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Deadpool 2's Ending Explained

Deadpool 2 is a cinematic blessing the likes of which the world hasn't seen since... Infinity War came out two weeks ago. That said, this sarcastic, fourth-wall-breaking, rollicking good time of an X-Men spinoff is up there with the very best superhero sequels — like Spider-Man 2X2, or the second Godfather movie. It raises the stakes, widens the world, and racks up a massive, bone-crunching body count. What more could you possibly ask for? The movie's got everything you need but a free chimichanga.

The plot of the original Deadpool was remarkable in its simplicity. Most of that movie is just the main character hanging out on an overpass, catching the audience up on how he got there before moving on to battle his nemesis in the final act. 

Deadpool 2, however, has a lot more going on than you might expect. In a way, it's kind of like Firefist's prison pocket: Pliable, sneaky, efficient... ah, but we're getting into spoilers. Let's just get the article started. 

Were you too busy laughing to catch exactly what was going on at the end of Deadpool 2? If so, don't worry. We've got ourselves a hot-off-the-presses, cell-phone-quality camera rip of this R-rated blockbuster, and we've combed through it frame-by-frame to get you all the facts you need. So buckle up, family — it's time to break down the insane ending of Deadpool 2.

The Cable guy calms down

Introduced into the Deadpool universe standing over the charred remains of his family, Josh Brolin's Cable is all grim business for the movie's first act-and-a-half. With grim resolve, he sets off from his ill-defined apocalyptic future to exact vengeance in the present on the person who will one day slay his family: a teenager named Russell Collins, a.k.a. Firefist. 

In the comics, Cable is indeed from the future — well, born in the present and sent to the future — but it's not the span of a lifetime. It's actually 2,000 years, which is what makes sense, considering how utterly wrecked Cable's future world is. If his real nemesis is a grown-up Firefist, then he's coming back from 30 or 40 years into the future — which means that, according to the movie, this whole modern civilization thing we've got going on really falls off a cliff in a second here. Movie Cable must be from sometime in the bad ol' days of future past.

Whenever he's from, the hero's journey Cable takes in Deadpool 2 ends up not being a path of vengeance, but rather of personal growth. Fueled by (arguably rather righteous) murderous rage, he enters the narrative dead set on taking out Russell. By the end, something about Deadpool's mad insistence on saving the kid's life moves Cable's metal-entwined heart, inspiring him to change his ways. 

Token of affection

The movie's climax centers on Russell and his new pal Juggernaut raiding the abusive orphanage he's grown up in, with Domino, Cable, and Deadpool staging their own counter-raid to stop him before he takes a life. At the end of the conflict, Deadpool faces off with Russell in a last-ditch effort to reach the kid. When that attempt fails, Cable takes his shot at Russell — but Deadpool interferes, taking the bullet and sustaining a fatal wound while his powers are suppressed.

After watching Deadpool give up his life for Russell, Cable reconsiders things during the absurdly long time it takes the merc to finally expire. Thanks to Back to the Future-style time travel causality waves, he can see that Deadpool's efforts to save Russell's soul were ultimately effective; in our present, his daughter Hope's teddy bear is no longer stained with ash and blood. Realizing Deadpool's sacrifice has saved his daughter's life, he decides to pay Deadpool's good deed forward with a sacrifice of his own. 

Turning the clock back some 15 minutes, Cable uses the second of two time jumps his machine is capable of to go back and make sure that the lead skee-ball token he stole from Deadpool ends up back in Deadpool's pocket, right over his heart. Afterwards, the fight scene plays out precisely as before, right down to the millisecond, allowing Deadpool to take the shot without his healing factor active and survive unharmed, the bullet piercing the token instead of his heart. 

The start of something beautiful

In Marvel Comics canon, Cable and Deadpool have had a long history together, both first appearing in the first volume of The New Mutants in the early '90s. Cable was a stoic, very tall, and very bulky telepath, while Deadpool was... well, you're familiar with his schtick by now. A mismatched duo by any metric, they would go on to be paired up in the series Cable & Deadpool, fighting alongside each other more often than not.

The ending of Deadpool 2 sets up the first seeds of that alliance, putting the mutant and the mercenary on the same side against what Deadpool calls "the pedophiles" who staff the exceedingly creepy orphanage. Many, many executions follow. Our heroes are as graceful as ballet dancers as they tear the mob limb from limb.

As the movie ends, Sir Pool departs the scene of many, multiple crimes — including something like 50 cold-blooded murders — and walks off into the sunset with his new surrogate family. By the time his quest is through, he's made peace with the X-Men, made new friends in Domino and Yukio (hi Yukio!), and — most importantly for comic book readers — established an alliance with Cable.

Time to change

The first chunk of the post-credits sequence opens up a massive can of worms and dumps it all over the narrative, giving Deadpool nothing less than the power to rewrite reality as we know it. 

Along with her girlfriend Yukio, Negasonic Teenage Warhead tinkers with the far-future time travel device until she manages to unlock a capacity for unlimited trips, turning the machine from a limited-use, last resort option into a glowing "I win" button. It's the worst possible power to endow a psycho like Deadpool with, which NTW seems to only realize after she's handed the device over to him. Just like that, Deadpool is off on his very own excellent adventure.

Now is as good a time as any to point out that, because of the irreverence baked into the very concept of the movie, Deadpool 2's screenplay is able to get away with quite a lot. Some movies invite you to try and puzzle out their intricate internal logic, whereas Deadpool is more like a magician, dazzling you with spectacle so you don't notice how the illusion works. 

Deadpool was self-aware enough to point out that having a time machine that only works twice for plot reasons is lazy writing, but the real lazy part happens when Negasonic Teenage Warhead is able to fix the far-future time machine by poking at it with a screwdriver. Isn't her mutant power just running into things? Apparently, Xavier ain't kidding around with the whole "gifted youngsters" thing.

Unwasting Vanessa

Long before the wide release of Deadpool 2, there was a swirl of negative buzz surrounding one of the movie's test screenings, part of which had to do with Vanessa being "wasted" in the story — which is pretty cheeky wording in retrospect, once you know she gets shot through the chest in the movie's first act.

Anyway — Vanessa is indeed heavily sidelined throughout the movie, a classic casualty of the comic book practice of "fridging" — that is, stuffing a deceased female character into a metaphorical fridge to generate motivation for a male hero. The movie doesn't really comment on the trope — it just uses it, and not for comedic effect. Instead of being treated as a joke, her demise is taken extremely seriously — for a while there, things get so dark that it really does feel like we've entered the DC Universe. 

The overblown and overdramatic opening credits sequence of the movie, scored to Celine Dion's "Ashes,"  only serves to further highlight how shocking and impactful Vanessa's death is. While it does make the opening of the movie feel sort of tonally weird, all the pomp and circumstance about her early end makes it all the more satisfying when Deadpool uses the time machine to go back to the scene of her death and bisect her killer's brain with a cream cheese spreader. It's an insanely violent way to get to a happy ending, but it's a happy ending we'll most certainly take.

Searching for Sugar Bear

The second task Deadpool embarks on after saving the love of his life is travelling through time to save the true love of the audience — Rob Delaney's Peter

After surviving the high-risk, high-altitude parachute jump like a regular member of the damn Army Rangers, Peter is ready to go all-out on the heroism by saving the life of Zeitgeist, he of the useless vomiting power. The first time around, this selfless act resulted in Peter's violent death from a spray of Zeitgeist's acid bile. When Deadpool comes back to the moment via the time machine, he sends Peter away from Zeitgeist's crash site emphatically, letting X-Force's witless wonder live to fight another day.

The rest of X-Force Version One? They remain done for. Totally kaput. Just four big butts of one big joke. Sure, it was funny to see them go out so fast, but do you know how much research we did on those D-listers in preparation for seeing this movie? Do you wanna know how much Shatterstar trivia we had to go compile? All that reading, all that work, just to watch that schmuck go back to his home planet in a thousand tiny pieces. Him and Bedlam and stupid Brad Pitt. 

Oh, well. At least we know Peter survived. Maybe he can go have his own spinoff with Logan's X-23. After all, this whole franchise is getting sold to Disney, right? This is the end times, Fox producers. Just go nuts.

X-Men Origins: Schlock

After sparing the life of the movie's most important character — Peter — Deadpool sets out on his own journey of twisted revenge. Like a coked-out and heavily armed Doctor Who having a manic episode, Deadpool goes back to correct as many mistakes as he possibly can — and his first stop is cathartic for everyone. 

With his second turn at the time machine, Deadpool goes back to either the 2009 of our world or the late '70s of X-Men's world to intercept the climax of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That movie — which is just god-awful — infamously ended with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine having a nonsensical duel with Ryan Reynolds' proto-Deadpool, who you might remember as the Merc with No Mouth. 

Attacking from offscreen, the real Deadpool finally corrects the record, capping his old self eight or nine times while Jackman's Wolverine looks on, claws at the ready.

The most impressive thing is that the movie manages to take what many people were sincerely dreading in a Jackman cameo and somehow make it work for everyone. And that was indeed new footage of Jackman in the role of Logan, not just archival footage from X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Instead of undercutting the emotional weight of Logan's perfect ending, the cameo manages to tip the hat to one of the X-Men franchise's lowest moments, giving both of the players involved a weird and violent redemption. Now please, please, Mr. Jackman — allow our lovelorn hearts to move on, and never play Wolverine again!

Widely-distributed masochism

There's something very Canadian about the way Ryan Reynolds continually apologizes for his past mistakes. In a way, the Deadpool movies are a cudgel that he uses to bash his personal history as a celebrity, as well as two or three of the biggest black marks on his IMDb page. (Speaking in an interview with The New York Times in the leadup to Deadpool 2's release, Reynolds responded to a reporter pulling up his Rotten Tomatoes page by sympathetically saying, "I'm so sorry you did that.") 

In the third portion of Deadpool 2's end credits world tour, the actor Ryan Reynolds excitedly reads the script for Warner Bros. Green Lantern movie, sometime in 2010. Thanks to Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds' life comes to an end before he gets the chance to make the misbegotten movie, his blood and brain matter sprayed across the page. It's the bloodiest, goriest, strangest mea culpa the world has ever seen in a superhero movie, and the new Exhibit A in what makes these movies in particular so magical.

Aaaaaand cut

One thing that's bound to bug some fans is the fact that Deadpool 2 apparently filmed, and then cut, a scene in which Deadpool goes back in time to smother Baby Hitler in his crib.

The deleted scene is set up during the apartment encounter between DP's crew and Cable, when a baby-legged Deadpool floats the classic "if I had a time machine" premise of stopping the world's worst Fuhrer before he so much as takes a first step. In the final cut of the movie, the line ends up not going anywhere. But in at least one version, assembled prior to the theatrical release, that line ends up going to some very dark places.

Originally, the last stop on Wade Wilson's Excellent Time Travel Tour was somewhere in Austria in the year 1889. Originally — and please read this sentence slowly — this tentpole studio action-comedy ended with its hero suffocating Baby Hitler to death. It's arguably the most heroic thing anyone's ever done in a superhero movie — but did it go too far?

Well, someone thought so. According to Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, two of the movie's sick, depraved screenwriters, the scene was cut because the implications were just too uncomfortable to end the movie on. 

"I think it was cut just because, it was at the very, very end," Wernick said. "And it left the audience with this, 'Oh?' It's like, 'Sure, it's baby Hitler, but it is a baby. It's kind of weird to watch that!" 

The next episode

Ultimately, Deadpool 2 leaves the Merc with a Mouth in a satisfying place. He's brought his lover back to life, fixed every one of his mistakes, and had the good fortune to make a whole bunch of dazzling new friends along the way. Some of them even survived! And one of them got mulched.

While the final shots of the film's main story seem to suggest more adventures on the horizon, it's possible that those adventures won't be solo missions anymore. Like Weasel says in the Deadpool trailer, they probably won't even make a Three. This isn't just conjecture — it's actually something Ryan Reynolds has come out and said

"I don't know that there would be a Deadpool 3. I really don't," Reynolds said, speaking to Entertainment Weekly. "I feel like the character, in order for him to function properly within his own universe, you need to take everything away from him. I don't think that you can keep doing that." Instead, Reynolds envisions Deadpool's future as being one member of a larger team, or one half of a partnership.

Granted, those are where his thoughts are as of the end of an exhausting movie production. We imagine he's just being cautious about where he goes with it. In case watching him get his brains blown out over the script for Green Lantern didn't make it clear, the guy's tired of doing lousy superhero movies. Whether on a team or on his own, Deadpool's future looks bright.