc with a Mouth his own picture, but eventually that did indeed happen.
Now, it seems unfathomable to think of anyone else other than Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, but it was always, always going to be Reynolds — as far back as five years before Wade’s cinematic debut, and twelve years before his solo movie.