In Deadpool, Wade Wilson’s R-rated mischief proved delightful and refreshing while also reinvigorating 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise. The film’s success allowed them to push the envelope, superhero movie-wise, and create the grim yet poignant final Wolverine film, Logan. Before Deadpool hit the box office, FOX announced Deadpool 2 and teased the introduction of longtime fan favorite mutant, Cable, who was later confirmed.
After a months-long search, the studio hired Josh Brolin, who also portrays the Marvel Cinematic Universe's mega-villain Thanos. As production cranks along on the sequel, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) thrilled his Twitter followers with a first look at the time-traveling X-Man. Cable's distinctive costume also provides some telling clues as to what may lie ahead for Deadpool 2 and FOX’s X-universe itself.
The Clothes Make the Mutant
Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza for New Mutants #87, Cable is son of Jean Grey clone Madelyne Pryor and Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers (first shown in Uncanny X-Men #201). As an infant, Apocalypse infected Cable with a techno-organic virus – either to destroy him or fulfill his destiny by becoming the mutant tyrant, depending on who you ask. Overrun by the virus, Cyclops allowed Mother Askani (later revealed as his daughter Rachel Summers from an alternative reality) to spirit young Nathan into the future (phew!).
As a quintessential early ‘90s superhero, Cable's costume originally consisted of massive guns, more pouches than a herd of kangaroos, and massive shoulder pads – so ought to be a shoulder pad joke or two in Deadpool 2. Since then, the mutant hero has gone through a number of wardrobe changes, but each costume tends to indicate a specific era.
Fans' first full look shows off his massive arsenal, including a more practical-sized version of his oversized, futuristic gun, as well as several smaller handguns. His tactical vest and belt are also jammed with the requisite ammo pouches and clips while several concussive grenades line his bandolier.
Cable also sports his iconic cyborg look, including an eerie, Borg-like cybernetic eye – another byproduct of the virus – which is spot on. In addition, the film properly adapted his trademark facial scar, a star-shaped battle wound over his right eye. His cyborg arm also appears more weathered and authentic, which contrasts Colossus’ shiny metallic form from the first Deadpool. New to the mix, though, are several cybernetic cables running up his neck which, although not from the comic, are a nice touch.
Overall, FOX's live-action rendering respects his sources, especially since Liefeld’s original design is a ponderous bulk without easily workable real-world analogs. The stripped-down costume and lived-in cybernetics also better fit the aesthetic of the cinematic X-Men which already altered the traditional yellow and blue costumes for more practical getups. His look, assuming FOX followed a design aesthetic, though, is reminiscent of one distinct comic book saga, Messiah Complex.
A later set photo, which shows off the time warrior's tattered cloak, further hinted in this direction. His attire reflects his appearance in the Messiah trilogy-ender Second Coming. More telling still is the oddest artifact in his arsenal, a teddy bear slung from his right hip. So what does a time-hopping mutant warrior need with a stuffed animal, and how does it relate to Wade Wilson's second outing?
Deadpool 2: The Messiah Complex?
Pairing a roguish temporal wanderer with a child’s toy could be nothing more than a lark on behalf of the ever-serious Deadpool staff. It also might refer to Wade’s *ahem* predilection for stuffed animals or is a throwback to the promo art from the first film, which shows Deadpool about to execute a stuffed bear. Considering Cable is the comedic foil of the duo, the bear stands a good chance of announcing Hope Summers' entry into the X-Men cinematic universe.
After Scarlet Witch depowered mutants on M-Day (in Decimation), Hope's birth kicks off in one of the X-Men’s most elaborate and touching modern storylines, Messiah Complex, along with its sequels Messiah War and Second Coming. If she is part of the plan, then Cable has likely arrived in the present to rescue the newborn mutant. It's also possible his Second Coming-like garb, as well as the beat-up bear, could also indicate Hope's status as a young girl or teenager, who arrives alongside Cable.
Including Hope and her grave story arc in a Deadpool sequel sounds like a lot of baggage (and pathos) to saddle the otherwise splatstick franchise with, though. Instead, she may represent a tease or a plot point to bring Cable into contact with Wade. Still, the name "hope" showed up an awful lot (twice) in the pre-Logan teaser, so her intimated introduction is hard to disregard.