Comic book movies are huge, huge business these days, with seemingly any and all characters being fair game for the big screen treatment. Superheroes and supervillains who were once deemed as too dull or too unsuitable for the silver screen have all now either made the transition to the cinema screen or are being weighed up as next to get the adaptation treatment.
For the longest time, it seemed that Deadpool would never, ever be taken to movie screens across the globe, with the adult-orientated, foul-mouthed, blood-spilling merc with a mouth a little too risqué. Many feared that if Wade Wilson did get a cinematic outing then it would be a watered down affair that would lose the charm and outright eccentricity of the comic book source material. Luckily, 2016’s Deadpool was a riotous success and saw 20th Century Fox make the bold move to go full R-rated with Ryan Reynolds’ Pooly-D.
Given the huge fan and critical response to Tim Miller’s Deadpool, a sequel was quickly put into development – and now, that film is about to stir up a storm across theaters worldwide. But not only is Wade back to quip wise and cause all kinds of carnage, he’s now joined by a slew of new and returning characters. Here, we’re going to spotlight the new additions and get you up to speed on what you need to know about these newbies.
Whether you’re eagerly anticipating Deadpool 2 or have already seen it and want some background details, we’ve got you covered!
Whereas many of you out there will be up to speed on who the X-Men are, not everybody will be quite so well versed in who X-Force are. A straight-up X-Force movie has been mooted for years now, with one seemingly not set to happen following Deadpool 2. In the Deadpool sequel, we’ll be introduced to several comic book characters who had served under the X-Force banner over the decades, and the arrival of those newbies opens up a whole realm of possibilities for future films. So, who are the X-Force and what do they do?
While Professor X and his X-Men are around to fight the good fight and protect the world from whatever nefarious threats rise their heads, X-Force is a team that’s a little more hands-on and direct.
This is a group that are more clinical in their approach and often even target threats before they can strike, with their main aim to take out potential threats to mutantkind. Since debuting back in 1991, X-Force has featured such badass and aggressive names as Deadpool, Cable, Domino, Wolverine, Psylocke, Archangel, Boom-Boom, Fantomex, Warpath, Shatterstar, and Dani Moonstar. More often that not, X-Force are quite the temperamental bunch, which in itself makes for engaging reading – something which is a dynamic that should transition brilliantly to the big screen. The fact that X-Force #1 remains the second best-selling American comic book in history should given you an indication of why this group is such a big deal.
14 Cable’s Parentage
The comic book realm is famous for its twists, turns, and, let’s face it, illogical decisions. And for those familiar with the '80s and '90s comic book world, you’ll know that to be even more so during those particular decades. During that time, one character who made his debut was Cable; a character who just so happens to be making his cinematic debut in Deadpool 2. As is seen in the Deadpool sequel, Cable is from the future. A badass red-eyed, metal-armed, time-travelling mercenary, he’s quite the fascinating fella. He’ll also kick your ass before you can blink – especially if your name’s Wade Wilson. One of the most interesting things about Cable, though, is his parentage.
In a bit of a kicker, it was eventually revealed that Cable’s birth name is Nathan Summers and that he was the son of the X-Men’s Cyclops and a Jean Grey clone called Madelyne Pryor.
How Cable ended up in the future is that the decision was made to send the baby Nathan to the future after he was infected with a nefarious techno-virus courtesy of Mister Sinister and Apocalypse. Totally not cool, right? Just how much of Cable’s parentage will be revealed in Deadpool 2, you’ll have to wait and see for yourself.
13 The Cable Contenders
These days, comic book-driven movies are big, big business, and as such anyone and everyone wants a part of the superhero pie. No longer are superhero and supervillain roles the ones that an actor will try and hide on their CV, instead these roles are sought after and in major, major demand. And that was exactly the case when the role of Cable came up. Of course, Josh Brolin was the one who eventually landed the gig, but there were a whole bunch of contenders in the frame to play this time-travelling mercenary.
Initially, Man of Steel and Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon was favorite to land the role before scheduling conflicts got in the way. After that, we saw Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Stephen Lang, David Harbour, and Pierce Brosnan are rumoured for the gig.
When Brolin was officially announced to play Cable, it kind of came a little out of left field for several reasons – most notably due to him also playing Thanos over in Marvel Studios and Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brolin also had further comic book movie previous due to his roles in Jonah Hex and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Still, obviously those films and experiences didn’t put Josh Brolin off when it came to taking one of the hottest roles in Hollywood.
12 Domino Debuted With Deadpool
One of the main selling points of Deadpool 2 is that it’s going to introduce a whole host of new characters to the silver screen. Much like Deadpool made the merc with a mouth a household name, the hope is that its sequel will do the same for some characters who you may not have even heard of yet. One such character is Domino, who actually has her comic book roots intricately tied to those of Wade Wilson.
Both Domino and Deadpool actually debuted together in 1991’s The New Mutants #98. Kind of. Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, the Domino that appeared in that issue wasn’t really Domino. No, it would later be revealed that this had been Copycat copying Domino’s appearance. The real Domino would turn up just over a year later, officially debuting in March 1992’s X-Force #8. In that X-Force book, this badass probability-driven merc would become a huge player and a key part of the titular team.
So much so, that many longtime comic book fans hold Domino up as their very favorite member of the X-Force group – even more-so than the more well-known Deadpool and Cable.
With the charismatic Zazie Beetz playing the cinematic Domino, expect Neena Thurman to become a hot topic of water-cooler conversation for the next few months.
11 What Are The Chances Of That?
To linger on the topic of Domino for just a little while longer, it’s only right that we get you up to speed on her powers. Yes, she’s a brutal, clinical hand-to-hand fighter who is also pretty darn impressive with a huge variety of different weapons, but the major standout ability of Neena Thurman’s is that she has probability and chance in her favor. To put it in its simplest terms, she’s ridiculously, ridiculously lucky.
Being more specific, Neena has a mysterious telekinetic ability that is essentially her subconscious and working on its own. That telekinetic power manipulates Domino’s surroundings and environment to swing things in her favor.
For example, one of the most common situations caused by this is that enemies’ guns will jam when they begin to take aim at Domino. Similarly, things will fall over or coincidentally appear to keep Domino alive and well, putting her way ahead of the game when it comes to the nefarious bad guys trying to take her out. Likewise, if any of her fellow X-Force crew – such as, oh we don’t know, Deadpool for instance – decide to test her, Domino is always going to get the upper hand and dish out an ass kicking.
10 Russell’s Key Role
What Deadpool 2 has done so well is manage to keep so much of its plot hush-hush. Before the film was released, nobody knew for sure just what role Jack Kesy would be playing – bar that it was supposedly the ‘big bad’ of the piece – and the same can be said for Julian Dennison. Dennison is a fantastic young actor who won himself a whole host of fans and plaudits thanks to Taika Waititi’s magical Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and in Deadpool 2 he’s a key figure to the sequel’s story. Known as Russell, there’s very little known about the character bar that he’s a mutant with some pretty major powers.
So major, in fact, that he’s the reason that Cable has travelled back in time from the future.
Certain speculation has him pegged as the fire-manipulating Russell Collins, a.k.a. Firefist, but that's merely guess work right now. It’s due to Russell that Cable finds himself butting heads with Deadpool, as Wade sees it as his mission to protect the youngster from the sights of the metal-armed, red-eyed badass merc who has gone to the trouble of travelling through time itself just to apprehend the kid. So while we don’t know just quite what Russell’s deal is, we know that he’s a big deal. Now it just remains to be seen how all of this plays out and if Russell just so happens to have any ties to a particular comic book character or two, such as the aforementioned Firefist.
9 Acid Reflux
When looking at the history and pantheon of comic books, Zeitgeist is a relatively new creation. Well, we say new, but he was created 27 years ago. The point being, this 2001 creation isn’t one of the mutants who has been around since the 1970s. Bill Skarsgard terrified many as Pennywise in Andy Muschietti’s It, and he’s the man who’s been tasked with playing Zeitgeist in Deadpool 2. And while he may not be quite as sinister as Pennywise, the story of Zeitgeist certainly has its fair share of darkness to it. Axel Cluney’s mutant abilities decided to first showcase themselves at the most unfortunate of times. Kissing a girl he’d been lusting after, Axel suddenly burnt his beau’s face off when acidic vomit began to come out of his mouth.
And that was the day that poor Axel realized that he was “gifted” and that he’d effectively have to wear a muzzle for the rest of his life.
Becoming a member of X-Force soon after, Zeitgeist is quite the troubled soul, and his tale is one often filled with some grim moments, not least in how he put together a covert plan to massacre a boy band; a plan that ultimately backfired and ended in his own demise!
8 Cable Is Not The Real Villain
The way that the trailers and promo material has positioned him, many are taking it that Cable is the villain of Deadpool 2. He’s not. Sure, Cable will indeed be butting heads with the merc with a mouth (and likely certain other heroes) and he is essentially hunting a child through literal time itself, but he’s not that much of a bad guy. And it’s not often you can say that when, as mentioned, somebody is stalking and tracking a child with the intent of wiping him out.
The kid in question, of course, is a threat that’s seemingly set to play a major role in the future of all mutantkind. And so, being the clinical fella that he is, Cable has travelled back in time to, yes, to destroy a child, but similarly to in turn save the very future of the world itself.
So sure, Cable is a no-nonsense guy who is brutal in so much of what he does, but there is at least a reasoning behind his mission here. If Cable and young Russell aren’t the clear-cut villains of the piece, then who is? Well, it’s convenient of you to ask about that…
7 Jack Kesy’s Restricted Role
While so many movies like to throw their entire plot points and twists out there in their trailers these days – here’s looking at you, Terminator: Genisys – the long-awaited Deadpool follow-up has managed to keep a lot of things under wraps, including the role of Jack Kesy.
Best known for The Strain, Kesy’s role in Deadpool 2 is currently to be revealed. What we do know, however, is that he will be some sort of bad guy in the film. Previous reports and speculation have Kesy pegged as playing Black Tom Cassidy in the sequel. Similarly, more recent reports from this past April actually claimed that Kesy role in the film had been completely cut following some reshoots. While co-screenwriter Rhett Reese moved to play down those reports on his Twitter account, it does appear that Kesy’s mysterious role has at least been reduced following said reshoots.
As for just who Black Tom is, he’s a longtime X-Men villain who has often been found teaming up with the hulking Juggernaut to battle Professor X and his beloved mutants. In terms of powers, Cassidy is an energy-manipulating mutant who fires kinetic blasts through his cheesy shillelagh. He also happens to be the cousin of long-serving, on-again off-again X-Men member Banshee, and has even been utilized as a "from the future" villain at times, which could dovetail nicely into the story of Cable and Russell.
6 Star Lord
No, not that Star-Lord, but more just a likely awful pun as a way to introduce you to the debuting Shatterstar. Like so many of the characters featured in Deadpool 2, Shatterstar – a.k.a Gaveedra Seven – is a creation of Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, and he’s someone who has his roots in several different comic book teams, most notably the X-Force and New Mutants groups. In fact, he’d even become a founding member of X-Force.
From a future-set planet, Shatterstar is a time-travelling, dimension-jumping being who is essentially a warrior, a gladiator, a champion.
He would eventually escape the confines of Mojoworld and the oddball Mojo’s battle-driven TV shows, and it wasn’t long after this that Shatterstar ended up on a mission to present-day Earth. With his genetically-engineered body, Shatterstar would be a vastly more powerful hero than the majority of his peers, and his time on Mojoworld gave him the tactical and strategist skills to make him a key part of any group he was a part of.
As the character developed over the years, Shatterstar’s appearance would often undergo some drastic changes, and his abilities themselves would be tweaked, such as how he’d eventually develop the power to teleport people. Many have long wanted to see Shatterstar brought to the big screen, and now finally this most popular of characters is set to steal the show in Deadpool 2, as played there by Lewis Tan.
5 The Controversy Behind Shatterstar
Over the decades, comic books have often looked to shine the spotlight on various issues of the day. But while comics have looked to be progressive with their characters, Shatterstar is somebody who has had a fair amount of controversy surrounding his particular sexuality. In recent years, the LGBTQ community has been regularly represented in comic book form, and this is something that is ever-expanding throughout comics. One of the debuting characters of Deadpool 2 that reveal that Shatterstar was gay upset one particular person in a major way. That person was Rob Liefeld.
Liefeld is a comic book writer and artist who was one of those who essentially became a rock star in the '80s and '90s, with him being one of the original group of comic book talents who revolutionized the game by using their own individual success to come together and create Image Comics. He’s also the person responsible for being involved in the creation of so many characters seen in Deadpool 2, such as Shatterstar.
Upon hearing that Peter David was to reveal Shatterstar as gay during his X-Factor run, Liefeld went public with his displeasure of this. As he put it, “As the guy that created, designed and wrote his first dozen appearances, Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can’t wait to some day undo this. Seems totally contrived.”
Liefeld is never anything if not controversial, and this led to him and Peter David – not to mention other notable comic book names – publicly sparring over this situation. In the last several years, Liefeld’s stance has seemed to soften on the matter, at least.
4 Bedlam is quite powerful
Whether it’s in an action setting, a comedy setting, or simply appearing on TV ads, Terry Crews is somebody who instantly grabs the attention and is a hugely engaging, entertaining presence. And so, it came as a little bit of a surprise to see Crews appear in some of the Deadpool 2 trailers. After all, his casting had been kept relatively hush-hush for the most part. In the Deadpool sequel, Crews is playing a mutant called Bedlam. And much like several other debuting characters, he’s somebody who has all kinds of ties to the X-Force team. While others have elaborate abilities that can at times be a case of style over substance, Bedlam’s powers are more practical and effective than some of his peers. You see, Jesse Aaronson is able to disable any EM-based equipment in addition to being able to project an EM field of his own.
Like others whose abilities were further developed over the years, Bedlam eventually began to affect the human mind and can project images of pain and suffering into anyone he chooses.
Deadpool 2 has a packed roster of heroes at its core, but it could well be that the charming Terry Crews is the one who ultimately manages to steal the picture as his own.
3 Wisdom Or Not For Peter?
In the promotional material for Deadpool 2, many were obviously and rightfully drawn in by Josh Brolin’s Cable. Then there were other comic book favourites such as Domino, Shatterstar, Bedlam, and Zeitgeist. And then, well then there was Peter.
Seemingly just an average Joe who happened to see Deadpool’s ad looking for people to join his X-Force team, Peter is a non-powered, non-superhuman character who finds himself in the right place at the right time.
From his chuckle-inducing Twitter page, he likes bees, doesn’t approve of substances, and his wife may or may not be having a relationship with her personal trainer. Upon realizing that Rob Delaney’s character was called Peter, many savvy comic book fans thought that maybe, just maybe, that Peter would actually be Peter Wisdom. Wisdom is a British hero who’s often depicted as part of the Excalibur team and is able to throw solar-based knives at the bad guys. For now, it appears that Peter is simply, well, Peter. Whether he is revealed to have any powers or unique abilities remains to be seen, but he is going to have a key role to play in how Deadpool 2 plays out – Wisdom or not. Certainly one to keep your eyes on.
It’s been touched upon at several points in this feature, but one of the things that Deadpool 2 has done so well is in how its kept so much of its plot and story details secret.
While that’s brilliant, it’s also quite sad that a movie not spoiling its big reveals ahead of its release is such a shock in this day and age. But that’s sadly the case, with the norm being to drop in at least a couple of big revelations in the promotional material for a picture.
For Deadpool 2, there’s still so, so much to be revealed. In fact, your humble scribe recently spoke to Colossus actor Stefan Kapicic, who enthusiastically explained that fans have only seen maybe 2% of the sequel’s twists, turns and surprises in the trailers seen so far. And given just how awesome those very trailers have been, this is something that’s sure to make fans of the Merc with a Mouth and X-Force all kinds of giddy at what potential surprises are lurking in this most hotly anticipated of sequels.
We know that Julian Dennison’s Russell and Jack Kesy’s mysterious villain have a whole lot to be revealed about them, so now it’s a matter of waiting to see what else is lurking in what should hopefully be one of 2018’s biggest hits.
1 What’s Next?
It’s pretty obvious from the trailers that the X-Force team is going to be leading the charge going forward, with Wade Wilson bringing them together in Deadpool 2 to try and stop Cable from this sent-from-the-future mission. And fans can expect to be seeing a lot more from X-Force going forward. Not least in their own movie.
As a movie, X-Force has been in development for several years now, with Kick-Ass 2’s Jeff Wadlow previously on board to helm the effort. Now, Cabin in the Woods and Marvel’s Daredevil’s Drew Goddard is overseeing the project both as writer and director.
No release date has been set for X-Force just yet, although it could well hit the silver screen as early as 2020. Ryan Reynolds has also recently indicated that a third Deadpool film may be taking a backseat to X-Force now.
Whether Deadpool 3 happens or not, X-Force is definitely something that you can look forward to. And then there’s Disney’s imminent purchase of 20th Century Fox, which opens up the possibility of Deadpool and his X-Force pals being fair game for the House of Mouse’s Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside the likes of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Make no mistake, there’s still a whole lot more to come from the merc with a mouth.