It's hard to believe it's taken this long. I feel old. Almost seven years ago, a number of weeks before X-Men Origins: Wolverine would open in theaters to crush the souls of many hardcore fans, there was quite a lot of buzz surrounding Ryan Reynolds' role in the picture.
Reynolds was playing Wade Wilson and marketing materials depicted him as some odd, not-really-from-the-comics antagonist for Hugh Jackman's Logan to battle against. Reshoots had reportedly added more screen time for Reynolds' character - an inexplicable variant of Deadpool in an effort to position Deadpool for a potential spinoff. Given the status of the X-Men franchise at the time, and of the superhero movie genre as a whole (the MCU was just beginning back then), we pitched a different, more bankable idea. Instead of Deadpool, "why not Cable & Deadpool?"
The actual title of that piece was A Deadpool Spinoff? How About ‘Cable & Deadpool?’ and it was published around the time Twentieth Century Fox and X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner were first developing X-Men: First Class. We were already thinking back then of smart ways to play with time and connect these spinoffs.
Fast forward to this week, seven years later, and Deadpool is actually here. I've seen it. It's really good. It legitimately presents Deadpool as he should exist in a live-action universe and fans are embracing it. The early reviews are generally positive and the box office tracking is impressive enough that the studio is already at work on Deadpool 2, with the same writers (Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) penning the screenplay.
That was a given and when this news becomes official, it's a safe bet that all the key players will be back. Reynolds undoubtedly signed a multi-pic deal with the studio and will help produce again off another screenplay from Reese and Wernick, and Tim Miller will likely return to direct. All of these people have had ideas for sequels in mind for a long time, partially because they had so long to think about it. This creative team has been attached to Deadpool for the better part of a decade, and every single one of them has repeatedly listed one thing that's a "must" for Deadpool 2. Can you guess what - or who - it is?
Surprising no one who's read an X-Men comic, Cable is going to be in Deadpool 2. Miller said last August,"If we don’t put Cable in Deadpool 2 I think we’ll be run out of town on a rail." And Cable was the immediate one-word response from the writers when I spoke with them on the set of Deadpool last May. And to top it off, Cable is someone Reynolds talks about now like he did those seven years ago.
***Potential Deadpool Franchise Spoilers Ahead!***
And then of course, there's a secret second post-credits scene in Deadpool that was held back from the press, reserved for the film's public release Friday (or Thursday night if you could find an early screening). That extra button scene is all about Cable. It doesn't actually show Cable (he's not been cast) but it makes it clear he'll be in Deadpool 2. If this pans out, Fox should take a page from Marvel Studios (think Ant-Man and the Wasp) and simply name it Cable & Deadpool, after the multi-volume comic series.
If they're planning this out right, using Deadpool 2 to introduce Cable allows producer and franchise overseer Simon Kinberg to bring back the time-travelling hero for The New Mutants (where he got his intro in Marvel Comics) which of course, could lead-in to X-Force.
Fox commissioned scripts for both The New Mutants and X-Force, the latter coming first in line with Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) penning a script featuring a 5-mutant team but was halted in favor of X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool, but the former currently has a director in Josh Boone attached but sits without a release date.
A new take on X-Force with a revised (or entirely new) script could be in the cards though. Ryan Reynolds says that X-Force is a "priority" for him. Developing X-Force as another team franchise is best move possible for Fox since the core X-Men movies are still set in the past, and their other team franchise (Fantastic Four) is dead in the water.
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.
Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
The film is directed by Tim Miller, from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Ryan Reynolds stars, along with Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Yorick Van Wageningen, Gina Carano and Brianna Hildebrand. Producers include Simon Kinberg, Reynolds and Lauren Shuler Donner.
Update: We've seen the second post-credits scene and updated accordingly.