Deadpool 2's end-credits scene may just be the best in the history of superhero movies. With the extended coda to his latest raunch-fest, Ryan Reynolds not only throws the middle finger up at conventional superhero narrative, but also directly addresses some of his biggest spandex mistakes: X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern.
This end-credits scene had a high bar to reach given the standard of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's game-changing post-credits stingers and, indeed, Wade Wilson's own debut. The first Deadpool ended with a homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off's stinger (one of the first of its kind) where the Merc with a Mouth - masked up and wearing a dressing gown a la Matthew Broderick - told the audience, "it's over, go home", the ultimate fourth wall break, and was then followed up by a second stinger where Deadpool confirmed Cable for the sequel, speculating on the casting of Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, or Kiera Knightly. A send-up of Marvel's foreshadowing (he even called out Samuel L. Jackson and his Nick Fury eye-patch), the icing on the cake was that the second scene wasn't part of press screenings, making it an audience-only "exclusive".
Deadpool 2's end-credits scene isn't anywhere near as forward-thinking (or is it?), instead choosing to address some hard-baked ideas of the character in both this movie and well into the past. And it's kind of brilliant.
- This Page: Wade Saves Vanessa & Peter... And Rewrites Deadpool 2?
- Page 2: Wade Kills Origins Deadpool And Ryan Reynolds
Deadpool Travels Back In Time To Change... Everything
A key part of Deadpool 2's story is time travel, with Cable jumping back to kill Russell, and at the end using his second charge to save Wade himself. The mechanics aren't detailed too heavily in the film itself for the sake of brevity, but it appears to operate as a pretty simple divergent timeline situation: Cable is able to change the future by going into the past (with none of the Back to the Future fading). Essentially, it's whatever the story needs it to be.
In Deadpool 2's end-credits scene, Deadpool needs it for many things. The scene - technically in the middle of the credits - picks up with Wade, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio in the X-Mansion, with the two young X-Men adding more jumps to Cable's now-depleted time dial. After some light jokes - Deadpool calls Negasonic Eleven in a nod to Stranger Things and has one final "Hi Yukio" - he goes to jump through time to make... so many changes.
First, he goes back to the start of the movie and the death of Vanessa, correcting his misaimed knife throw to kill the last of the assailants from the start and saving his lover in the process. Wade then goes back to the X-Force massacre, saving the well-meaning, powerless Peter (but leaving the others to their humiliating fate). There's more afterward, of course, but this alone raises questions.
Are Peter And Vanessa Alive (And Did Deadpool 2 Even Happen)?
The big question here is whether what just happened is canon and these characters indeed survived. The presentation of these two moments definitely implies that, and for fair reason: it would make sense to save Vanessa and bring Morena Baccarin back for whatever's next (X-Force if not Deadpool 3), although doing so does make the general fridging of her character and its weird place in the narrative all the more problematic. As for Peter, he was an undeniable standout in the late stages of the marketing and if any of the parodic X-Force actually belong in a proper movie version of the team, it's paradoxically him (the writers have even said they want a Peter standalone).
However, for either of them to survive raises big questions of how much of Deadpool 2 actually happened; if Wade saved Vanessa (and/or Peter), then events surely unfold differently (and he's the only one who remembers the original timeline)? Possibly, although X-Men canon may excuse a lot of this. Regardless of what happens to Vanessa, Cable still comes from the future and needs to be stopped, and Peter surviving is fittingly a minor shift. More importantly, the nature of Deadpool 2's best-fit time travel makes it very easy to shrug off things realigning. Indeed, X-Men: Days of Future Past introduced the notion that time is a river, with things eventually following the defined track.
Of course, to apply too much thought to this aspect of the franchise's continuity feels a bit fruitless at this point, especially when there are bigger changes to be made...
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