WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Deadpool 2, in theaters now.
It's virtually impossible to keep spoilers from leaking online, and that's doubly true for hotly anticipated superhero movies. No sooner did fans deduce that the Deadpool 2 trailers and TV spots included an invisible X-Force member -- an empty parachute harness can be spotted in some shots -- than it was reported the sequel's "super-secret cameo" was none other than Brad Pitt, revealed to be the Marvel Comics character The Vanisher.
As most fans likely know by now, that rumor turned out to be dead on, with Pitt finally glimpsed in a visual gag. However, even if you were aware of the "surprise," the inclusion of the mutant, portrayed by one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, is still a great moment.
Telford Porter, aka The Vanisher, is a villain whose history with the X-Men stretches back to the beginning. The disappearing foe debuted in 1963's X-Men #2 as the second adversary Professor X’s students faced. A teleporter who's never really been more than a trumped-up thief, he tends to shoot for the stars when choosing what to steal. For example, in his first appearance he pilfered defense plans from the Pentagon and threatened to sell them to an enemy nation.
While Porter has shown up in a number of titles and storylines over the years, his most significant role was in the late-1980s Fallen Angels miniseries, in which he forms a child thieving ring that includes a number of mutants. He showed up in a couple issues of X-Force in the late 1990s, but his part in the plot was relatively minor. But in a later volume of the title that launched in 2008, he actually joined the team. The only time The Vanisher fought alongside Domino and Deadpool was during the 2009 "Messiah War" event, in which Cable had to protect the mutant savior Hope against Stryfe and Bishop.
Now, much like how the first Deadpool film introduced the obscure character Negasonic Teenage Warhead but changed her powers drastically, the sequel gives us a version of Porter that can turn himself invisible, rather than teleport. So, when Weasel and Wade are interviewing possible members for the team, they aren’t sure whether he’s late or if he’s already there. They pin a headshot of him to their cork board, but it’s blank. Then, in the chopper on the way to intercept the convoy carrying the young mutant Russell, we see the crew preparing for the jump, and beside Domino is a parachute that looks like it's being worn by an invisible person.
When everybody else meets a grisly demise upon landing, Deadpool looks to the sky in the hopes that The Vanisher will survive, but alas, no. He hits an electric line, and as 500,000 volts course through his body, he becomes visible momentarily and we see it is Brad Pitt.
"We just thought, how fun would it be?" screenwriter Paul Wernick told CBR. "They don’t know that the guy’s actually in the room, or is he in the room? With the parachute and so forth. The Brad Pitt cameo was actually very, very late in post process. It was the last thing we shot on the Fox lot."
"The very last footage we shot in the movie was of Brad," added his collaborator, Rhett Reese. "He basically said, 'I’ll do it for scale and a cup of Starbucks — but Ryan’s got to go get the Starbucks for me.' So Ryan’s literally delivering the Starbucks to Brad. It was so funny. Two A-list superstars getting coffee together and working for scale. It was pretty fun."
Directed by David Leitch, Deadpool 2 features Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Stefan Kapičić as the voice of Colossus, and Karan Soni as Dopinder, with newcomers Zazie Beetz as Domino, Josh Brolin as Cable, Julian Dennison as Russell and Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy. The film arrives Friday in theaters nationwide.