Few could have predicted the success of Deadpool, the “R”-rated 2016 movie based on Marvel Comics’ irreverent, mouthy mercenary. After spending five years in limbo, Deadpool managed to turn some early positive buzz into the biggest opening weekend of all time for an R”-rated film. It eventually became the highest-grossing film in the studio’s X-Men franchise and the second-highest-grossing “R”-rated movie ever. While the film’s initial success was a surprise, the studio’s subsequent announcement of a sequel was all but a given.
Set to be directed by John Wick co-director David Leitch, the still-untitled Deadpool sequel will bring back Ryan Reynolds as iconic antihero Wade Wilson. He’ll suit up alongside returning characters Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and taxi driver Dopinder (Karan Soni). The film will also introduce mutants Cable and Domino to Deadpool’s live-action movie universe. Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick will also return for the sequel, which is expected to hit theaters some time in 2018.
Here’s everything we know about the Deadpool sequel so far.
Would the real Cable please stand up?
After a post-credits scene in Deadpool revealed we could expect the character Cable (aka Nathan Summers) to appear in the next film, casting speculation began. Several contenders were named, including an apparent frontrunner, Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon. As it turns out, though, the Nocturnal Animals star will not be playing the mutant after all; Marvel Cinematic Universe vet Josh Brolin has snagged the role, according to Variety.
The casting comes as a surprise, given that Shannon was “leading the pack” as the studio’s top choice for the character, according to The Hollywood Reporter in mid-March. He seemed like an ideal fit, having already appeared in three films based on comic-book properties — 2010’s Jonah Hex, as well as Man of Steel and the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Brolin allso brings that experience, but it will be a bit strange to see him portray another Marvel character. He played the villain Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he’ll also reprise the role in Avengers: Infinity War. Don’t ask us how they’ll deal with that if there’s ever a Deadpool-Avengers crossover.
Any future strangeness notwithstanding, Rob Liefield, co-creator of the Deadpool comics, is thrilled. He posted an exclamation point-filled Facebook message, saying, “It’s OFFICIAL!!! The amazing JOSH BROLIN is CABLE!! He will be joining @vancityreynolds and @zaziebeetz in #Deadpool 2!!! SO EXCITING!! Yes, it’s happening folks, Deadpool #Domino #Cable are united on screen!!!”
In Marvel Comics lore, Cable is a powerful mutant soldier with a complicated history (involving time travel and conflicting timelines) and a stoic demeanor that often runs counter to Deadpool’s erratic nature. The pair have been enemies, allies, and co-stars of a popular shared comic-book series at various points, and screenwriters Reese and Wernick indicated that Cable’s origin will need to be simplified for the movie.
Prior to Brolin’s casting, Shannon’s name wasn’t the only one floated as the actor to play him. Stranger Things actor David Harbour was also reportedly in the mix, and Bloodline and Zero Dark Thirty actor Kyle Chandler emerged as one of the early frontrunners for the role in August 2016. That report seemed to lose momentum after Deadpool director Tim Miller departed the sequel a few months later.
The art of the tease
In March, 20th Century Fox revved up anticipation for the Deadpool sequel with a short film that was shown before screenings of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s (assumed to be) final solo film as the Marvel Comics mutant Wolverine.
Titled Deadpool: No Good Deed, the short film was directed by David Leitch and written by Rhett Reese, and features Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson (a.k.a. Deadpool). The plot sees Wade attempting to break up an robbery in a dingy alleyway, only to spend so much time trying to put on his costume in a phone booth (obviously throwing shade at D.C.’s Superman) that the victim is killed in the meantime. The film concludes with Deadpool resting on the victim’s body and eating some ice cream from his grocery bag.
Legendary Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee makes a cameo in the short, which also features some graffiti teasing the feature film’s impending debut of the mutant Cable.
A change in direction
Plans for a Deadpool sequel were announced shortly after the film hit theaters, with original director Tim Miller initially expected to return for the follow-up film. Those plans changed in the months following the film’s debut, however, and Miller announced his departure from the sequel in October 2016.
Although nothing is certain regarding Miller’s reasons for exiting the Deadpool sequel, rumors indicated that he and star Ryan Reynolds — who also serves as a producer on the film — clashed over the proposed tone and casting for the second film.
It didn’t take long for the studio to fill the director’s chair. John Wick co-director David Leitch, a former stunt man and renowned fight choreographer, was confirmed as the film’s new director just six days after Miller’s exit.
The Domino effect
Back in October 2016, unconfirmed reports began circulating that the studio was looking to cast an actress to play the mutant Domino for the sequel.
Making her first, official appearance in a 1992 issue of Marvel’s X-Force series, Domino was created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza (the same team responsible for creating Deadpool) and is capable of altering probabilities in her favor. She often makes use of her mutant ability as a mercenary, and has been a partner, teammate, and lover of fellow mutant Cable, along with operating both in league with and against Deadpool at various points in her comic-book history.
Ryan Reynolds brought the speculation to an end in March 2017, however, when he used a zany to announce that Atlanta actress Zazie Beetz would play Domino in the movie.
Zazie Beetz Effect. pic.twitter.com/Kvtyk1aI7O
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) March 9, 2017
Lights, camera …
In February 2017, studio 20th Century Fox and producer Simon Kinberg confirmed plans to release the Deadpool sequel in 2018. The announcement left fans wondering when cameras would officially begin rolling on the project, but they didn’t have to wait long for an answer.
Later that same month, the Directors Guild of Canada confirmed that filming will begin on the Deadpool sequel around June 19 and continue through September 18.
Updated 4-12-2017 by Stephanie Topacio Long: Added information regarding casting of Josh Brolin as Cable.