Now that Deadpool is out, audience attention has quickly turned to his next outing. It’s already confirmed to include another fan favorite character: Cable. Yes, the badass teleporting half techo-organic mutant time-paradox Cable.
Cable has been around in X-Men books for years, but has only just now been announced to make his first live action appearance. His long history and involvement in the source material for just about every story Fox is adapting for the X-Men universe over the next few years makes this the perfect time for him to make his big screen debut.
In the wild, crazy, and paradoxical continuity that is X-Men, Cable’s story is one of the wilder, crazier, and most paradoxical you will find, so fasten your seatbelt and pay attention, because you’re about to read Everything You Need to Know About Cable.
11 He’s the Biological Son of Cyclops and Jean Grey… Sort of
During a mission in outer space, Jean Grey makes a sacrificial play to save the rest of the X-Men team from dangerous radiation, and in the process joins with the Phoenix Force. The Phoenix Force is a powerful cosmic entity that ultimately becomes corrupted, and creates a confrontation with the X-Men. Struggling against said corruption, Jean’s latent personality fights through and causes the Phoenix Force to self destruct, apparently killing Jean.
A short time later, Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, who is still not over the perceived loss of Jean, meets Madelyn Pryor. Madelyn bears a striking resemblance to Jean, and he immediately falls in love and the two marry. Not long after, Madelyn gives birth to a child, Nathan Christopher Summers, who grows up to be the mutant Cable.
Shortly after Nathan’s birth, Jean Grey reappears, causing Scott to abandon his family. This triggers a chain of events that would cause Madelyn to learn that she’s actually a clone of Jean Grey, breaking her spirits and causing her to team with a demonic entity that goes up against the X-Men. In the ensuing battle, Madelyn is telepathically linked with Jean, and attempts suicide in an attempt to kill them both. Jean survives the ordeal, but the telepathic link caused her memories to merge with Madelyn’s, giving her a maternal instinct to care for Nathan. After all, he’s technically her biological son, right?
10 Cable is Infected With a Flesh Consuming Techno-Organic Virus
Not long after the death of Madelyn Pryor, the villain Apocalypse arrives and kidnaps baby Nathan Summers, injecting him with a techno-organic virus. This virus works by slowly turning its victim’s flesh into technology until he or she eventually dies.
At this time, a being from the future that goes by the name Askani arrives and explains to Scott and Jean that she has the ability to save Nathan if they let her take him two thousand years forward in time to a place where they supposedly have the ability to heal him. Knowing the present definitely doesn’t have the technology necessary to save Nathan, Scott and Jean allow her to take him.
9 One of His Biggest Enemies is His Own Clone
Fearing baby Nathan wouldn’t survive the healing procedure, Askani has Nathan cloned as a precaution. During the cloning, Apocalypse attacks (he has the worst timing!), and kidnaps Nathan’s clone, believing it to be the original Nathan Summers.
The clone grows up under the tutelage of Apocalypse and eventually takes the name Stryfe, becoming a long-running nemesis for Cable. Initially, Cable doesn’t even know he has a clone, so Stryfe’s existence causes a lot of trouble for the techno organic mutant. Stryfe even attempted to assassinate Charles Xavier by infecting him with a techno-organic virus (it’s a common occurrence around Cable. Maybe it’s contagious). Since Stryfe and Cable share a face, and nobody knew Cable had a clone - including Cable himself - he quickly lands in some fairly hot water, but he’s never been on the best of terms with the X-Men anyway.
8 His Familial Circumstances Are Weird and Confusing
If you didn’t pick up on this already, Cable has some pretty complicated family relationships. As an infant, he’s taken to the future by Askani, who turns out to be Rachel Summers, his half-sister. Er. Biological sister. From another timeline. She’s the alternate-future daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, from whom Nathan’s mother was cloned. Anyway, she takes him two thousand years into the future, where he’s raised by by new parents, Slym and Redd.
But there’s a twist. Slym and Redd, it just so happens, are actually Scott and Jean. Sort of. Back in the 20th century, they had just gotten married and were on their honeymoon, when Askani (their alternate timeline daughter) brings their consciousness into the future, where they step into new bodies and raise Nathan until the age of 12. Of course, they never tell him they’re his real parents (well, almost his real parents. Jean is only a genetic match for his mother and also carries her memories. We’ve been over this).
Upon traveling back to the 20th century, he ends up confronting Cyclops for letting Askani take him away. At this point in the timeline, Scott and Jean hadn’t yet married or traveled to the future to raise him, so even Scott doesn’t know what’s happening - yet. Scott explains how hard it was to let Askani take him, and Cable reconciles with him and later attends Scott and Jean’s wedding. Perhaps that means it’s not as weird as it sounds. Jean is technically like his stepmother. His totally normal stepmother.
If that’s not convoluted enough, he also shoots his own son and rescues himself as a baby. I told you - his family life is complicated. The Summers family thanksgiving dinners must be a sight to behold.
7 He is Apocalypse's Arch Enemy
If the Summers family tree wasn’t already confusing enough, enter Mr. Sinister. Sinister was a geneticist who had a bad history with Apocalypse and wanted revenge. Because he desires to defeat Apocalypse by creating the most powerful mutant, he tries to pull strings from a distance and push Scott and Jean into a romantic relationship. He knows the powers of their offspring would be unrivaled.
After Jean Grey’s apparent death, he took her clone - of course he has backups - and implanted it with the name and memories of Madelyn Pryor. After Nathan is born and Scott abandons them to rejoin the X-Men, it is Sinister that reveals to Madelyn that she's actually Jean's clone. He then kidnaps Nathan and experiments on him for several months before he is temporarily rescued by Cyclops.
Sinister had plans to reclaim baby Nathan, but Nathan was so powerful that his birth had awoken Apocalypse (the one he was essentially bred to kill), and Apocalypse injects Nathan with the techno-organic virus before Sinister could reclaim him.
Destroying Apocalypse is typically Cable’s singular focus. He even goes as far as to travel back in time to infect a young Apocalypse with a techno-organic virus. Yup. The same techno-organic virus he got when Apocalypse infects him with as a baby. Don’t ask how that works.
6 He’s Not a Huge Team Player, But He Plays on a Lot of Teams
Cable might appear to be the type that prefers to work alone, but he has a long history of being involved with multiple teams. When he first travels back to the 20th century as an adult, it’s to track down his clone, Stryfe. He forms a group called the Wild Pack, but quickly discovers the name is already taken, so he changes it to Six Pack. Of course the '80s action hero macho techno-organic mutant names his group Six Pack. The group is typified by excessive violence, and often leaves a trail of carnage in its wake.
After a brief solo stint, Cable becomes the new leader of Charles Xavier’s young X-Men successors, the New Mutants. He sees the potential the New Mutants have to aid him in his war on Stryfe, so he reorganizes the group into X-Force.
With a New Mutants movie in the works and constant chatter of a potential X-Force movie, there’s a lot of room for Cable in Fox’s upcoming slate of X-Men movies.
5 He’s a Father Figure to the Mutant Messiah
After a major event that sees the vast majority of mutants depowered by Scarlet Witch, a new female Mutant is born. Deemed by some to be the mutant messiah, Cable takes it upon himself to protect her. Taking the infant under his wing, he begins jumping through time, hiding out and raising the child, giving her the name Hope.
Cable manages to evade danger and protect Hope until she is in her late teens, at which point he decides to return her to the present, only to find it overrun with sentinels from a future timeline. Of course. Why not?
Upon leading a team into the future on a mission to destroy the source of the sentinels, Master Mold, the only route to return to the past begins closing, and it cannot be opened by organic entities. Relinquishing his psionic resistance, which has been keeping the techno-organic virus at bay, Cable allows himself to be overtaken entirely, becoming a purely technological entity. He holds the portal open long enough to see Hope and the other mutants travel through before apparently disintegrating into metal particles.
3 He Took on The Avengers Single Handedly
Of course, this is a comic-book, so it’s later revealed that Cable didn’t actually die. He was merely teleported further into the future. Now, completely overtaken by the virus, Cable only has 24 hours to live - like some sort of techno-organic time-hopping mutant Jack Bauer, but better. He’s been teleported to an apocalyptic future. An apocalypse that was supposed to have been prevented by Hope. He quickly learns that this disastrous outcome was only possible because Hope had been killed in an accident caused by the Avengers.
Keeping Hope’s protection as his singular focus for his few remaining hours, Cable makes his way back to the present with plans to stop the Avengers. He takes out Falcon, Captain America, Iron Man, and Red Hulk before his father and surrogate daughter, Cyclops and Hope, arrive and subdue him enough to garner a truce with the Avengers. Anger issues, anyone?
Hope is able to absorb the techno-organic virus, completely removing it from Cable’s system and dispersing it. Cable warns Cyclops of what he learned about the Avengers and makes Cyclops promise to continue to protect Hope.
This is one of the true travesties of the current dispersion of Marvel movie rights. Techno-organic Cable single handedly taking out most of the Avengers on the big screen sounds like it would fit in well with this summer’s slate of comic book beat downs. You might want to check your pulse if you don’t think that would be awesome.
2 He’s One of the Most Powerful Mutants, but Can Rarely Demonstrate His Powers
Cable’s natural psionic powers were arguably the most powerful in the entire X-Men universe. Unfortunately, most of this power is tied up in holding back incursions from the techno-organic virus. It’s not all bad, though. He also gets added strength from the virus, and is able to utilize it to interface with machines and other electronics like he’s a beefy R2-D2.
Since he’s from the future, Cable has an arsenal of super high-tech gadgets that allow him to time-hop and teleport, in addition to futuristic weapons, which he can handle with adept precision. Much of this technology is facilitated by his old ship turned moon-base, Greymalkin.
At one point, Cable gains an advanced mastery of his mutant abilities, allowing him to devote much less focus to fending off his infection. This enables him to utilize more of his telekinetic and telepathic abilities, which are so powerful that he uses them to enforce a state of utopia across the entire Earth.
Some of Earth’s heroes grew uncomfortable with this power, despite the fact that all their needs were apparently met by the imposed utopia. They eventually became concerned Cable wouldn’t remain benevolent forever. Cable soon found himself in a confrontation with Silver Surfer, one of the Marvel universe’s most powerful characters. During the fight, he was combating Silver Surfer while simultaneously repairing all the collateral damage caused by their battle. Eventually, he’s overcome by the Silver Surfer, but he did put up quite an effort. He even destroyed the Silver Surfer’s surfboard, which is so not cool.
After this defeat, Cable asked Deadpool to partially lobotomize him, diminishing his ability to use his own telepathy. He later finds technological substitutes for his mental powers, but obviously at a significantly lower power level.
1 He Has a Long History With Deadpool
Cable and Deadpool have a long history together, so it makes sense that he would show up in a Deadpool sequel. The Cable & Deadpool series ran for almost 4 years, and they were ranked in Marvel’s official top 10 Best Buddy Teams list. Despite the popularity, the series had trouble keeping a consistent production team in place. Possibly because it’s hard to tell significant multi-story arcs when your main characters are more like The Odd Couple than the A-Team.
While Cable is normally known for his focus on fighting Stryfe, or his efforts to save the world from Apocalypse, Cable & Deadpool is more like a buddy cop series. It’s devoted more to hijinks than saving the world from any sort of large-scale danger. Deapool’s irreverence and non-stop motor-mouth obviously serve as a major contrast to Cable’s super serious grit. And only your best friend can be trusted to perform your brain surgery, so they have that going for them.
Clearly, Cable would be the most excellent addition to any live-action universe. Are you a Cable fan? Are there any particular stories you'd love to see with him in the Deadpool sequel? Let us know in the comments!