WARNING: The following article contains potential spoilers for Deadpool 2, arriving May 18 in theaters nationwide.
The trailers for the highly anticipated Deadpool 2 have answered a lot of questions, about the lineup of the cinematic X-Force, about Cable's motivations for traveling back in time, and about the status of Dopinder's taxi license. But one big mystery remains: Who is the kid played by Julian Dennison of Hunt for the Wilderpeople? Early speculation had landed on the film's own twist on Hope Summers, the mutant messiah from Marvel comics, but that theory fizzled with the release of the most recent trailer. However, a new TV spot points us to another corner of the X-Men universe.
In a promo that debuted Sunday during the season finale of The Walking Dead, Deadpool mentions the character's name for the first time. Previously referred to only as "the kid," he's now Russell. Paired with footage from the latest trailer, in which he's depicted with glowing hands standing amid flames and an overturned police car, leads us to one conclusion: He's Russell "Rusty" Collins.
— Deadpool Movie (@deadpoolmovie) April 16, 2018
Introduced in 1986 in Marvel's X-Factor #1, Rusty is a mutant with pyrokinetic abilities who was taken into the care of X-Factor, who original X-Men who masqueraded as mutant hunters. He later became a founder of the X-Terminators, comprised primarily of students rescued by X-Factor, and then a member of Magento's Acolytes. Alas, Rusty was killed in 1995, in X-Men #42, by Holocaust.
Aside from his name and apparent powers, Dennison's character doesn't appear to have a lot in common with comics' Russell Collins, beyond his fugitive status. But of course, the Deadpool franchise already has a history of giving comic book characters a significant makeover, as the 2016 movie did with the then-relatively obscure X-Men figure Negasonic Teenage Warhead (played by Brianna Hildebrand).
It's certainly possible Dennison is playing another pyrokinetic mutant named Russell, but Russell "Rusty" Collins now seems the most likely candidate. However, the question remains why Josh Brolin's Cable wants him dead -- badly enough to travel back through time to track him down and kill him.
Debuting May 18, director David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular Deadpool, Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, T.J. Miller as Weasel, Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Stefan Kapičić as Colossus, Zazie Beetz as Domino and Josh Brolin as Cable.