UPDATE: Scroll down for details on the two Deadpool post-credits scenes.
NOTE: The following post contains SPOILERS for the Deadpool post-credits scenes.
It's been a rough road to the big screen for Deadpool. Despite a fun performance from Ryan Reynold's as Wade Wilson in the maligned (and now time-travel retconned) X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Merc with a Mouth was a non-start for Fox - given that the final laser-eyed Merc Without a Mouth bore little resemblance to his beloved comic book counterpart. Fox spent the next few years licking their wounds from the Wolverine solo movie and X-Men: The Last Stand which, though financially successful, both disappointed fans and undercut enthusiasm for the X-Men franchise.
Still, talk of a Deadpool spinoff tale never disappeared entirely - as Fox debated the merits of doubling-down on the story they started in Origins or rebooting the character with a more "faithful" depiction. Deadpool might have been a beloved property but it wasn't a safe-bet either - especially given interest in a hard-R-rated version. Fortunately, with the success of the X-Men: First Class prequel series (and the rewriting of time and events in Days of Future Past), the foundation for a Deadpool movie "done right" was laid and now, following surprise fan screenings of the film (an unfinished cut), we're learning new details about the highly-anticipated antihero movie - including confirmation of a post-credits scene.
Given that Deadpool doesn't open for another month, we're not going to spoil the actual contents of the post-credits scene that was shown - especially because the circumstances surrounding the post-credits scene have left us wondering: could the theatrical cut of Deadpool actually include an even bigger tease or reveal? It's worth noting the fan screenings took place in Los Angeles and New York City - but only Los Angeles got to see a post-credits scene. Meaning that the post-credits scene may have been spliced in last-minute for Los Angeles or included specifically for that audience. That's all to say, if the post-credits scene that was shown is the final one - why wouldn't Fox have also shown it to the New York City audience as well?
Additionally, after several major reveals in recent X-Men universe post-credits scenes (the meet-up between Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto as well as the epic reveal of young Apocalypse building the pyramids) Deapool's Los Angeles post-credits scene might be underwhelming by comparison - a final joke, rather than a hint of what's to come. In a genre where post-credits scenes have become one of the most-talked about parts of any superhero film, one-off gags, such as Howard the Duck in Guardians of Galaxy or Tony Stark talking-out his post-Iron Man 3 woes with Bruce Banner, rarely deliver the same excitement as teases of things to come. So, while a tongue-in-cheek post-credits scene in Deadpool is a fit for the fourth-wall breaking character, it'd be a missed opportunity for Fox to get people excited about what the studio has planned for the future.
Months back, the Deadpool writers told Collider the studio was working on a "phenomenal" post-credits scene that they were hoping would come together in time for the film to release:
"There is a post credit thing that if hopefully comes together, It’s gonna be phenomenal. We’re planning it. It’s one of those ones that’s gonna require some doing, so it may not come together, and if so, I don’t know, we’ll either do a plan be or none at all. I think we should have one, I mean, we really feel like we should have one."
The post-credits scene that aired in Los Angeles was relatively straightforward and would not have required "some doing" - meaning that it could simply be a placeholder for the planned but still incomplete "phenomenal" post-credits scene. Sometimes, the pieces simply don't fall into place but, conversely, post-credit scenes are often produced in the final stages of production - and tacked-onto the finished film (remember: Fox says this was a near-complete but still unfinished cut). Several Marvel Studios movies even used future directors to shoot the post-credits scenes for films in post-production (example: James Gunn filmed the mid-credits scene of Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World).
There are plenty of theories regarding what that "phenomenal" post-credits scene would show but, with Apocalypse, Gambit, Wolverine 3, another X-Men movie, and more set for Fox's shared mutant universe, there are plenty of possibilities. Whether the scene comes (or already came) together remains to be seen - and it sounds as though fans will have to wait until the film's official release to know for sure. After all, Marvel has gone so far as to remove post-credits scenes from press screenings of their films - ensuring that paying moviegoers, not pre-release spoiling fans and journalists, are the first to experience an exciting fan-service tease. Either way, Deadpool viewers can at least count-on one post-credits scene and, given the positive response to the film so far, that might be enough - the more Deadpool, the better.
Update: Now that Deadpoool is in theaters (read our Deadpool review), we can confirm the film features two post-credits scenes - which are really just one scene with a teasing-cut back to credits between them. In the combined scene, Deadpool steps into a suburban home hallway in a bathrobe - and pokes fun at the audience for staying after the credits (claiming Fox didn't have the budget to tease Deadpool 2).
After a little more playful banter the screen cuts to the credits (marking the end of the post-credits scene shown to critics and fan screenings) - only to skip back to Deadpool in the hallway again, who briefly teases that fan-favorite X-Force character Cable will be in the sequel; though, the Merc claims Fox has yet to cast an actor for the role.
We've covered the backstory behind the casting, and a rumored Deadpool post-credits scene featuring an appearance by Cable that did not come together in time, extensively. So, if you don't know who Cable is, want to learn more about the character, are curious who might play him, or are interested to know why the time-traveling mutant didn't make it into this Deadpool end-credits scene, make sure to check out the link below.
Deadpool is now playing in theaters, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X–Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.