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Deadpool 2: What you need to know before you watch

If you haven't seen Deadpool, but you like what you see from Deadpool 2, then what are you waiting for? Rent Deadpool! It's freaking hilarious. 

Don't let your kids watch, though. 

But if you don't feel like forking out the dough for Deadpool and you don't have the time to watch one movie just for background on another (perhaps because you're busy raising the children you really, really, really, really should not let within five hundred miles of either Deadpool or Deadpool 2), then you may understandably want some background info. After all, with all these superhero movies, it can be tough to keep track if you haven't grown up with these guys as part of your daily reading. All these different heroes and villains, all these different powers and origin stories, all these different superhero "universes," yeah: it can be confusing to the uninitiated. 

So if you want to see the Merc with a Mouth in action, but you just don't have the time or energy for Deadpool – or maybe you've seen Deadpool and you just want to know who all these new super people are — here's all you could need or want to know before seeing Deadpool 2.

Who is Deadpool?

Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is Wade Wilson, a mercenary with a military black ops past. The first (and in fact only) merc job we see him work is scaring a nerdy pizza delivery guy out of stalking the object of his obsession. He uses the money he gets from the gig for a night of fun with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Wilson and Vanessa fall in love and spend a fun, wild year together until Wilson learns he's dying from an aggressive cancer. With no other options available, Wilson agrees to undergo an experimental treatment that he's told will turn him into a superhero. He doesn't learn until later that the clandestine program's patients are super-powered slaves sold off to the highest bidder. 

The experiments give Wilson the ability to heal from just about any wound, but also make his skin look like Freddy Krueger's. In Deadpool we see him take numerous gunshots — including ones directly to the head — only to heal from the shots moments later. He escapes from X-Men member Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) in an early scene by sawing off his own hand. The hand grows back by the next day. 

Before gaining his new powers, Wilson frequents a bar called "Sister Margaret's" that's patronized mainly by mercenaries. The bar's owner, Weasel (T.J. Miller), hosts a Dead Pool in which he and the customers can bet on who among them will die next, and this inspires Wilson's code name.

One of Deadpool's staples is breaking the "Fourth Wall" — i.e., he talks directly to the audience. Deadpool knows he's a fictional character and he revels in it. Plenty of potshots are taken at other superhero movies (the X-Men franchise in particular), at Hugh Jackman, and Reynolds himself, through jokes about his performances in Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Who is Cable?

There was a time in the '90s when it seemed like just about every new X-Men character was from some kind of dystopian alternate future. Cable (Josh Brolin) is one of these time-crossed refugees. 

In the comics, Cable is Nathan Summers — the child of Scott Summers (a.k.a. Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey) who's sent into the future and returns, initially to take over command of the X-Men's junior team, the New Mutants. Cable's cybernetic enhancements are due to a techno-organic virus. He was born a mutant with telepathic and telekinetic powers, which he uses to keep the virus at bay. 

That's what we know about the comics, but we don't know how different the Cable of Deadpool 2 will be — just that he'll be from the future, he's a cyborg, and he's a formidable warrior. We also know Cable has come to the present to kidnap the teenager Russell (Julian Dennison) for reasons unknown.

Who is the kid?

We don't know for sure who the kid is that Cable's hunting. We know his character's name is Russell, and that, along with what we've seen of his power in the trailers, at the very least gives us a solid idea of who he is in the comics. 

Russell is, in most likelihood, Rusty Jones, a.k.a. Firefist. Rusty first appeared in the pages of X-Factor, where he was the first young mutant to be saved by the new team (comprised of the five original X-Men: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, and Angel). He was able to manipulate fire, much like Pyro from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and X-Men 2.

What we still don't know is what Cable wants with him. Does Russell somehow cause the dark future that Cable's from? Is he the key to undoing it? Or is it that he's the key to accomplishing something in the future? We won't know until May 18, when Deadpool's smart and sexy butt returns to theaters.

What's Deadpool's connection to the X-Men?

We don't know exactly when Deadpool and the X-Men first crossed paths, but we get enough info for a clear picture. In the first film, when Colossus sees the chaos Deadpool is causing on TV, he knows exactly who's behind it. When Colossus and the young Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) arrive on the scene, Deadpool knows why they're there, and he's less than cooperative. 

In Deadpool, Colossus is portrayed as the stereotypical do-gooder superhero. He disapproves of just about everything Deadpool does and says, but he sees potential for him. He wants Deadpool to join the X-Men and cast aside his more lethal methods. Wilson has no plans for that, but he agrees to consider it at the end of Deadpool in order to get the added muscle of Colossus and Negasonic in the film's climax. 

Considering Colossus' opinion of Deadpool, it's clear that whatever the circumstances that created the first offscreen meeting between Wilson and the X-Men, Wilson wasn't exactly on their side. But since Colossus seems determined to get Deadpool on the team, it seems clear he wasn't exactly working against them either. 

If you wind up waiting for Deadpool to join the X-Men, you probably don't want to wait underwater. While Colossus and Negasonic are returning for Deadpool 2, to Wilson they're just tools (and at least in the case of Colossus, he sees him as a "tool" in more way than one).

What's Deadpool's connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

There have been — and will likely continue to be — lots of questions about what the Disney/Fox deal means for the various Marvel Comics franchises under Fox's control in terms of when, how, and if they'll be merged with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And as of yet, there don't seem to be a lot of forthcoming answers. 

How Marvel Studios will handle the question of the Deadpool franchise is interesting to consider. While a number of Marvel Studios' streaming service properties offer more adult content, none of the feature films have gone beyond a PG-13. Assuming the Deadpool franchise would otherwise continue beyond the second film (which Reynolds doesn't seem to think will happen), Marvel will eventually to deal with the Deadpool question. 

In the meantime, there is at least one unofficial connection between Deadpool and the MCU: there's a trashed SHIELD Helicarrier (a kind of flying aircraft carrier featured in the first Avengers film) that's used as the setting for the climactic fight scene at the end of Deadpool. Of course, director Tim Miller has played pretty coy about the whole thing. Meanwhile, right after the Disney/Fox acquisition announcement, Reynolds tweeted a picture of his character being escorted out of a Disney park after trying to do something inappropriate with the Matterhorn.

Who is Domino?

From what we've seen of Deadpool 2's trailers, it's likely that that there will be at least one similarity between the movie's Domino (Zazie Beetz) and her comic book inspiration: her powers of luck. 

Neena Thurman, a.k.a. Domino, is the end result of a government breeding project designed to produce the perfect killer. Domino is surrounded at all times by a "probability field" that affects her and her enemies. Try to shoot at Domino, and there's a good chance your gun will jam or maybe even explode in your face. If Domino leaps from the top of a tall building with no plan of survival, something is likely to come along and cushion or stop her fall. 

Much like Deadpool, Domino's relationships with Marvel's other mutants tend to be somewhat tenuous. She's no crusader like the X-Men, but she'll often work alongside them if she's an opportunity for fun, profit, or both. She first appeared in the pages of the X-Men comic X-Force, making her a perfect fit for the version of the team Deadpool means to assemble in Deadpool 2.

Who is Bedlam?

In 1995, Marvel released a popular event called Age of Apocalypse featuring a dystopian future in which the villain Apocalypse had taken over the Earth. Many alternate, darker versions of Marvel superheroes showed up in the event, and one of the unique examples was Bedlam (Terry Crews) — unique because Bedlam was not the alternate version of a pre-existing Marvel hero. Bedlam's first appearance was in the first issue of the Age of Apocalypse miniseries Factor X

And Bedlam wasn't just one guy. Brothers Jesse and Christopher Aaronson were collectively known by the name. It wasn't until after Age of Apocalypse concluded and everything went back to normal that one of the Aaronson brothers, Jesse, was re-introduced into the regular Marvel Universe in the pages of X-Force

Bedlam produces an electromagnetic field that allows him disrupt different forms of energy and create havoc in people and machines. He's also a martial arts expert. Again, there's no way to know until opening day how faithful Terry Crews' portrayal will be to the comics; only that, like his comic book counterpart, Bedlam will be joining the ranks of X-Force. From what we've seen in the trailers, it's obvious he's no pushover. Likely the whole Age of Apocalypse connection will be forgotten, since we've already got one mutant from a dark alternate future — and that's probably enough for one movie.

Who is Shatterstar?

Remember that time when it seemed like most of the new X-Men characters were from the future? Yeah. So then there's Shatterstar (Lewis Tan). 

In the comics, Shatterstar is from Mojoworld, a planet that exists a century in the future and is ruled by the tyrannical and insanely obese villain Mojo. Mojoworld is obsessed with entertainment, and Shatterstar was a slave who was genetically engineered to be a gladiator. He has enhanced physical abilities like strength and agility, he heals faster than most, he's a master at many different fighting styles, can channel shockwaves through weaponry, and can even open portals allowing people to instantly teleport to wherever they'd like. 

Whether his powers and origin will remain the same in Deadpool 2 remains to be seen. What we do know is he'll be one of the heroes recruited for X-Force. Since one of the trailers shows the hero skillfully fighting off a pair of attackers, it's a safe bet his physical enhancements will be similar to that of the source material. 

As far as his origin is concerned, it's likely it will have nothing to do with Mojoworld. But who knows? Considering how much Deadpool made fun of comic book movie tropes, why not extend that to comic book tropes in Deadpool 2? We could have a scene with Cable, Bedlam, and Shatterstar all comparing dystopian futures, debating whose is worse. 

Who is Peter?

Who is Peter? Well, the short answer is that we don't know. There's some speculation that he's Deadpool 2's answer to longtime Deadpool comics character Hydra Bob.

Hydra Bob is — on the surface — a kind of useless sidekick to Deadpool in the comics. He's cowardly, bad at fighting, and has absolutely no special skills. He's a member of Hydra who will often cite Hydra training maxims, such as "if I can't see them they can't see me" and "hiding behind each other." He suffers pathological terror of certain superheroes (Wolverine is a big one) and generally responds to every situation by running away. 

The character actually had a cameo in Deadpool. He's never referred to as "Hydra Bob" because Fox didn't have the rights to that character, but Deadpool calls him Bob and they talk briefly about working together in Jacksonville. He's among the only (possibly the only) one of Ajax's (Ed Skrien) henchmen that Deadpool knocks unconscious and doesn't kill. 

When Deadpool 2 was being filmed, it's possible they wanted a Hydra Bob but simply created their own with a different name since they didn't have the rights. It's also possible Peter has no connection to the source material at all. We'll learn soon.

Who is the spitting guy?

The guy from the Deadpool 2 trailer who doesn't have any kind of superhero suit but is seen lobbing a machismo-filled loogie while slo-mo walking next to Wade Wilson? That's Dopinder (Karan Soni). Dopinder drives a cab, and Deadpool has been a horrible influence on him. 

Dopinder is actually –  not counting Deadpool himself — the first character we meet in Deadpool. The film opens on Deadpool taking a cab to the overpass from which he plans to ambush the movie's bad guy Ajax, and Dopinder is his driver. On the way there, we learn that the love of Dopinder's life, Gita, has been seduced by his cousin Bandhu. We also eventually learn Wade Wilson is a cheapskate (he can't pay Dopinder for the ride because he doesn't carry cash in his outfit, but instead offers his new friend a "crisp high five"). Before leaving, Wilson suggests Dopinder use a more extreme strategy in winning back Gita.

Dopinder returns later to drive Deadpool, Colossus, and Negasonic to their battle at the wrecked Helicarrier. During the drive we learn Dopinder's cousin is his hostage and in the trunk of the cab. Deadpool feigns ignorance to his X-allies when Dopinder says he took his advice, but whispers things like "I'm so proud" and "Kill him." 

After dropping off the heroes, Dopinder gets into a fender bender and the back of his cab is crushed. We hear his cousin yelling from inside. 

Apparently, since he's back for Deadpool 2, Dopinder escaped punishment for kidnapping his cousin somehow. Presumably we'll learn how he managed that — along with the the fate of Bandhu and Gita — on May 18.