With Deadpool 2 fast approaching theaters, fans have been bombarded with marketing images of the Merc with a Mouth's team of fellow mutants joining him in battle against Cable. That team is the X-Force, originally created by Rob Liefeld to be a kind of middle ground between the X-Men and Magneto.
The X-Force has changed a lot over the years, but the lineup to be seen in the new film will feature Deadpool (obviously), Domino, Bedlam, Zietgeist, Shatterstar, Peter, and possibly Surge. On top of that, the X-Men that appeared in the first Deadpool film, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, will also be making appearances.
Cable is no slouch, though, so expect there to be some pitched battles amid all the fourth-wall-breaking jokes. A complicated figure, Cable has played both sides of the hero/villain dynamic. Much like Deadpool, he has a crazy backstory, traveling through time from the future.
A soldier and a man of action, Cable was conceived as a foil to Charles Xavier. He also comes from an alternate future timeline where he is the son of Cyclops and the clone of Jean Grey, meaning he inherited some crazy powers including telepathy and telekinesis. Cable is a force to be reckoned with, so the X-Force is going to need all the help they can get to take him down and save the young mutant he's after.
Here are 21 Crazy Facts Fans Need To Know About The X-Force.
21 X-Force was formed from the New Mutants
X-Force was created by Rob Liefeld, famed creator of both Deadpool and Cable. The team came about as a result of Cable taking over leadership duties of the New Mutants shortly before they were captured by Cameron Hodge. In the aftermath of that incident, the core members of the New Mutants went their separate ways, but Cable wasn't done leading teams of mutants into battle. With that in mind, Liefeld had Cable organize a new team using members of both the New Mutants and other organizations.
What's interesting here is that while the New Mutants were a direct offshoot of the X-Men, created by Charles Xavier after he became disillusioned with the casualty rate of his original team, X-Force didn't feel as close to that original concept.
For whatever reason (possibly due to Liefeld's creative influence), X-Force felt darker and removed from the the other mutant teams.
Maybe that's why Cable essentially left the New Mutants to form his own, distinct team, leaving the older team to idealists who were closer to Charles Xavier's vision for them. Regardless, X-Force went on to have its own intensely complex history, just like every other X-group.
20 Deadpool 2's X-Force isn't the original X-Force
When Cable first formed X-Force in the comics, he did it with Shatterstar, Feral, Cannonball, Boom-Boom, Warpath, and Domino (or at least, a person Cable thought was Domino) as the original lineup. You'll notice that only two of those six made it into the promotional footage for Deadpool 2-- Shatterstar and Domino.
In the comics, X-Force went on to boast an extensive roster, not even including its offshoot X-Statix. Since Deadpool 2 was already playing fast and loose with the X-Force canon, the writers decided to grab mutants from all over the place in the mutant group's history.
Along with Deadpool, Shatterstar, and Domino, the film brings Zeitgeist, Peter, Bedlam, and possibly Surge along for the ride. Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead will also join the fight, although they're technically X-Men Colossus has been a member of X-Force in the past, though-- more on that later.
The movie's heroes come from all different eras of X-Force: Domino and Shatterstar were there from the beginning (sort of), Bedlam and Zeitgeist joined much later, and Deadpool even later than that. Needless to say, when fans heard they were getting an X-Force movie, we doubt they expected the lineup on display in the trailers for Deadpool 2.
19 Peter "doesn't have" superpowers
Played with lovable charm by comedian Rob Delaney, the character Peter immediately made waves with fans after he made his appearance in the final trailer for Deadpool 2. Asked by Weasel and Deadpool what his superpower was, he very politely informed them that he didn't "have one."
How odd is it that the most shocking reveal in a film's trailer is that one of the characters doesn't have any superpowers?
Regardless, fans loved seeing Rob Delaney's regular guy Peter parachute down from the sky with the other characters like he was a superhero.
Other fans, however, weren't convinced. Since Deadpool 2 was introducing the X-Force, the choice to name the character Peter stuck out. That's because in the X-Force comics, there's a character who once led the whole team, and his name is Peter Wisdom. Peter Wisdom (who, incidentally, definitely has superpowers-- he's able to generate knives made of fire) is both a spy and a mutant in the comics. His rise came through the British intelligence agency MI-6, and his origin as a spy could mean he's lying about not having powers.
None of the marketing confirmed this (not even his very nice Twitter account), but since when has that ever stopped superhero fans from speculating?
18 Their video game debut
Marvel characters have a long (and not always pleasant) history with video games, but one of the brighter spots is the Marvel Vs. Capcom franchise. The series is just as the title would make it appear: A fighting game where Marvel characters fight against Capcom characters. Interestingly enough, Marvel Vs Capcom 3 happened to come out while both Deadpool and Wolverine were involved with X-Force, so the game used that bit of comics knowledge for costumes and extras in-game.
The rest of the X-Force team actually makes an appearance in Deadpool's ending. Each character in the game had their own unique ending at the end of Arcade Mode.
Domino, Fantomex, and Archangel all appear in Deadpool's ending, along with Cable, but that's not the only time X-Force has been referenced in other media.
Aside from the upcoming film and the video game, they were also mentioned in the 12-episode anime series from Marvel Entertainment and Madhouse. In that anime series, Iron Man, Wolverine, the X-Men, and Blade each got a 12-episode arc-- and in the X-Men part of it, Professor X mentions that he received intel from X-Force for an upcoming mission. Look for X-Force to make more appearances like this once their movies start coming out!
17 Domino was created by a government super soldier project
Neena Thurman, better known as Domino, was one of Cable's first picks to join the original X-Force. It's no surprise she's making an appearance in Deadpool 2, as she is one of the most popular (and most visually striking) mutants to grace the pages of the Uncanny X-Force series. She also has a very fun and cinematic set of superpowers: She manipulates probability fields, causing improbable occurrences in her line of sight. What this means, in simpler terms, is that she's very lucky. Her opponents' guns tend to jam when they shoot at her, and she seems to miraculously dodge potentially harmful objects.
Domino uses her luck powers almost subconsciously, without really trying to, as a result of a series of experiments conducted upon her by Project Armageddon.
Project Armageddon was a top-secret government breeding program designed to genetically create the perfect soldier. Domino was apparently the only person to survive the experiments, but "having good luck" wasn't deemed a powerful enough superpower for the perfect bio-weapon. Domino was thus on her own, and became a mercenary for profit. She joined Cable's X-Force after a bit of a mix-up involving Copycat (more on that later), and the rest was history.
16 Pennywise is playing Zeitgeist
What a year it's been for Bill Skarsgård. Having appeared in a plethora of movies in 2017 including Atomic Blonde and It: Chapter One, he's continuing his run in 2018. Audiences may know him for playing Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It, the role which put him on the map, but soon they'll have to familiarize themselves with Zeitgeist.
Skarsgård is playing the mutant Zeitgeist in Deadpool 2, and he'll get to continue his streak of making audiences uncomfortable with his on-screen characters.
Zeitgeist's super power is spewing acidic vomit, so you can understand why other Marvel properties haven't given him a cinematic incarnation yet.
As you'd expect, Zeitgeist's origin story is pretty gross. Born Axel Cluney, Zeitgeist discovered his powers while kissing a girl on a beach. Drunk, Axel vomited on her, and was horrified to see her face burning from the substance that came from his innards. Axel would go on to be part of the second iteration of X-Force (which was later known as X-Statix), even dating a teammate, but didn't enjoy the famous life of a superhero.
He may not have had a smooth ride as a superhero, but this weird combination of personal history and gross superpower is perfect for a movie like Deadpool 2, and an actor like Bill Skarsgård.
15 Bedlam’s brother ended their parents
The mutant Bedlam (real name Jesse Aaronson) is played by Terry Crews in Deadpool 2, and he's had a troubled history in the comics.
Continuing the Deadpool universe's streak of characters with strangely dark and disturbing backstories, Bedlam was orphaned at a young age by his own brother. Jesse's brother Christopher (who later went by the superhero name King Bedlam, we know, it's confusing) was also a mutant, and his powers enabled him fill victims' minds with telepathic static. His power would essentially render his victims unable to perform basic tasks, and would frequently make them spout unintelligible gibberish. Christopher used his power on his own father while he was driving, ending both his father and mother. Jesse was placed in foster care.
Jesse's own powers would only manifest later, but they were fairly powerful and helped him become a member of X-Force. Becoming Bedlam, he could create electromagnetic fields through touch. He could also use the ability to affect others' mental states by changing the electrical signals in their brains, causing them to sleep or feel pain.
Bedlam only appeared in about five years' worth of comics, but the writers of Deadpool 2 seem to have vibed with his energy and backstory for their big team-up story.
14 Cable was the leader of the X-Force, not Deadpool
In the comics, Deadpool isn't much of a leader. He may be able to get a whole group of misfit mutants together in the movies, but he's not that kind of inspiring figure in his original incarnation. The X-Force was originally an offshoot of the New Mutants, which was itself an offshoot of the X-Men, which is a group Deadpool has avowed never to join. Luckily, in the movies, continuity is jumbled enough that we seem to have skipped the New Mutants entirely, making this X-Force distinct from the X-Men. Also in the comics, the X-Force had a very different leader: Cable.
That's right, Cable himself was the leader of the X-Force several times, and in fact was the man who created the team.
Partially because of Cable's harsh, militant style of leadership, X-Force immediately became known as a more proactive, violent X-team. Deadpool was never involved-- in fact, Deadpool has never even been an official member, though he has had several run-ins with them.
Deadpool and Cable have shared a comic series together, and have found themselves both allies and enemies, but in the Marvel canon, it's Cable who created and led the X-Force, not the Merc with a Mouth.
13 Cable and Domino were a thing
Superhero relationships are tempestuous things, as the characters themselves are subject to multiple plotlines, different writers, and disparate emotional tones. This means that characters have a tendency to take a variety of romantic interests over the years, as different writer think they match up better with different characters. This is definitely true of Cable and Domino, who shared a romance over the time of their appearances in the X-Force series.
Domino and Cable each have had multiple superhero love affairs--Domino was also in a relationship with Wolverine, for instance, and Cable actually had a thing with Copycat (aka Vanessa Carlysle, Deadpool's girlfriend in the movies).
Domino and Cable haven't hooked up as recently in the comics, however Domino made more waves when she began a relationship with Colossus.
So don't expect to see Domino and Cable get it on in Deadpool 2. Not only would that be a distracting subplot in a series where neither of them is the main character (and one of them is the antagonist), it would also be a bit weird due to the age difference of the actors. Zazie Beetz, who plays Domino, is 24 years younger than Josh Brolin, who plays Cable - they're 26 and 50, respectively.
12 The movie lineup was originally going to be different
Before Deadpool became Fox's most lucrative superhero franchise, the executives of the movie studio wanted their next X-Men film to be an X-Force spinoff. This idea started rolling in earnest way back in the summer of 2013 when the studio hired Jeff Wadlow to write the script. Wadlow was a veteran of superhero movies, having written and directed Kick-Ass 2, and he wrote a script that received a vote of enthusiastic approval from Rob Liefeld himself. Articles at the time noted that X-Force was likely the next big franchise from Fox - until Deadpool's test footage leaked out to the public.
Once the test footage got out and the fan response was overwhelmingly positive, Deadpool immediately went from development hell to the fast track. Unfortunately for the X-Force team, this also meant that their project was sidelined. Until Deadpool 2, the project was pretty much over. We do have details about the original plan for the film, and the lineup it would have had.
Shown in preliminary concept art, we can see Cable leading the team, with Domino, Warpath, and Feral behind him.
Deadpool, naturally, is nowhere to be seen, so it's safe to say Deadpool 2 went in a different direction.
11 X-Force's mission statement
When Rob Liefeld created X-Force and Cable, he did it to purposefully shake up the X-Men universe with a group that was neither pacifist like Charles Xavier nor extremist like Magneto. X-Force was created to be a more active group. In other words, X-Force was literally more forceful than the X-Men.
While they may not have been meant to be an extremist group, they certainly got up to some extreme activities thanks to the leadership philosophy of Cable, which was "get them before they get you." X-Force would identify threats to mutant kind before they actually became threats, and neutralize them before they could realize their destructive potential.
This may sound like a good idea, but identifying threats before they're technically threats is a fraught concept, one that smacks of fascism and totalitarianism to some. This, coupled with X-Force's propensity for military-style operations and and an unwillingness to listen to the advice of other superheroes, meant that X-Force got itself into trouble more than once with more idealistic heroes.
Cable has always been a harsh, unrelenting soldier, and it was he who formed X-Force in the first place, so it seems to have taken on some of the harder parts of his personality, differentiating it from groups like the X-Men.
10 Shatterstar's out-of-this-world origin
Pretty much every X-Force member has some crazy backstory, but Shatterstar takes the cake. Lewis Tan will play the character in Deadpool 2, and he's going to have to wrap his head around an origin very removed from normal human experience.
Born Gaveedra Seven, a slave on Mojoworld, Shatterstar was raised to take part in gladiatorial combat for the entertainment of Mojo's TV audiences. Shatterstar thus not only had to learn to fight in the arena and escape his overlords, but he also had to get off the alien planet and travel back in time to join up with X-Force. He sought their help in bringing down Mojo in the future.
That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Despite growing up on an alien planet, Shatterstar later learned that he was actually human, born of the coupling of two X-Men.
His parents were Dazzler and Longshot, and Shatterstar had been taken from them and transported 100 years into the future. It only gets weirder from there: he also learned that Longshot was created from his own DNA. Mojoworld's chief scientist Arize had used Shatterstar to create Longshot, so Shatterstar and Longshot are each other's father and son simultaneously.
To protect the timeline from this temporal paradox, Shatterstar was actually the one who took his infant self and placed him 100 years in the future. Yeah. Next time you think you've got a complicated family life, tell that to Gaveedra Seven.
9 Bedlam and Zeitgeist are gone in the comics
Deadpool 2's writers are pulling from several different incarnations of X-Force for the all-star team-up in the film, and including characters that are canonically deceased in the comics. That's right, both Bedlam and Zeitgeist met violent ends while members of X-Force - and in Zeitgeist's case, it was totally deserved.
Bedlam's last appearance was back in 2003, in Uncanny X-Men #423. His passing was an upsetting one, as he was ended by the Church of Humanity (anti-mutant fanatics) on the grounds of the Xavier Institute itself. The X-Men tried to save him, but couldn't.
Zeitgeist's passing was also tragic, but for very different reasons. Zeitgeist had grown tired of his X-Force contemporaries, and his leader, the Coach, convinced him that the lineup needed to change. To accomplish this while simultaneously getting X-Force some positive press, Zeitgeist and Coach orchestrated the kidnapping of a boy band by a terrorist group which X-Force would stop. Things naturally didn't go as planned, and Zeitgeist, overcome by guilt, saved a team member of his and lost his life in their place. As he was torn apart by machine gun fire, Zeitgeist remembered the name of the girl whose face he had melted in his origin story.
8 Colossus joined X-Force after he lost control of his mutant powers
Played by Stefan Kapičić in both Deadpool and Deadpool 2, Colossus turned out to be a necessary part of the Deadpool universe's ethos.
Colossus (real name Piotr Rasputin) represents the heroic side of the Marvel mutant universe, as he is a man who firmly believes in ethical conduct. This, naturally, makes him a perfect foil for Deadpool, who isn't really interested in the heroic nonsense. It should come as something of a surprise, then, to learn that Colossus has been a part of X-Force, the team Deadpool created in Deadpool 2.
While the team wasn't a good fit for Colossus, he joined it out of desperation.
Colossus was afflicted with a condition that made his mutant powers unstable. He was unable to control his transformations into steel and back again. For a hero whose sole superpower is is turning into steel, this presented something of a problem. It wasn't until Cable provided him with a device to manage his transformations that he could stabilize himself, and Colossus joined X-Force to repay him.
Colossus eventually figured out what was causing his instability (nano-sentinels, obviously) and returned to the X-Men, but he was still an X-Force member, however brief his tenure may have been.
7 Vanessa was a founding member
Vanessa Carlysle makes a memorable appearance in the first Deadpool film as Deadpool's love interest, and she was also Deadpool's love in the comics for some time. She made her living as a nightworker before Deadpool met her both in the comics and the movie, but the similarities end there.
See, in the movies, she is (thus far) depicted as a normal human with no mutant powers whatsoever. In the comics, she was a shapeshifter known as Copycat, and not only did she fight alongside Deadpool, but was even there at the beginning of X-Force.
Domino was one of the first names added to the original X-Force roster when Cable formed the team, but it turns out that the woman he thought was Domino was actually Copycat pretending to be her.
Sent by the arms dealer Tolliver to spy on Cable, it took the team some time to realize they weren't working with the real Domino. Unlike other shapeshifters, Copycat was able to replicate even the powers of her targets to some degree, so the disguise was perfect. Plus, Tolliver had taken the real Domino prisoner, so there was no chance of her showing up.
Vanessa may be very different in the movies than she is in the original comics, but Deadpool likely appreciates that she's not going to stab him in the back this time.
6 Surge was never part of X-Force in the comics
Shioli Kutsuna (pictured here behind Negasonic Teenage Warhead as she gets her nose booped) is playing an as-yet-unnamed character in Deadpool 2, and fans speculate that it has to be Surge.
Noriko Ashida goes by Surge on her missions for the X-Men, as she has mutant powers over electricity which also boost her speed) Surge appears to be joining up with Deadpool's team in the upcoming film, presumably as backup for Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus. While Colossus has history with the X-Force team, being a former member in the comics, Surge is more like Negasonic-- she was never in it.
In the comics, Surge was a member of the X-Men and then the New Mutants, meaning she had some familiarity with Cable and the X-Force team he created. While some New Mutants chose to follow Cable as he formed X-Force, Surge never joined.
Instead, she has always been on the X-Men side of things, and for that reason it makes sense for her to team up with Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
The film version of Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a unique creation. While she shares the name and look of a telepath who worked with Emma Frost, her powers in the films are different, mirroring those of Cannonball's, an original X-Force member. What could go better with explosions than lightning?
5 Olivia Munn wants a team-up
Olivia Munn plays Psylocke in Fox's X-Men cinematic universe, a role she held out for after getting the offered the role of Vanessa in Deadpool. Munn turned down the role because she didn't want to play the girlfriend of a superhero, she wanted to play a full-fledged superhero or villain. She was rewarded with Psylocke-- which ended up being a bit of a disappointment since her debut film, X-Men: Apocalypse wasn't as well-received as previous entries in the same franchise. Now, however, Munn wants to see Psylocke pal around with Deadpool and the X-Force in a team-up.
Munn may or may not get her wish, but it wouldn't be without precedent: in the comics, Psylocke has been a key member of the X-Force.
The character's style may need a bit of a tweak to fit in with the Deadpool side of things, but her fighting style shouldn't need any help. She's best known for slicing a whole car in half with a sword made out of psychic energy in X-Men: Apocalypse. Here's hoping we get to see more of that in future Deadpool or X-Force movies, as more female superheroes should be seen cutting whole entire cars in half like it's nothing.
4 A character from Logan is a former member
Caliban is an interesting figure in the history of the X-Men. Like many X-Force members, he has played both hero and villain in his comics history, but he's somewhat different from his peers in that he has been both weak and powerful. Movie audiences know him best for his appearance in Logan, where he was a weak older man played by Stephen Merchant. In the film, Caliban was an albino mutant especially sensitive to sunlight, and his only superpower was the ability to sense when other mutants were near. In Logan, Caliban is the mild-mannered caretaker of Charles Xavier, but moviegoers also saw a young version of Caliban in X-Men: Apocalypse, and they got to see his darker side there.
Named for the character from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Caliban is best known in the comics for this more villainous role. Caliban was granted new powers by Apocalypse so that he could become the First Horseman, Pestilence. He would later become the most famous horseman, and even turned against his own allies in the role. It was only after all this that he would join X-Force when Cable rescued him from the Dark Riders.
Caliban transitioned back into his meeker, less violent form, and was a valuable team member in several fights.
3 Wolverine took out his own son while he was X-Force’s leader
Wolverine's time in Japan produced more than just a movie directed by James Mangold. While there, Logan also married a woman named Itsu, and together they had a son named Akihiro. Unfortunately, like most of Wolverine's life, this chapter was destined for tragedy, as Itsu perished at the hands of the Winter Soldier and Akihiro perished at the hands of Wolverine.
Akihiro, who also went by the name Daken, led a short but turbulent life that saw him as both hero and antagonist. He was a part of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and he ended up a target of a particularly violent incarnation of X-Force.
This version of the X-Force team was led by Wolverine, and if Cable's version was militant, Wolverine's was a gang of black ops assassins. They were black ops because they carried their missions out in secret-- until Akihiro helped reveal them to the world, that is. Akihiro's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants fought directly against X-Force, and at one point he had drowned his own father, as one of the only ways to end Wolverine is to deprive his brain of oxygen. Wolverine was resuscitated, and the two had one final showdown, which resulted in Wolverine turning the tables and drowning Akihiro, since Akihiro shared Wolverine's healing powers.
X-Force soon disbanded and Akihiro was eventually brought back to life, but it was still a dark chapter in the history of X-Force and Wolverine.
2 X-Force has fought just about everybody
If this list communicated anything to you, it should be that X-Force has a long and complicated history, full of twists and turns and battles galore. X-Force has always operated under its own set of rules, taking down whatever enemy it deems necessary. When you work with no real oversight and a blanket mission statement like "take down any enemy of mutants we can find," things can get messy.
Case in point: X-Force has gone up against all kinds of other organizations, from ones that make sense (like the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or Cable's evil clone Stryfe) to ones that may surprise you (like the Mutant Liberation Front, S.H.I.E.L.D., or even the X-Men).
X-Force has undergone several different incarnations, team leaders, and mission statements, so it shouldn't really shock you that they've been all over the place when it comes to conflicts. They consider themselves above the law, so they've had a few run ins with the government. They're mutants and proud, so anti-mutant groups tend not to like them much. They're not extremists like Magneto, so they fight against potential mutant world-ender mutants like Apocalypse. Their hardened mindset gets on the nerves of the classic idealists at the X-Men, so sometimes they have to rough up the goody-two-shoes over there.
X-Force has always been a troubled, difficult group, and that means they've been brought into conflicts pretty much anywhere they go.
1 They're getting their own spinoff
Like we said earlier, Fox has been planning on making an X-Force movie for some time now. While plans may have changed now that they're getting their official debut in Deadpool 2, X-Force still plans on getting their own film.
In fact, Ryan Reynolds has said that he doesn't even foresee a Deadpool 3 in the future, because he thinks the way the character will move forward is by continuing to be a part of the X-Force franchise. Said Reynolds: "I would love to see him in a team-up sort of thing, like a mano a mano or a great female character from the X-Men universe."
The Deadpool 2 writers and producers have sat down and hashed out what an X-Force movie would look like, but they don't know exactly which characters they would want to use yet. Aside from Cable and Domino, that is-- any lineup they come up with is going to be built around those two, with Deadpool tagging along as an extremely loud third wheel.
Production hasn't yet started on the as-yet untitled X-Force film, nor has any release date been set. Fox does still have it on its official production docket, of course, and since Deadpool 2 is widely anticipated to be another box office hit, there's no reason the X-Force spinoff won't get greenlit.
Do you have any other X-Force trivia to share for Deadpool 2? Leave it in the comments!