Just weeks after Avengers: Infinity War used its shiny gauntlet to drop the mic on superhero cinema, the follow-up to the unexpected hit Deadpool attempted to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. They had a lot riding against them: losing the director who made the first film a hit, over-saturation of the character and critics already writing their “lacks the originality of the first film” reviews months before footage even aired. Factor in Fox’s delaying of their other X-Men films, including New Mutants, and it was easy to believe that Deadpool 2 would arrive not with a bang but with a whimper, greeted with a collective shrug and a sense that the joke had run its course.
Instead, Deadpool 2 defied all odds, drawing critical praise, knocking Avengers: Infinity War from its #1 spot and sparking profuse enthusiasm for every new character from Cable to Domino to, yes, even Peter. After the credits rolled and the timeline was fixed, we found ourselves with some lingering questions about the future of the Fox franchise. Heads up: Spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, get to your cinema, then come on back. We’ll still be here… unlike Vanisher. Too soon?
15. WILL WE EVER SEE X-FORCE AGAIN?
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Of course we will see some iteration of X-Force again, as Fox has already green-lit the film; not to mention Deadpool 2 brilliantly sets up Cable and Domino to carry that franchise forward. But what of Terry Crews’ Bedlam, Lewis Tan’s Shatterstar, Bill Skarsgard’s Zeitgeist and… well, whoever that was playing Vanisher (such a small role, it hardly matters)? We only ever see Wade rescue Peter during his time-hopping epilogue, and he’d gone so far as to express distaste for Shatterstar (which… fair), but are we to believe this was the “last stand” for Crews and crew?
On the one hand, it would make sense to include this line-up simply to spare the audience having to be introduced to a whole slew of new characters and hope they like them. Skarsgard is a star on the rise after IT and everybody loves Terry Crews, so why not use the assets when you’ve got them on hand? That said, the film kind of goes out of its way to examine just how absurd these characters are, particularly Shatterstar (’90s comic fans in the theatre all collectively sighed at the mention of “Mojoworld”). Concept art for X-Force includes Warpath, Feral and Cannonball alongside Cable and Domino, and rumors of Psylocke or X-23 being added to the roster keep swirling. We’ll just have to wait and see who answers the ad this time.
14. SO TIME TRAVEL IS A THING NOW?
Of course, this isn’t the first time time travel has popped up in the X-Men universe. Days of Future Past used it to adapt a classic storyline while erasing Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand from continuity, before X-Men: Apocalypse undid all that continuity-fixing and promptly erased itself from our collective memories. Days of Future Past, however, had very particular rules about its time travel, and presented it as a much more complex, involved and selective act.
Deadpool 2 is far more free-wheeling with its time travel, which raises a number of potential issues for the franchise as a whole.
One could argue that Deadpool 2 undoes the bulk of its emotional weight by swiftly undoing the death of Vanessa and minimizing Deadpool’s sacrifice for the sake of Russell; however, it already took you on the ride, so it hardly matters for Deadpool 2 if the stakes are undone after the story concludes. For the sake of a larger franchise, though, it’s like the time turner in Harry Potter: a glaring solution to literally every problem going forward. How are we meant to care if our heroes stumble, err or even die in X-Force if we know it can be corrected at the push of a button?
13. WAS VANESSA MEANT TO STAY DEAD?
“Film Twitter” as it’s come to be known, can often be little more than a cesspool of speculation and conjecture. Some egg-avatar account will pop up claiming to have seen a test screening of the next big blockbuster, expound on why it’s the greatest disaster since Peter Parker did a dance number, and the rest of the web takes it as fact. Months before its release, the ‘net was abuzz with talk that an early test-screening of Deadpool 2 had flopped with crowds, and singled out the early and abrupt death of Vanessa as a reason.
Later rumored test-screenings were supposedly far better received, and reflected how the film was generally viewed upon release. But one has to wonder, based on the somewhat slapdash nature of the post-credits scene and how the film never really telegraphs that sudden reversal, if perhaps Vanessa was meant to stay dead? Considering the talk of an original post-credits scene involving Deadpool killing Hitler, and the almost Obi-Wan-esque dynamic they create for the ghost of Deadpool’s lost-love, it seems the film was aiming for a heftier toll in terms of Vanessa’s loss that the audience just wasn’t willing to pay. One has to wonder if once producers realized they’d “fridged the girl,” they went about rectifying it before audiences revolted.
12. WHAT EFFECT WILL DEADPOOL HAVE ON X-FORCE?
The prospect of an X-Force movie is likely very exciting to the segment of comic book fans who like their mutant superhero teams with a bit more grit and a lot more pouches on their costumes. Exemplifying the ’90s like nothing else could, X-Force’s membership would include such memorable breakout characters as Deadpool, Cable, Domino and… U Go Girl? The truth is, X-Force was full of characters who looked cool, made for great Toy Biz figures but, at the risk of enraging an aging fanbase clinging to their “too cool” youth…kinda sucked.
How do you avoid X-Force merely becoming Deadpool 3?
Let’s face it, Josh Brolin is a marvelously compelling actor who’s stolen scenes in everything from True Grit to Milk (check out the “pancake scene” in Inherent Vice for proof) and even he couldn’t wrench the spotlight away from Ryan Reynolds’ merc with a mouth. So what chance do Dr. Nemesis or G.W. Bridge have of holding their own in an X-Force film? How do you avoid X-Force merely becoming Deadpool 3? We’d argue you’d need someone equally as captivating, as fun and as downright bonkers as Wade Wilson in order to grab the audience’s focus from him; and there’s really only one answer. We, the people, demand Doop.
11. SO…WHAT TIMELINE ARE WE IN?
Ever since X-Men: The Last Stand displayed some disregard for continuity and then First Class threw everything out of whack, fans have tried to pin down the X-franchise to a singular timeline. Days of Future Past sort of attempted to right the ship, but even then fans were already wondering why nobody seemed to age from the ‘60s to the ‘70s. By the time we reached the ‘80s set Apocalypse, nobody even seemed phased that Xavier and Magneto barely had a touch of grey in 20 years.
But the cameo appearance by the new X-Men in Deadpool 2 adds an entirely new layer of confusion to the mix. Not only have none of the characters aged in the near 30 years since Apocalypse, but this now seems to confirm what characters are sure to survive next year’s Dark Phoenix and raise the question of why none of them resemble the versions of themselves in the “present day” we saw at the end of Days of Future Past, where Xavier was played by the much older Patrick Stewart. Deadpool worked because the character existed on the periphery of an unclear X-Men universe. The more specifics that get brought to the table, the more confusing it becomes to determine the logic of the larger X-Men franchise. Of course, one could argue “Who cares? It’s just a joke, don’t take things too seriously,” but those people wouldn’t understand how comic fans get about continuity.
10. THE LEGION CONNECTION?
If you’re not watching Noah Hawley’s brilliant adaptation of Legion on FX, we don’t know what to tell you, other than you’re doing it wrong. After all the critical praise and subreddits abuzz with various theories and episode dissections, if that didn’t win you over, we’re not sure what could. Except maybe that it’s tied into the Deadpool franchise now (cue Deadpool gasping gif)!
That’s right! Deadpool 2 and Legion are definitely linked!
Well… sort of… possibly… maybe… we think? Here’s the deal: Legion already tipped its hat to Deadpool 2 by mentioning “the Lazarus affair” in Season 2. Lazarus is a mind-control powered subject of government experiments and the brother of Domino, who of course features prominently in Deadpool 2. But lest you think this is an MCU-esque connection, where the TV acknowledges the movies but not the other way around, note that when Deadpool is flung into the Essex Home for Mutant Rehabilitation Center, he interrupts a boy eating cereal. The boy in that scene is child actor Luke Roessler, best known for playing young David Haller on Legion. Since Legion as a show is seemingly unmoored from a traditional sense of time, it’s distinctly possible that we’re getting a glimpse of young David before his adoption by the Hallers.
9. WHERE’S THE ACTION AT?
There’s plenty of great action in Deadpool 2, for sure. You hire one of the folks behind John Wick and you’re gonna get some absolutely dazzling action sequences, inarguably even sharper and more inventive than the first film. And at a nice, lean two hours on the dot, we’re hardly going to suggest that Deadpool 2 needed to cram in any arbitrary footage. But looking back at the trailers for Deadpool 2, we couldn’t help but wonder what happened to all that footage of Bedlam and Shatterstar in action?
Naturally, it’s possible that scenes were shot of them fighting that ended up on the cutting room floor. Plenty of action films cut extraneous scenes to trim down the run time. However, the footage from the trailer shows both Bedlam and Shatterstar battling armed soldiers in a city street. In the film, the only time the X-Force is in action is when they parachute from the helicopter and all die horrifically. It’s hard to imagine, based on how brilliantly the joke plays, that the team members were ever meant to survive past that drop, which leads us to conclude that the footage may have been shot exclusively for the trailer to deliberately throw off viewers when the team met their untimely end.
8. WHAT HAPPENS TO RUSSELL?
At the end of Deadpool 2, we see Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yokio go off to take most of the children from the Essex Home for Mutant Rehabilitation Center off to Xavier’s school, but Russell walks away with Deadpool and his crew. Of course, for the sake of the ending, it works to reinforce the idea of “family” as the narration had suggested, but it did leave us wondering where Russell would ultimately wind up, both in terms of the franchise and within the X-Men universe as a whole.
Of course, given his youth and inexperience, Xavier’s would be a perfect fit for the young mutant to grow and thrive.
Indeed, the school that housed Logan would be used to the temperamental and destructive. It’s certainly a better fit than the more reckless and adult-oriented X-Force; then again, Peter wasn’t a good fit for X-Force either, and he proved to be a key member of the team. Wade, in effect, functioned as sort of a surrogate father to Russell throughout the film, and given that he and Vanessa’s talk about having a kid, it might make sense for Wade to take him under his wing and offer guidance in whatever twisted way he can.
7. WHAT’S CABLE’S STORY?
Leading up to Deadpool 2, many wondered how bogged down the film would get with Cable’s insanely convoluted backstory. In the comics he’s the child of Scott Summers and a mutant named Madeline Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey, who was sent into the future, came back an elite soldier and squared off with his nemesis Stryfe, who he was actually the genetic template for. In the classic X-Men: The Animated Series, they simply made him a soldier from the future sent back to battle Apocalypse.
The film glazes over the “origin story” of the iconic character, with nary a mention of a techno-virus nor parentage of any kind. That said, the film also never negates any of those facts, nor does it offer any alternative answers. Sure, the way Cable retrieves his weapons could be telekinesis, or it could be some technological answer. Deadpool makes a comment about “robot arms” but it’s never properly explained where it came from. And this Cable does mention a daughter named Hope, so it’s surely possible that a later film could fill in the blanks with a comics-accurate backstory if they so choose. But really, most of us could also live without revisiting those headache-inducing twists and turns of ’90s Marvel writing.
6. HAVE WE SEEN PETER BEFORE?
Domino and Cable each made a significant impression on viewers, but the undeniable breakout star of Deadpool 2 was Peter. The casual, hapless hero who just happened to answer an ad took the internet by storm from his first trailer appearance. But what could have been a one-note joke turned out to be an impressively compelling character once we saw him survive his landing and valiantly try to rescue Zeitgeist from the wood chipper.
Fox clearly knew they had a hit on their hands with Peter, even giving the character his own Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Scrolling through these fictionalized (and frequently updated) accounts gives us a lot of info on the aforementioned ad-answerer, including his bee-keeping hobby, his wife’s strong bond with her personal trainer, and that his last name starts with W. Of course, that could just be short for any last name, but given how many little references there have been to the broader X-Men universe, we think this could mean that our bee-keepin’ boy is none other than Peter Wisdom, the hot knife throwing mutant from Excalibur. Sure, this Peter may not be able to throw blades of energy, but he does have both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, so it all evens out.
5. WILL JUGGERNAUT RETURN?
One of the best surprise additions to the Deadpool 2 cast was Juggernaut, listed in the credits as “Himself” but played by Ryan Reynolds. In a movie full of jokes, Juggernaut was actually played with an impressive degree of restraint and reserve (for a franchise full of vulgarity, he never once uttered a line as absurd as “I’m the Juggernaut, b—“ from the infamous X-Men: The Last Stand). Well, he was, right up until an electrical cable was inserted firmly where the sun don’t shine and he was shoved into a pool, presumably to be electrocuted to death.
However, in the final moments, we see the body of Juggernaut rise to the surface of the pool, leaving it open as to whether we’ll see the iconic character again. Was that simply showing his body floating to the surface, or was there life yet left in the stepbrother of Professor X? And if he survived the shock, is there a chance the character will return to the Deadpool franchise? Unlike the primary X-Men series, Deadpool’s place on the periphery of the X-universe means the escaped mutant threat might be a one-and-done for Deadpool, leaving his further exploits to be stopped by the more traditionally heroic mutants.
4. IS MR. SINISTER EVER COMING?
Our first tease of Mr. Sinister came at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, when we saw agents from the Essex Corporation take Wolverine’s blood in the aftermath of pretty much the only scene you remember from X-Men: Apocalypse. We thought it was a teaser for the next X-Men movie, but were told “Psych, that’s gonna be Dark Phoenix.” Then we thought it might factor into Logan, but all we wound up with from that was a beautiful evocative character drama. Or perhaps, we thought, we would get a teaser for New Mutants, a film that may or may not ever come out now, it seems.
But then that first Deadpool 2 teaser dropped… and things got even more confusing.
Paying tribute to the late Bob Ross, the trailer flashed Mr. Sinister’s symbol on the canvas, leaving us all to wonder if this would finally be the film we got him. Not so much, as the closest connection we could find to the villainous foe was a reference to Essex in the name of the orphanage. Was he originally intended to appear in the film, and wound up on the cutting room floor? Did the trailer include his symbol just to fake us out? And will we ever actually see him onscreen? You’re killing us, Fox.
3. WILL DOPINDER REPLACE WEASEL?
One of the breakout fan favorites in the first Deadpool, Dopinder returned with a thirst for justice in Deadpool 2. However, before he became a full-fledged vigilante, he had to serve under Weasel at Sister Margaret’s, doing menial labor in a presumably Miyagi-esque scenario. The dynamic between the two most readily calls to mind that between Desmond Llewelyn’s Q and John Cleese’s R in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, when Cleese was brought in to “phase out” the elderly Llewelyn (who would subsequently pass shortly after the film).
One has to wonder if, intentionally or not, this creates an opportunity for Fox (or eventually Disney) to replace Weasel with Dopinder outright. Why would they do this? On the surface level, Dopinder is a relatively more popular character within the franchise, but there’s also the matter of the man behind Weasel, TJ Miller. Miller has courted controversy recently after some allegations came to light, and the studio is probably desperate to take such a problematic figure out of their tentpole franchise. Now, if you think Miller shouldn’t be penalized for the detailed sexual assault allegations that came out, keep in mind Miller also allegedly harassed a woman on a commuter train and then called in a bomb threat in an attempt to get her arrested. And if you still don’t think that’s a problem… well, it’s just surprising you took time out of writing your “Incel Manifesto” to read this. For the rest of us, we’d be very happy to relegate Miller to Emoji movies.
2. CAN DEADPOOL SURVIVE AT DISNEY?
The prospect of a Disney/Fox merger raised a lot of questions like “Will the X-Men be in the MCU?” and “Will we get the original Star Wars cuts on Blu-Ray?” and “No, surely the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 in conjunction with the Brown Shoe Co., Inc. v. United States (370 U.S. 294) decision of 1962 would deem such a merger illegal, and even an administration as economically laissez-faire as the Trump administration would have to recognize the blatantly anti-competitive nature of it all and halt everything before a single media conglomerate becomes too powerful to dismantle, right?”
Can a character so morally questionable survive in the hands of a company desperate to maintain its image wholesomeness?
But the biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether a squeaky-clean family company like Disney would allow such a playful naughty, deliciously foul-mouthed franchise like Deadpool to be released under its banner. Can a character so financially successful but morally questionable survive in the hands of a company desperate to maintain such a precise and unflinching image of purity and wholesomeness? Will Disney maintain the Fox properties at an arms-length relationship, like the one-time ownership of Miramax, profiting off of films like the similarly graphic Kill Bill while never officially considering it a “Disney film”? Or will Disney sew Wade’s mouth shut once more?
1. CAN THE X-MEN SURVIVE DEADPOOL?
We’re not saying “survive” in the traditional sense. There’s no fear that Deadpool will just murder all the X-Men like Xavier with a migraine, much as we’d love a Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe movie. What we mean is can a franchise so tonally different to the Deadpool series survive the further integration of a character who exists solely to dissect and critique the very world he inhabits? Introducing X-Men into Deadpool’s world is complex enough, but merging the self-aware world of Deadpool with the self-serious X-Men franchise, as it has already begun doing, is a riskier proposal.
Part of what makes Deadpool work is his existence on the sidelines of the X-universe. He’s an observer, just like us, and occasionally has some rather strong opinions he feels the need to voice. The problem is that once the pin goes in that “suspension of disbelief” balloon and takes all the air out, there’s no getting it back in. In a film like Deadpool 2, he can make a crack about mutants being a hackish ‘60s metaphor for racism and it plays, but introduce that same line in an X-Men (or even X-Force) movie and it suddenly becomes impossible to ever invest in those serious parallels again. One has to wonder if audiences will be able to take seriously a fictional world where one of its own characters can’t take anything seriously.
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