Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Deadpool 2
There is a character called Cable in Deadpool 2, but his backstory is nothing like the character from the original New Mutants or X-Force books where Cable first appeared in 1990. This was a wise move on the part of the Deadpool 2 screenwriters, as the classic Cable's background is ludicrously complicated, even by the standards of American superhero comics.
We learn surprisingly little about the Cable of Deadpool 2 over the course of the movie. We know he's from the not-too-distant future and that he has a job working as some kind of soldier. We know that he has a wife and a daughter named Hope, and that they are brutally slain by a mutant called Firefist. This prompts Cable to travel into the past, so that he can destroy Firefist during his awkward teen years, before he takes his first steps toward becoming the supervillain that destiny dictates. We also discover that Cable suffers from some kind of medical condition that is slowly turning his body into metal.
Related: Josh Brolin Interview: Deadpool 2
While the original Cable in the comics was a soldier from the future who suffered from a similar disease, and he also traveled back in time because of a villain who menaced his family, it is here the similarities end. The Cable of the comics came from 2000 years in the future and had a son named Tyler. This Cable traveled into the modern day Marvel Comics universe in pursuit of the villain who slew Cable's wife and kidnapped his son. Beyond these minute differences, Cable has an incredibly complex and convoluted history.
Cable was born in the modern day Marvel Universe as Nathan Summers. He was the son of X-Men leader Scott "Cyclops" Summers and Madelyn Pryor - a clone of Scott's longtime girlfriend, Jean Grey, who was created by the supervillain Mister Sinister as part of his efforts to breed a genetically perfect mutant. Madelyn proved to be a less than ideal mother, attempting to sacrifice young Nathan to a demon. Later, Mister Sinister intended to raise Nathan to be the ultimate weapon against the villain Apocalypse, only for Apocalypse to infect Nathan with a techno-organic virus that threatened to painfully transform him into a man of living metal before killing him.
Thankfully, Nathan was saved by Clan Askani - a sisterhood from the future who were dedicated to fighting Apocalypse. They took Nathan 2000 years into the future, where they were able to save him by training him to use his considerable psychic powers to hold his disease in check and prevent it from spreading further. Unbeknownst to Nathan, The Mother Askani was a woman named Rachel Summers - his half-sister from another alternate future, who ordered a clone be made of Nathan in case he could not be saved. This clone was later abducted by Apocalypse, who raised the clone as his own son, naming him Stryfe.
The Askani Clan trained young Nathan in the arts of war, believing him to be the Chosen One destined to destroy Apocalypse. Nathan learned well, successfully destroying Apocalypse and settling down with his wife and son. It was then that Stryfe attacked Cable's family and fled to the past with Tyler in tow. Nathan followed after him, finding himself in the days before the existence of mutants was widely known.
Interestingly enough, Nathan was given lessons on how to blend in to 20th century society by Charles Xavier, in exchange for his help in building a high tech security system for the school Xavier was building. Nathan adopted the name Cable as a reference to him being a link between the present and the future and went on to live the life of a mercenary while trying to find his son and Stryfe. This led to his later partnerships with X-Force and Deadpool.
Fitting all of this into a film would be problematic to say the least. That's ignoring how most of Cable's backstory would conflict with the reality of the X-Men movies that Deadpool 2 is nominally connected to, particularly X-Men: Apocalypse. It is all for the better than that comic book Cable's backstory was largely ignored in creating the film version of Cable.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019