WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers for Deadpool 2, in theaters now.
Ever since the post-credits scene of 2016's Deadpool, we knew (or at least strongly suspected) that Nathan Summers, aka Cable, would be joining Wade Wilson in the sequel. This was great news for longtime fans, since the two characters are known to have a fun dynamic in the comic books. So while the pairing made perfect sense, the big question was how the time-traveling character would factor into the film's universe.
In the convoluted history of the X-Men, Cable has a particularly convoluted backstory. The son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey), Cable was born in the present -- but as an infant, he was taken to the far future, where it was hoped that a cure could be found for his techno-organic virus infection, which came at the hands of Apocalypse. And that's just for starters.
It seemed obvious Deadpool 2 would streamline Cable's past in order to have him fit organically into the story and X-film continuity. Would he still be the son of Cyclops? Would he be connected to the X-Men? And why would he time-travel to the present? In a somewhat surprising but logical move, the movie didn't spend much time digging into that minutiae. Instead, it cut right to the heart of the story, and gave us a simpler take on Cable that informed the emotional narrative of the film.
Deadpool 2 turned Cable into a tragic figure, and his story tugged at our heartstrings in a way we simply didn't see coming.
It's not exactly made clear what type of future Cable comes from. It's neither a utopia nor a dystopian hellhole. Cable doesn't make it his mission to travel back in time and save the mutant race from extinction, or to prevent the destruction of the planet. Instead, his goal is much more personal.