Both fans of the Merc with a Mouth and those new to the character completely their minds over Deadpool. That excitement peaked during the post credits scene when Deadpool himself announced that the sequel would feature none other than Wade Wilson’s closest frenemy, Cable. While casual moviegoers had a more tempered reaction, comic readers were undeniably psyched about the news.
The thing about Nathan Summers is that he may just be the most misunderstood mutant in comics. Even true X-Men fans sometimes struggle to make sense of his powers, his timeline, and his family. Seriously, it’ll be impressive to see how the Deadpool 2 writers find a way to work Cable into an already established universe, considering the guy would need a trilogy just to explain his origin.
Despite being an undeniably ‘90s creation in every way, the character of Cable has endured, becoming a fan favorite. Much of the love for Nathan comes from his legendary team-ups with a certain mercenary. They're an odd pairing to be sure, but Cable and Deadpool balance each other out perfectly. Even if you’re an X-Men fanatic, you could probably use a refresher on the life and times of Nathan Summers.
Here is are 20 Crazy Things Only True Fans Know About Cable.
21 He and Deadpool have the same co-creator
We’ll get into the years of history between Cable and Deadpool, but aside from their complex relationship, the two heroes have something very important in common: Rob Liefeld.
After popularizing his controversial style throughout the ‘90s, the artist eventually left the mainstream, becoming a cofounder of Image Comics. Liefeld was famously “inspired” by Deathstroke, which led to Deadpool’s look. What you may not know, is that the same artist was behind the creation of Cable as well.
Editor Bob Harris felt that it was time to introduce a new leader into the X-books. Going off the simple directive of making him a “man of action,” Liefeld conceptualized Cable’s name, look and much of his history. Cable’s backstory was actually a retcon, which is probably why it’s complicated even by comic book standards - but we’ll come back to that. Liefeld had different plans for the character and was unhappy with the decisions later made regarding his true identity.
Cable’s first full appearance was in New Mutants #87 in 1990. Writer Louise Simonson chose to make him a military leader. She and Liefeld both thought it made sense for him to be a time traveler. Interestingly, before the connection was made to Cable’s famous parents, he was intended to be an older version of Cannonball.
20 Cyclops is his dad
Speaking of Cable’s inception, the character of Nathan Christopher Charles Summers was created by Chris Claremont. He first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #201 in 1986. The child was born to Scott Summers, aka Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, aka Jean Grey’s unknowing clone. The whole saga began after Jean sacrificed herself in order to save the team from the Phoenix Force, the incredibly powerful cosmic entity that she had become merged with. This left Scott understandably brokenhearted, so naturally when he met a woman who looked exactly like Jean, he fell for her rather quickly. The two were married and had a son.
Happily ever just wasn’t in the cards for Scott and his cloned lady love, though. The original Jean mysteriously reappeared not too long after Nathan’s birth and Scott made some choices that didn’t exactly make him Father of the Year. He abandoned his wife and child, and the former eventually found out the unfortunate truth of her DNA. This was devastating, to say the least, and Madelyne made some poor life decisions of her own. She teamed up with a demonic entity intent on world domination, becoming the Goblin Queen. And you thought your breakup was bad?
19 He was almost sacrificed by his mother
While we’re on the subject of “Inferno”, let’s talk a bit about the corruption of Madelyne Pryor. After she joined forces with the demon lord N’astirh, he helped her discover the true extent of her powers. Okay, we get it, it was a particularly dark time for Maddie, but once you’re calling yourself the Goblin Queen, you’ve obviously reached the point of no return.
Part of N’astirh’s evil scheme was to sacrifice thirteen souls to create a portal for his demons to travel through. Well, in case her new name hadn’t proven that Madelyne had gone to the dark side, she attempted to make her own son one of the lucky thirteen. So yeah, that happened. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, considering her original deal with N’astirh was to get her son back from Mister Sinister, who’d kidnapped him - that kid could not catch a break!
Sure, Madelyne had not only learned that her life was a lie, but she’d also been abandoned by the man that she loved.
When you try to throw your son into a portal to unleash Hell on Earth, you kind of lose all sympathy.
At least the storyline made Maddie, who’d always been an ersatz Jean, into a bit more of an interesting character in her own right.
18 His backstory is crazy complicated, even by comic book standards
In case this list has not yet made this fact abundantly clear, Cable’s backstory is pretty convoluted. We know what you’re thinking: this is comics, after all. However, even by those standards, Cable’s history is particularly complicated.
Let’s start with the fact that his birth was genetically engineered by Mister Sinister, who hoped that a child conceived by two mutants as powerful as Scott and Jean would be able to defeat Apocalypse. Well, that’s one way to take out your mortal enemy.
The problem, well one of them, was that Jean was presumed deceased. Sinister did what any proper supervillain would do and cloned himself another Jean. Sadly, Scott proved himself a rather easy mark for such manipulation.
Let’s also not forget about Cable’s upbringing. He was taken two thousand years into the future - don’t worry, we’ll come back to that - on orders from Mother Askani, who turned out to be his half-sister from an alternate timeline, Rachel Summers. In the future, Nathan was raised by Slym and Redd.
Can you guess who they are? Well, if you guessed that they were the consciousnesses of Scott and Jean transported into different bodies in the future, you’d be spot on! They raised Nathan until he was twelve.
17 Apocalypse infected him with a virus
Eventually, Apocalypse discovered Mister Sinister’s rather convoluted plan for vengeance against him. When he learned that the entire point of Nathan’s existence was to destroy him, he was understandably miffed and wanted to be sure that he took out Nathan before the young mutant found a way to end him first. In an effort to be sure that the child could never fulfill his potential, Apocalypse injected him with the techno-organic virus.
The virus slowly consumes its host by turning all of their organic matter into technology.
Although there is no known antidote, Cable used his powers in order to keep the virus at bay. In the Earth X alternate universe, he was completely overtaken by the virus, essentially becoming a giant metal blob.
Luckily, this was not meant to be Cable’s eventual fate. There was a way to save Nathan, but it came at the cost of uprooting the child’s entire life. Due to their bitter history, Cable has attempted to destroy Apocalypse on several occasions. He once even went back in time and infected the First Mutant with the techno-organic virus, which you may recall is the very same virus that Apocalypse injected him with. Their relationship status would most certainly be classified as complicated.
16 He is from the future (sort of)
If you’re wondering how it makes sense that the son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor, and the militant mutant who travels from the future back to the 20th century are one and the same, don’t be surprised that it kind of doesn’t. That’s because this reveal was a massive retcon that combined the original ideas for Cable with Nathan Summers. The decision was made that Cable was a time traveler, but that he was sent into the future to save his life, rather than being born there.
After Apocalypse injected Nathan with the virus, a member of Clan Askani appeared from the future, claiming that she could save the child. However, in order to do so she would need to take him two thousand years into the future. Eventually, Nathan learned of his true purpose:destroy Apocalypse.
Hey, just because it was based on an insane plot from an evil mastermind doesn’t mean that it’s not actually a worthy cause! The First Mutant does spend a whole lot of time making a mess out of the entire planet.
In an effort to achieve this goal, Cable returned to the 20th century and took over as the leader of the New Mutants.
15 He has a ton of mutant powers he can't use
Cable is an Omega-level mutant, making him one of the most powerful in existence. Whether or not you’ve seen him demonstrate these incredible abilities, however, depends entirely on which X-books you’ve read. His telepathic and telekinetic abilities are nearly unparalleled.
The problem is that he expended a great deal of energy just suppressing the techno-organic virus on a daily basis. This severely hindered his near-limitless powers.
Eventually, he found a way to better wield his considerable abilities, no longer needing to put so much effort into keeping the virus at bay. However, that didn’t go so well for him either - but more on that later.
Following the “Burnt Offerings” story arc, during which point his powers were at their peak, they were overtaxed out for the most part and he was forced to fall back on his impressive combat skills, as well as his technological advancements. The point is that Cable’s abilities rival that of his mother’s, but throughout the years he has had to use them rather sparingly.
Although he was eventually cured of the virus in Avengers: X-Sanction, he had also lost the majority of his mutant abilities once again in Deadpool & Cable: Split Second. However, the Merc with a Mouth found a way to restore him to his former glory.
14 He has an evil clone
What’s that they say about good intentions? Mother Askani was afraid that baby Nathan wouldn’t survive the healing procedure necessary for his recovery, so she decided to have him cloned just in case. The fans may not love clones, but Marvel certainly does.
Naturally the baby’s growth was accelerated so that he and Nathan would be the same age. When Apocalypse comes a knocking, he accidentally kidnaps the wrong Nathan - how embarrassing! It works out okay, for Apocalypse anyway, who raises the kid in his own creepy image. He would grow up to be known as Stryfe and basically becomes Cable’s arch nemesis.
In a way, Rachel’s plan worked, albeit not as she intended. The clone kept Nathan out of Apocalypse’s clutches by inadvertently serving as a decoy. Cable remained ignorant of his clone’s existence for much of his life.
Of course, at a certain point, ignoring Stryfe became impossible, considering all the damage that the guy was doing. He was responsible for forming the Mutant Liberation Front, but that was just one of many transgressions, several of which were of a much more personal nature to Cable. Seriously, few villains have caused Cable anywhere near the amount of pain that Stryfe has.
13 Wolverine became Cable in the future
Cable doesn’t exactly have a stellar history with many of his fellow mutants, particularly X-Men. The guy may have participated in quite a few superhero teams over the years, from X-Force to the Avengers, but he’s not exactly what you would classify as a team player.
His relationship with Wolverine was always especially volatile. This made the creative decisions regarding the Ultimate version of the character particularly interesting.
Created by Robert Kirkman (of The Walking Dead) and Ben Oliver, the Cable of that universe was actually a possible future version of Wolverine. Following a showdown with Apocalypse, James Howlett had lost his arm, his healing factor and many of his teammates. He was left beaten and scarred, and spent the next several decades fighting the First Mutant until he was able to return to the past in order to attempt to right some wrongs.
Cable basically took down all of the X-Men, with the exception of his younger self, and then unsheathed his claws, revealing his true identity.
After a brutal battle during which Jean called on the Phoenix Force in order to defeat Apocalypse, Cable - his mission finally completed - basically faded out of existence.
12 He fell for Domino, when she was Copycat
Fans of Deadpool may remember Morena Baccarin’s character, Wade Wilson’s girlfriend, Vanessa Carlysle. Although the film version of Vanessa was delightful, she bore little resemblance to her villainous comic counterpart. Copycat is a shapeshifter and if Mystique has taught us anything, it’s that those powers can give a person major identity issues. Not that this is any excuse for posing as Deadpool’s love, Siryn, simply to trick him. However, the Merc with a Mouth isn’t the only one that Vanessa has used her abilities against. Cable has been a victim of her cruelty as well.
Cable and Domino had grown quite close during their time together, but hadn’t really taken things to the next level - at least until Copycat took things there for them.
In fact, Vanessa’s first appearance was as Domino. She had been hired to take out Cable, but her eventual affection towards him and the rest of the team earned him a stay of attack. Regardless, she still really messed with the poor guy’s head.
He didn’t even realize that the woman he was falling for wasn’t the real Domino at all until he found where she was being held prisoner and rescued her.
Following that, the two never really found solid footing as a couple, but having a doppelgänger set your romance in motion probably has that effect. Although the original Domino readers were introduced to turned out to be an imposter, the real Neena Thurman has a long history with both Cable and Deadpool.
11 He and Deadpool have been fused together
One of the many cool things about Cable is that, as a time traveler, he has access to some pretty awesome future technology. He can teleport just about anywhere he wants, an ability that Deadpool was particularly envious of. In fact, the Merc with a Mouth even tried to replicate the technology. However, his version wasn’t without its issues. Pool’s tech was regularly on the fritz, meaning that he could really only travel short distances. Let’s be honest, though, Deadpool running around with a broken teleporter somehow makes perfect sense.
For a time, the way the devices worked was through “bodysliding”, which meant transporting the individual particles of someone from one place and reassembling them in another. This led to some pretty hilarious instances of Cable and Deadpool becoming fused together when attempting to teleport simultaneously.
Naturally, Cable eventually found a way to solve the problem, but these mishaps have led to some pretty amazing fan fiction. To be fair, Cable & Deadpool is rife with material to inspire such stories.
Still, all of this pales in comparison to the fact that Cable once had to absorb and then regurgitate Deadpool. It was this disgusting - but lifesaving - action that combined their DNA in the first place, allowing the melding of their bodies during teleportation.
10 Deadpool protected the baby Cable
Speaking of the misadventures of Cable and Deadpool, the former once had to be rescued by the latter - when he was an infant. Although the Wanda Maximoff of the MCU has only just begun to show what she is capable of, her comic counterpart is one of the most powerful characters in Marvel’s entire arsenal. During House of M, she completely rewrote reality to devastating effect.
Cable had been missing and presumed deceased, but Deadpool refused to believe that his friend was gone and traversed time and space looking for him. Although he found many versions of Nathan, the real one was in the House of M universe. There were several strange pieces of the puzzle though. For one thing, Nathan was a baby. Aside from that, he was being lovingly cared for by none other than Nathaniel Essex. In this reality, Mister Sinister was actually trying to be a good father to Nathan. However, he could only fight his natural instincts for so long.
Deadpool battled Sinister and eventually rescued his pal. Once the universe reverted back, Cable began to age at an accelerated rate until he was a grownup again. As if the guy didn’t already have enough parental baggage to last a lifetime.
9 His cybernetic arm houses an A.I. named Belle
Remember all that cool future tech that Cable has access to? One such piece of equipment is actually housed by his cybernetic arm. Her name is Belle and she is a sentient Artificial Intelligence. She appears as an anthropomorphic pinup tattoo. Belle is relatively new, first appearing in Uncanny Avengers vol 3 #2.
Among other things, she helps Cable to better access his chronoskimming abilities - transplanting a person’s mind through time and/or space.
In the year 2087, a mysterious contagion had wiped out everyone on Earth, with the exception of a few Inhumans. Belle aided Cable in figuring out what caused the mass destruction and finding a solution to the problem.
Belle may be Cable’s most recent A.I. sidekick, but she’s not his first one. Writer Gerry Duggan considered bringing back Cable’s OG Artificial Intelligence, the Professor program. However, he ultimately felt that because he was already returning several aspects of the character that had been gone for a while, that it would be best if he could incorporate some newer elements as well.
Aside from his work on Uncanny Avengers, Duggan is no stranger to the Merc with a Mouth. The scribe had quite a long run on Deadpool as well.
8 He has a bit of a god complex
If we’re being honest, many of these heroes have developed a god complex at one point or another. Cable is no exception. The guy is unbelievably powerful and although those powers are rarely demonstrated to their full extent, when they are, it’s pretty incredible.
When Cable finally gains a measure of mastery over his awesome abilities, he uses them to attempt to create his own Utopia - like many a misguided, super powerful comic book character has done.
Of course, these situations rarely result in unicorns and rainbows, and some of Earth’s mightiest were intent on stopping what they viewed as a threat.
This battle culminated in Cable fighting the Silver Surfer, who is one of the most powerful characters in the entire Marvel universe. Not only was Cable keeping up with the Surfer, but while fighting him, he was also repairing the massive damage incurred by the city as a result of their battle. The Silver Surfer triumphed eventually, but not before Cable busted his surfboard!
In the end, the only solution Cable could find was to have Deadpool partially lobotomize him in order to keep him from burning out completely. Thus, one of Marvel’s most powerful mutants was unable to access his abilities to their fullest once again.
7 He was married to Storm
If you’re going to be an X-Men fan, you kind of have to get on board with time travel and alternate realities. More so than any other team, these storytelling devices play a huge role in the lives of Marvel’s marvelous mutants. Although some readers tend to complain about all the retcons, nonexistent continuity and the impermanence of lives lost, many of us enjoy the X-Men too much to care. Suspension of disbelief goes hand in hand with loving comics, after all.
Like his fellow mutants, Cable has had his fair share of experience with alternate realities. In X-Men: Millennial Visions #2000, we learn that the Nathan Summers of Earth-1020 was actually married to Ororo Munroe, aka Storm. They protected the cosmos together.
There was a point in the ‘90s when it seemed like Storm and Cable might get together romantically, but it never actually materialized. The Storm miniseries pointed to an attraction between the characters, but perhaps Warren Ellis was the only one who actually wanted to see that happen, because after the book ended, it was never revisited. A brief glimpse of their marriage in a one-shot is likely all that readers will ever see.
6 He protected the mutant messiah
The aftermath of House of M left the mutant population all but completely extinct. When a new mutant was eventually born, she was as feared as she was revered. Luckily, she had a valiant protector and pretty great father figure in Cable.
He took in the young mutant, naming her Hope and protecting her by continuously jumping through time. Once she was around sixteen, Cable decided to return her to her proper time. The problem was that everything was pretty much a giant mess.
Although many would worship Hope as the mutant messiah, others would rather see her destroyed and homo superior snuffed out along with her.
In the end, Nathan sacrificed himself to save his friends, letting the techno-organic virus overtake him in order to open a portal to send them home. This is comics we’re talking about, though, so eventually Cable returned to fight another day - which is good, because his passing was heartbreaking.
Nathan had spent his whole life dealing with the unbelievably awful circumstances of his birth and upbringing. With Hope, he had finally found himself a real family. Sure, they spent their lives jumping through time to avoid certain death, but no family is perfect.
5 He founded X-Force
As the ‘80s came to a close, New Mutants saw a decline in popularity. They were sort of the junior class of X-Men and as fans began to lose interest in the team, the editors felt that it was time for a change in direction. That shift came in the form of a new leader: the militaristic time traveler simply known as Cable.
Nathan restructured the team, bringing them into a new era as X-Force. While New Mutants like Cannonball and Boom Boom accompanied Cable on this journey, the roster was filled out by new recruits Warpath, Shatterstar, Feral and Domino.
Just because X-Force and the X-Men occasionally swapped team members doesn’t mean that the two groups got along. This makes sense, considering the fact that they each espoused wildly different philosophies. The X-Men sought peaceful coexistence, modeled after Xavier’s dream, but X-Force was a much stronger proponent of using violence to attain their goals.
Over the years, X-Force has seen several incarnations. While the classic lineup remains what most fans think of when the team comes to mind, many readers would point to Uncanny X-Force as the best version of the group. Deadpool 2 shows off its own, big screen interpretation.
4 He was framed for taking out Professor X
While we’re on the subject of the X-Men and X-Force not seeing eye to eye, no one was too surprised when it appeared that Cable had shot Charles Xavier with the techno-organic virus. It wasn’t just the fact that the two didn’t really get along, but rather the fact that the culprit looked exactly like Cable.
The guilty party was Stryfe, Nathan’s clone.
This began The X-Cutioner’s Song with a desperate search to find the man responsible, which everyone was sure happened to be Cable.
In typical X-Men fashion, the saga ended with both characters losing their lives, only to later return. They were sucked into a vortex that ostensibly took them off the board permanently. However, not only did Cable survive, but Stryfe’s consciousness latched onto his mind, keeping him alive as well.
As awful as framing Nathan for a crime and trying eliminate his parents is, it’s hardly the worst thing that Stryfe has done to Cable. Throughout his tenure in comics, there has been no greater threat to Cable’s safety or sanity than his own clone. Really, though, Stryfe’s upbringing has even more material for a lifetime of therapy than Cable’s does - and that is saying something.
3 Both of his wives were taken from him
Once Slim and Redd were out of the picture, Cable lived with the Askani for a time. It was there that he met the woman that he would marry, Aliya Dayspring.
She and Cable had a lot in common. They were both warriors and they shared a similar power set. They had a son named Tyler and all was copacetic - until tragedy struck in the form of Stryfe. Not only was Nathan’s clone responsible for taking his wife's life, but also for the kidnapping of his son. Things took a rather soap operatic turn when Stryfe revealed that he impersonated Cable and assaulted Aliya, claiming that Tyler was actually his child! It’s unclear whether this was true or just meant to torment Nathan. Not only did Stryfe kidnap Nathan’s son, but he also raised him to be a proper villain who went by the name, Genesis.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only time that Cable lost a wife to violent circumstances. Hope’s namesake was actually a civilian woman who Nathan married in the future. Together, they raised the infant for several years. Hope lost her life just as tragically as Cable’s first wife, although Stryfe had nothing to do with it this time.
2 Josh Brolin will portray him in multiple movies
Josh Brolin has suggested that there is a planned arc for Cable. Rather than thinking of just his time in Deadpool 2, Brolin revealed that Cable’s story is being considered to unfold across as many as four films. It’s unclear what upcoming movies Brolin’s character will be a part of. There has been no mention of him appearing in New Mutants, although that would make sense, nor is he set to show up in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
At this point, it’s unknown whether or not the X-Force film is still even happening at all. Much of Cable’s future will likely depend on the outcome of the continuing talks between Disney and Fox.
Whatever winds up happening, it sounds like Brolin is just as excited to see Nathan’s story unfold on the big screen as fans are. If this list has proven anything, it’s that Cable’s history is confusing and, oft times, downright nonsensical. That doesn’t change the fact that he is a compelling character with plenty of excellent tales waiting to be told.
It’s comforting that Brolin has enough passion for Cable and faith in the upcoming movie slate to be so positive about the character’s future.
1 He and Deadpool go way back
At least part of Deadpool’s status as an antihero can be traced back to his introduction as a mercenary. Making his first appearance in New Mutants #98, Wade Wilson was hired to take out Cable. He might have succeeded without a last minute betrayal from his partner. Deadpool was more of a villain for the next several years until his own series made him into a somewhat sympathetic character.
In the years since trying to off his future ally, the two have had a long, rich history working together, even though Cable often despises spending time with Deadpool.
For everything they have in common, such as being antiheroes who who have no qualms about shedding some blood in order to accomplish there goals, Wade and Nathan are quite different. Cable is single-minded and serious, while Deadpool is a motor-mouth with way too much energy. Still, both men are more than a bit unhinged, so they have that going for them.
Cable & Deadpool ran for close to four years and their strange pairing made them a fan-favorite team-up.
As much as they may get on each other’s nerves, these two heroes love one another - Deadpool even has a bit of a secret crush on Cable - but then, who wouldn’t?
Do you know any other fun facts about Cable from Deadpool 2? Let us know in the comments?