Audiences were treated with the simple idea that the long-time X-Men Cable would be making an appearance in the second Deadpool film ever since the post-credits of “Deadpool.” Now, after months of speculation, it appears the film has finally cast veteran actor Josh Brolin in the role.
While this is all well and good that we have a definitive answer, it still leaves a few folks wondering just what is the big deal about this character in particular. Not everyone who enjoys seeing the Merc with the Mouth on the big screen necessarily knows anything about his best buddy (so he claims), Cable. We at CBR have all the bases covered and are ready to run longtime fans, recent ones or anywhere in between through the most important things about Deadpool’s soon-to-be costar.
15. SON OF CYCLOPS
Cable has somewhat of a complicated origin story even by comic book standards, but here’s the gist of it. Scott Summers fell for a woman named Madelyne Pryor. Unbeknownst to Pryor, she was a clone of Jean Grey and married Scott before giving birth to their son Nathan Summers, later known as Cable. After a series of unfortunate events led to Madelyne going insane and trying to sacrifice her child, Cyclops cared for Nathan with Jean Grey for a short time before even more things went awry.
Cyclops himself isn’t quite Dad of the Year material when it comes to his son’s earliest days. Scott was stuck in a rut pining over a (then dead) Jean and when he’s notified that she’s found alive, leaves his family behind without a word to go investigate. He later did his best to make up for it, but there has been a lot of tension between Nathan and Scott throughout the comics. Most of the time, their familial relationship has been portrayed as strained or put completely on the back burner. Still though, they do manage to have some nice father-son moments from time to time.
14. HE’S FROM THE FUTURE
Along with having a Jean Grey clone for a mother, it was revealed that Nathan Summers was actually the product of an incredibly convoluted plan by Mr. Sinister. Sinister wanted to use the child (or his power rather) to overthrow Apocalypse. When the big bad found out, he infected the child with a virus that no present-day medicine could cure. Nathan was then transported a couple thousand years into an alternate future, where a cure could potentially be fashioned and administered to save his life. After that, he stayed in the new era for a while before returning to the present day as a grown man.
If Cable had a Facebook, every profile detail would undoubtedly be labeled “it’s complicated.” The man spent a majority of his life fighting off the worst the world had to offer before his battles led him back to the present. He often operates with the heavy burden of his future experiences,which is a big play into his overall character throughout his Marvel career.
13. HE SUFFERS FROM A TECHNO-ORGANIC VIRUS
That futuristic virus we just talked about in the earlier entry? This is it. Apocalypse had baby Cable kidnapped and injected with the infection to eventually kill the young Summers. This is where he was pulled into the alternate future, but a true cure for his ailment was never accomplished. Instead Nathan learned how to keep the virus from spreading using his mutant abilities. The infection unfortunately already worked its way through a good portion of his body, including the entirety of his left arm, and has converted it to techno-organic matter.
In some more recent comic book runs, Cable has successfully been cured of the virus in one form or another. However, it has remained a big characteristic for the mutant. His suffering from the virus from such an early age has left a deep impact on him. Cable uses his ailment to his advantage, though, often utilizing the technology-infected arm to shield himself during fights and the like.
12. HE GUARDS HOPE
No, this isn’t some sort of fancy X-Men spin-off group; rather, Cable himself has acted as a guardian to a very special mutant named Hope. After Scarlet Witch de-powered almost every mutant in the world, a mutant baby girl was born. Cable believed that she would be a new messiah for all of humanity, but others (like Bishop) thought that the child would bring upon a new age of war for mutants and humans. Cyclops decided that maybe keeping the baby out of the present was the best solution, and tasked his son to take her to the future. Cable agreed and took the girl to the future, protecting her like his own daughter and naming her Hope Summers.
Whenever Hope is featured in the comics, Cable is not far behind, pretty much acting as the de facto father to the young mutant throughout her iterations. The ties between the two have always been a strong point and shaped Cable more as a character. Even though he’s still very much a “big picture” kind of guy, he has a terribly soft spot for his adopted daughter.
11. HE IS STUPIDLY POWERFUL
Even from inception, Nathan Summers was meant to be special. Mr. Sinister’s aforementioned plan started with Cable’s strategic birth in order to make him one of the most powerful mutants alive (at the time). Nathan has a host of some seriously incredible abilities, including telepathy, telekinesis and astral projection. His psychic powers are so great in force that he’s actually used them to fortify his own body, giving himself super enhanced muscles, skeletal structure, stamina and endurance. That’s just the stuff he can do when he’s not being a master strategist or fierce soldier in numerous battles.
Cable is certainly a Swiss Army knife of abilities and doesn’t slow down for anyone. He’s often depicted as a one-man battalion, carrying out operations completely on his own and relying on his vast psychic abilities to see him through. Not only is he powerful, but he’s smart about applying his skills strategically so he usually ends up with the upper hand (he even beat up the Avengers once). Truly, Cable is one of the most powerful mutants around, so it’s no surprise when folks get a little wary when he shows up on the scene.
10. HE STARTED THE X-FORCE
When Cable was going toe-to-toe with a rather terrible organization named the Mutant Liberation Front (as well as numerous others), he was assisted by a group called the New Mutants. After seeing their abilities on display, Cable asks for the group to join his side of the fight. They functioned well under the master tactician for a time, before Nathan reorganized his squad into what would become the more commonly known X-Force. Since then, Cable has been closely associated with the group in the comics over the years, either as a leader or an advisor.
With Cable and Domino guaranteed to be featured in “Deadpool 2,” it stands to reason that his long history with X-Force will be referenced in some way. It might be just the beginning of his career with the organization or he might be a burnt-out ex-leader of the group, but either way it’s bound to have a lot of throwbacks to this part of his comic book life.
9. HE WAS RAISED BY CLAN ASKANI
When Cable was infected with the techno-organic virus as an infant, Jean and Scott were approached by a mysterious woman that said she could save him. This led to Nathan being transported to a future with the Clan Askani, a group of rebels dedicated to fighting off Apocalypse. The order itself revolved around protecting the timeline, which they saw as sacred, as well as worshiping the ideals of the original X-Men. When they weren’t issuing the latest prophecy, they were training both their bodies and minds, ever ready to combat the Apocalypse threat.
Cable has lived as part of the Askani for most of his adult life, which led to quite a culture shock when he traveled to the past. He still attempts to keep the group’s beliefs alive and circulating in his own endeavors, but finds it difficult to do so in the “modern” era. Coincidentally enough, one of the biggest pieces of the Askani day-to-day faith was to always keep hope alive; something that manifested itself more literally later in Cable’s life.
8. HE’S CLASHED WITH A LOT OF HEROES
Seeing as how Cable comes from a rather harsh future and hasn’t really had too many friends, he comes off as particularly rough around the edges. The character has clashed more than once with various other mutants including Wolverine, with whom he’s had a particularly longstanding beef. He’s also fought off folks like Captain America and Iron Man over the years, and earned the scorn of many of his X-Force teammates in the past, usually due to the fact that he largely left his squad in the dark for a majority of their operations.
Part of the beauty of Cable is that he doesn’t really have a specific allegiance to anyone. He’s learned that people’s motives can change or be murky, so he’s rarely trusted anyone fully. The only exception to this rule is of course Hope, for whom Cable has felt a fatherly need to protect. This has led to plenty of things he’s kept her out of (much to the young mutant’s dismay), but she is one of the few Nathan doesn’t view as easily expendable.
7. HE ONCE RAN HIS OWN SOCIETY
Further into his comic book career, Cable tried to save humanity by taking things into his own hands. Using his own time-traveling vessel called the Greymalkin, he built a floating island sanctuary dubbed Providence. He then invited the world’s finest minds in science to live there in a sort of think tank to better the world and unite humanity. Cable’s intentions might have been good, but his means of using his powers to forcefully coerce folks into his plan were questionable. Multiple forces including S.H.I.E.L.D. and the X-Men launched attacks to stop Nathan, resulting in the island getting blown up.
As far as Cable’s work to ensure the safety of humanity and mutant-kind alike, this was certainly one of his most concentrated efforts. Being able to tap into the full extent of his powers was a mixed blessing, since it allowed him to further this vision but with his same attitude of having no qualms in using people for the greater good.
6. SACRIFICE IS KINDA HIS THING
Going along with his big picture outlook, Askani upbringing and overall mission to protect humanity as a whole, Cable is not afraid to make sacrifices, particularly of himself. One such example was during his later “X-Force” run, where he is infected with a new virus that is designed to give folks super powers at the cost of killing them within a day. Cable creates clones of himself and, if he’s not offed during the day by some external force, kills himself and uploads the day’s memories to the new clone.
The kicker here is that Cable goes through this painful rigmarole not just to simply find the cure to the virus for himself, but to save Hope (who was also infected). This is just one of the many examples Cable has in sacrificing his own wellbeing to benefit the greater good. It’s an honorary trait for the character and will probably be visited a bit in the film.
5. HE’S GOT MAJOR BEEF WITH APOCALYPSE
Hearkening back to our earlier entries regarding Cable’s tough origin story, Apocalypse figured into his life very early on. The villain purposely infected Nathan with the new age virus to kill him. When Cable escaped to a different future, Apocalypse’s terrifying regime was in full swing. Throughout his Askani upbringing, Nathan saw to the defeat of the villain in his time and sought to end the villain permanently by traveling to the past. Meanwhile, Apocalypse has thrown everything he could at the mutant throughout their numerous clashes.
It’s pretty fair to hold a grudge against a person that wanted to kill you almost from birth. Apocalypse hated what Nathan represented as a child (Sinister’s defiance of him), but found plenty of personal distaste for Cable as he grew up to be a major thorn in his side. Cable himself has been unrelenting in his pursuit of Apocalypse, sometimes to his own detriment, but never fails to see his actions against the villain through.
4. HE HAS HIS OWN EVIL CLONE
Cable has never been opposed to cloning himself to guard against any losses in the long run, but he actually has a longer history with the practice. When he was taken in by the Askani as a baby, he was cloned in case the techno-organic virus couldn’t be cured. Apocalypse had the clan’s base of operations attacked and his soldier kidnapped the cloned child. The villain decided to make the baby his heir and named him Stryfe. This particular clone would be one that would dog Cable for years to come, and the two frequently fought each other throughout their comic runs.
Stryfe is seriously one mean dude. He’s primarily responsible for a lot of heartache in Cable’s future life, as well as creating more terrible situations in the past for the mutant. Stryfe has been defeated by his clone brother several times through the years, but he’s always reemerged meaner and stronger. He’s cruel, arrogant and the quintessential evil spawn that can only be gotten from having Apocalypse as your dad.
3. HE HAD A SON
Once he defeated Apocalypse in his future, Cable didn’t immediately return to the past. He instead led a group called the Clan Chosen to finding balance after the villain’s defeat. Cable fell in love with another member of the Chosen named Aliya and after she gave birth to her son Tyler Dayspring, raised the kid as his own. Piggybacking off of all the terrible things Stryfe has done to ruin Cable’s life, the villain had the young man brainwashed and Nathan was forced to shoot him during an altercation. Tyler never forgave him and continued with nefarious activities throughout the years following.
Even though it’s never explicitly said in the comics that Cable is Tyler’s biological father, he’s pretty much treated as such. Unlike Hope, Tyler has no secondary origin, and treats Nathan as his real father (however strained that relationship may be). Certainly Hope has remained a more prominent figure in Cable’s life, but that of his son was a big piece of his early comic book characterization.
2. HE IS DEEP
One of Cable’s biggest defining traits is his Askani beliefs. He follows their tenets of “What is, is.” in his daily life, which encourages accepting situations as they are and enacting upon them. Using that, Cable very much ponders the possibilities of his current status, life force and what good he could do for future generations. Instead of being disappointed about his lack of progress in treating his techno-organic virus, he’s calm about any shortcomings and immediately works to rectify them.
Undoubtedly, his cool demeanor in the face of incredible adversity has been a staple of his character over the years. Despite mounting odds, Cable has always viewed things as they are and soldiered on. His impassive demeanor and ability to somehow remain unperturbed, despite the craziest things being presented to him, are practically a trademark of Cable’s at this point. Hopefully this will be translated to “Deadpool 2” in some way, shape or form.
1. HE HAS HAD A LONG HISTORY WITH DEADPOOL
So what exactly do you do with a character known for shouldering huge battles by himself, remaining ever calm and taking all things seriously? Pair him up with a chatty merc who cracks jokes at everything! The two have boasted multiple team ups and clashes over the years, most notably in their series “Cable & Deadpool.” Their first meeting was by chance, as Deadpool was hired to attack Cable, and then made repeat appearances during Cable’s early X-Force run. After that, the duo traveled through time together, put the brakes on cult-like churches and generally kicked ass wherever they went.
Cable more often than not found himself paired up with Deadpool out of happenstance, but rarely by choice. The two exude all the greatness of a good buddy-cop film, with Wade being the humor and Nathan being the “straight man” to his barbs. Despite Cable’s usual disdain for Deadpool, the mercenary generally insists that the two are the best of friends. This relationship will hopefully be replicated on the big screen in “Deadpool 2.”
What else do you know (or want to know) about Cable? Let us know in the comments!