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Why The Deadpool Cast Looks So Familiar

The 2016 Deadpool adaptation marked the eighth official installment in the X-Men film franchise — but in a lot of ways, this big-screen hit and its expertly assembled ensemble cast still managed to put the rest of the movies in the series to shame. Fans and critics alike praised the film's faithful reproduction of the tone, humor, and violence of the comics. Raking in a massive $783 million on just a $58 million budget, Deadpool became not only the highest-grossing X-Men movie, but also the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time

This runaway success has led to Deadpool becoming a massive superhero franchise in its own right, with at least two more sequels slated for the near future — including one scheduled to premiere in late 2018. With the exception of the CGI-created Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic), you undoubtedly spotted many familiar faces among the talented Deadpool cast. Let's take a look at the familiar faces who helped make Deadpool such a success, and help you figure out exactly where you've seen these actors before.

Jed Rees - The Recruiter

The Recruiter/Agent Smith (Jed Rees) is a high-level operative for the Weapon X program who helps Ajax enlist sick people as test subjects by promising them a miracle cure to their illness. Smith manages to recruit Wade Wilson this way, telling him that not only could they cure his cancer, he would also gain "abilities that most men only dream of." After Wilson emerged from the treatment horribly disfigured, he made it his personal mission to hunt down Ajax and all of his associates, including Smith.

Canadian actor Jed Rees began his professional acting career in the early '90s. Prior to Deadpool, he appeared in dozens of television shows over the years, including Hawkeye, Sliders, The X-Files, and The Outer Limits. He's also been in several movies, with notable roles in Fear, Galaxy Quest, and Elizabethtown. You might also recognize him from more recent appearances on Chuck, Pretty Little Liars, and NCIS — or his work in a 2017 episode of Bones and the film American Made, starring Tom Cruise.

Karan Soni - Dopinder

On his way to kill Ajax, Deadpool takes a cab driven by Dopinder (Karan Soni). During the ride, Dopinder talks about his troubled love life: the girl he is supposed to marry prefers his cousin Bandhu over him. Deadpool tells Dopinder to never let go of love, and the cabbie takes his advice to heart. When Deadpool gets another ride from Dopinder a couple of days later, we learn that he has Bandhu tied up in the trunk of his cab. Later, Dopinder is rear-ended and Bandhu begins to scream, drawing the attention of onlookers.

Karan Soni appeared in several television roles before landing his first movie appearance in Colin Trevorrow's 2012 film, Safety Not Guaranteed. Soni's next few appearances included leading roles in the 2013 Amazon Original series Betas, several popular AT&T commercials, Yahoo's sci-fi series Other Space, and the Starz sitcom Blunt Talk with Patrick Stewart. You also may recognize him as delivery boy Bennie from Ghostbusters, or for his recurring role in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. In 2018, Soni will reprise his role as Dopinder in the Deadpool sequel, and will also star alongside Brenton Thwaites and Zachary Levi in the zombie comedy Office Uprising.

Leslie Uggams - Blind Al

After escaping Ajax's lab, Wade Wilson is reluctant to return to his former life and worried about how his girlfriend will react to his disfigurement. While attempting to clean bloodstains from his clothes at a laundromat, he's befriended by Althea (Leslie Uggams), an elderly blind woman. Eventually, Wilson moves in with "Blind Al," whose snarky and motherly personality make her the perfect roommate as he tries to track down and kill Ajax. Al eventually convinces him to seek out his girlfriend Vanessa and reconcile, pointing out that looks are only one part of love.

Leslie Uggams began her performing career as a singer, putting out several records in the '50s and '60s before scoring her own variety show, The Leslie Uggams Show, in 1969. You may also recognize Uggams as Kizzy from the popular 1977 TV miniseries Roots, or for her appearances in Backstairs at the White House, The Love Boat, The Good Wife, and Nurse Jackie. She is also a renowned stage actress, with numerous Broadway and off-Broadway roles to her name and a Tony Award for her part in the 1967 production of Hallelujah, Baby! Most recently, Uggams played Lucious' mother Leah during the 2016 season of Empire, and she is slated to reprise her role as Blind Al in the 2018 Deadpool sequel.

Brianna Hildebrand - Negasonic Teenage Warhead

After Wade Wilson becomes Deadpool and begins his campaign of vengeance on Ajax and his crew, he makes the news—where he's spotted by X-Men team members Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). They head out to intercept Deadpool before he can wreak more havoc, and try to convince him to join the X-Men. Although he turns them down, Deadpool strikes up a friendship with the snarky (and explosive) teen, and she and Colossus later come to his aid when Ajax kidnaps Vanessa.

Actress Brianna Hildebrand is a relative newcomer in Hollywood, with only a few acting credits to her name before her role in Deadpool. In 2014, she appeared in the web series Annie Undocumented, following that up with the 2015 indie film Prism and the thriller short The Voice Inside, which Hildebrand also produced. Most recently, you can spot Hildebrand in the black comedy horror flick Tragedy Girls and in season two of the Fox anthology series The Exorcist. Like many of the other Deadpool cast members, she will reprise her role for the 2018 sequel.  

Gina Carano - Angel Dust

Like Deadpool, Angel Dust (Gina Carano) received her superhuman powers by undergoing extreme procedures in Ajax's lab. Afterwards, she joined the Weapon X program and helped Ajax with performing his X-gene experiments on others — including Wade Wilson. Later, she helps Ajax kidnap Deadpool's girlfriend Vanessa, and she nearly kills Colossus with her super-strength before being defeated by Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Although she just tried to strangle him with a pipe, Colossus still saves Angel Dust from a massive explosion and presumably turns her over to police before Deadpool can take his revenge on her.

Before she was an actress, Gina Carano regularly put her real superpowers on display as one of the first professional kickboxers and MMA fighters. She competed in Muay Thai kickboxing and mixed martial arts bouts from 2006 to 2009, and ended her career with an impressive 19 wins and 2 losses between the two sports. Carano's acting career developed alongside her MMA career, with appearances in the 2005 docudrama Ring Girls and the 2006 TV series Fight Girls. After a voice-acting part in the 2008 video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Carano landed her breakout role as the star of 2011's Haywire alongside Ewan McGregor. You may also recognize her Fast & Furious 6, Heist, and Extraction. Carano won't be back for the Deadpool sequel, but you can catch her as a post-apocalyptic bounty hunter in 2018's Scorched Earth.

T.J. Miller - Weasel

Wade Wilson's closest friend is Weasel (T.J. Miller), a bartender at Sister Margaret's School for Wayward Children. The former catholic boarding house now acts a hub for mercenaries, who can pick up jobs or participate in the bar's frequent "deadpool" brawls. After he is disfigured during Ajax's experiments, Wilson returns to the bar to get Weasel's help. The bartender advises his friend to hunt down Ajax and his crew, and suggests that Wade name himself Deadpool after the bar's matches.

Comedian and actor T.J. Miller made his film debut in 2008 as Hud in Cloverfield. Since then, he's appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, including Extract, Gulliver's Travels, Rock of Ages, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Silicon Valley. Miller is also an accomplished voice actor; you may recognize him as the voice of Tuffnut in How to Train Your Dragon, Fred in Big Hero 6, and Gene Meh in The Emoji Movie. Most recently, Miller appeared in 2017's Walden: Life in The Woods, and he will appear in both Ready Player One and the Deadpool sequel in 2018.

Ed Skrein - Francis Freeman/Ajax

Francis Freeman (Ed Skrein) works for the Weapon X project, and developed an experimental procedure to use pain and sensory deprivation techniques on ill patients to activate their X-genes and latent superpowers. After experimenting on countless subjects at The Workshop, Freeman eventually underwent the procedure himself, taking the name Ajax. After his experiments disfigured Wade Wilson, the mercenary took on the identity of Deadpool in order to hunt down Ajax and force him to cure him. However, this "cure" was a lie, and Ajax eventually kidnapped Deadpool's girlfriend Vanessa to force a final showdown with him.

English actor and rapper Ed Skrein made his film debut in the 2012 independent movie Piggy, and has appeared in several other films since then, including Sword of Vengance and The Transporter Refueled. Fans of Game of Thrones will likely recognize Skrein as the first actor to play Daario Naharis during the show's third season. He won't be back for the Deadpool sequel, but you can catch Skrein in the 2018 sci-fi feature Alita: Battle Angel and the drama If Beale Street Could Talk.

Morena Baccarin - Vanessa Carlysle

After Wade Wilson is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is devastated — especially after Wilson disappears one day without a trace. She believes he's dead and eventually starts moving on with her life, until she's kidnapped by Ajax and Angel Dust. When Deadpool comes to rescue her, she's overjoyed when she realizes her ex-fiance is still alive, although she does punch him a few times for leaving her like that. Vanessa is no damsel in distress, though — she isn't afraid of Ajax despite his superpowers, and even stabs him while trying to help Wade.

Brazilian-American actress Morena Baccarin started her Hollywood career in 2001, and many sci-fi fans will no doubt recognize her for one of her earliest roles, as Inara Serra on the popular series Firefly. She reprised that role in the 2005 film Serenity, and has also been in several other films and TV shows, including Still Life, The O.C., Stargate SG-1, Heartland, Stolen, and V. More recently, she's had leading roles in the TV shows Homeland, The Flash, and Gotham. Along with the Deadpool sequel, Baccarin will also star in the 2018 comedy Ode to Joy.

Ryan Reynolds - Wade Wilson/Deadpool

After being diagnosed with cancer, mercenary and former Canadian Special Forces member Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is approached by a Weapon X recruiter at the bar and offered a chance to not only cure his illness, but gain superpowers as well. The superpowers don't interest him much, but Wilson is desperate to live for his girlfriend's sake, and he leaves suddenly in the middle of the night to undergo the experimental procedure. After gaining regenerative healing powers at the cost of horrible disfigurement, he seeks out Ajax to take vengeance on him and comes face-to-face with his girlfriend again after the villain kidnaps her.

Ryan Reynolds probably looks more familiar than anyone in the Deadpool cast — he started his acting career in the early 1990s, appearing in primarily Canadian TV shows and films until his starring appearances in Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the ABC sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. Reynolds had his breakout role with the 2002 comedy Van Wilder, and he was soon a top Hollywood actor. You may also recognize him from The Amityville Horror, Waiting..., and Blade: Trinity. Reynolds first played the character of Wade Wilson/Deadpool in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In recent years, he's appeared in Green Lantern, The Change-Up, Safe House, and Women in Gold. He starred in the 2017 sci-fi thriller Life, and will appear again as the Merc with a Mouth in the 2018 Deadpool sequel as well as an untitled third film.