How Deadpool 2 Could Make Sense Of It All
Ironically, the solution to Fox's X-Men problem isn't found in one of the tentpole X-Men movies. Instead, it's found in one of this year's spinoffs; Deadpool 2. A sequel to the hugely successful Deadpool, this film will introduce fans to Josh Brolin's Cable. Cable is a comic book character whose origin is frankly far too convoluted even for the X-Men films, largely because Marvel hadn't decided on his backstory when they created him. They made it up as they went along, changing plans frequently.
The important thing about Cable is simply that he is a time-traveler. In the comics, Nathan Summers was actually born the son of Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey. He was sent to a distant future timeline as a baby in order to save his life, and grew into a time-traveling revolutionary. He and Deadpool are firm friends, but Cable's knowledge of the future has often caused a lot of conflict between the two characters.
By all accounts, Deadpool 2 will be fairly comic-book-accurate. Although the film is unlikely to explore Cable's origins, he'll still be presented as a time-traveler. And that adds a real layer of intrigue to the film. Why has Cable traveled to the past to meet Deadpool? What is his goal in this time-zone? So far, Fox has carefully avoided dropping any major hints. The one thing fans can be confident of is that Cable is trying to change the future. And that returns the X-Men franchise to heady concepts of temporal mechanics and timestreams.
The X-Men Continuity Needs to Get Meta
The crucial difference between Days of Future Past and Deadpool 2 is simply that the first film played this straight. It tried to play out serious science-fiction concepts in the X-Men films, and in so doing to restore the franchise to a semblance of order. In contrast, Deadpool 2 is likely to tackle the issue in exactly the same way it handles everything else; with a wink, a laugh, and a whole lot of bloodshed.
At this stage, that's just what Fox's X-Men continuity needs. The Deadpool movies are self-aware in a way the other films simply cannot be. As such, they can acknowledge the contradictory timeline, gently poke fun at it, and then hand-wave it away. Frankly, it's even possible that Cable's actions could splinter the timeline completely, establishing the multiverse that the franchise has been exploring for 18 years.
The reality is that the X-Men franchise is in a healthy state regardless of the continuity problems. Fox has successfully diversified the genre in a way no other studio has achieved, launching raunchy comedies, bloody and brutal Westerns, and even an upcoming horror franchise. For all fans may fume over the continuity, it hasn't really harmed the franchise's box office performance at all.
But that doesn't mean Deadpool 2 isn't the perfect opportunity to address this issue. The character is gloriously self-aware, and his habit of breaking the Fourth Wall means Deadpool is almost guaranteed to make a comment about timelines. Whether the film addresses the issue as a major plot point, or simply as an in-joke for the fans, it's still the best chance Fox will get for fixing their continuity problems.
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020