The little details no one noticed in Deadpool 2

You can't keep a good merc down… even when he leaves his gas oven on, lies down on several barrels full of explosives, and flips a lit cigarette into one in order to blow himself to bits. Deadpool 2 is finally here, and with it comes all the rude humor, random pop culture references, and absurd action sequences fans have been hoping for — as well as more Easter eggs than an industrial hatchery. It's no surprise that Wade Wilson's second solo big-screen outing would keep the allusions to other films and comics coming fast, furious, and fairly obvious, but Deadpool 2 also came with a pretty wide assortment of secrets that probably sailed right by casual fans — and even comics readers would have to dig pretty far into their back issue archives to find. Gird your loins and prepare yourself for spoilers: like a stolen prison pen, we're going deep.

X-Stuff

It's not as though Deadpool's connection to the X-Men movie universe is a secret… it's just a thing that the serious X-Men films don't exactly like to acknowledge. Deadpool himself is the world's biggest critic of Ryan Reynolds' performance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which he makes explicitly obvious during the movie's mid-credits scene by pumping a dozen bullets into the other, original Deadpool.

Without actually interacting in any meaningful way with the core X-Men, Deadpool 2 does everything it can to insinuate itself into their far-too-serious world: Deadpool wears Professor Xavier's Cerebro helmet (and says it smells like Patrick Stewart, the original X-trilogy's Professor), and zips around the X-Mansion in the Prof's wheelchair. Most notably, and perhaps twisting continuity into even more complicated pretzels than before, Deadpool briefly stands in front of a room filled with actual, real-life, First Class X-Men, including nu-Professor X James McAvoy. It's the stuff X-Fan dreams are made of.

Essex stuff

Even though longtime X-Men foe Mr. Sinister hasn't actually appeared on the big screen yet, his presence in the X-Movie Universe looms large. In the comics, Sinister, a.k.a. Nathaniel Essex, is an amoral human biologist from the 1800s who conducts mutation experiments on subjects ranging from kidnapped vagabonds to his own dead son. Those experiments also extend to himself, giving him an unreasonable set of superpowers as a human "mutate."

As far as his cinematic presence goes, he's only appeared in name: by the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, his name on a briefcase is connected to the Weapon X facilities that created Wolverine. Logan's Transigen corporation, which created Laura, a.k.a. X-23, has been confirmed to be related to Essex Corp. as well. In Deadpool 2, Essex is the name of the school that tortures young mutants, including Russell, out of using their natural powers. While their ideals don't really align with the overall Essex ethos, the name remains a common thread throughout all arms of the X-Universe.

And if you want to dig really deep into comic lore, Mr. Sinister is the guy responsible for manipulating time and circumstance to basically make sure Cable was born. Try to wrap your head around that.

Goonies never say die!

Before he was Thanos, or Cable, or anything else for that matter, Josh Brolin first appeared on the big screen as Brand Walsh in The Goonies, a fact that Deadpool will not let him forget. While it's absolutely true that Cable has one normal eye and one crazy 1990s comic-book eye, Deadpool mockingly calling him One-Eyed Willy isn't just a dig at his one peeper or a superficial pop culture reference — Willy was the pirate that the Goonies were searching for in their own iconic film.

Want to double down on the Goon-love? When Deadpool appears on his couch after being torn in two by Juggernaut, he's wearing the exact same shirt that Chunk did in The Goonies. It's all done out of love, of course: Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin have a rare kinship. Both starred in absolutely terrible DC movie flops — Green Lantern and Jonah Hex, respectively. If there was no love, Deadpool wouldn't take the onscreen time to remind us that yes, Brolin was an absolutely amazing Thanos.

Callback attack

Deadpool 2's many clever trailers revealed a whole family-sized omelette's worth of Easter eggs, but a few super clever ones were hidden in plain sight. Sure, it's a pretty funny nod to the absurdity of both action films and comics when an exhausted Deadpool attempts to take out a barrage of bullets with nothing but his swords, but that's actually a callback to when he did the exact same thing, with much more unbelievable success, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It's a shot-for-shot do-over at certain moments, but with a lot more bullet holes and blood this time around.

And yes, Deadpool finding a lot of cocaine and the cure for blindness stashed under some floorboards in Blind Al's apartment is also a great gag, but it's also a very clear callback to the first Deadpool film… in which he sarcastically states she has those exact things hidden in her apartment. Turns out he knew what he was talking about.

Cameo city

There's nothing like a super smart cameo to really get the fans going, and like usual, Deadpool 2 had a few. Notably absent, however, was Marvel patriarch Stan Lee, who only appeared as a mural on the side of a building. One might have also expected Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld to appear again in this second outing, but he's nowhere to be seen. Instead, he's called out in a much more creative way: as the creator of Domino, who Deadpool proclaims to basically have a very stupid set of powers, and was probably created by a guy who can't draw feet. Comic art historians will note that Mr. Liefeld's grasp of the human anatomy is creative at its best, hilarious at its worst, and as often as not, includes large clouds of smoke usually focused somewhere below each character's knees.

Noted Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan also gets a shoutout: the parkway on which part of the epic convoy battle sequence takes place is named after him.

Most importantly, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance, is Brad Pitt, playing the ill-fated Vanisher. At one point scheduled to play Cable himself, Pitt's one and only appearance, and immediate death, was added in post-production, but is nonetheless a pretty unexpected addition. Also unexpected is the surprise appearance of Alan Tudyk as a toilet-paper obsessed redneck, appearing alongside none other than Matt Damon.

X-Farce

Speaking of Vanisher's untimely death, the sudden gory departure of almost the entirety of the newly-formed X-Force is something of a surprise… but it really shouldn't be. Pretty much the exact same thing happens in X-Force #116: a newly formed group of mutants calling themselves X-Force are immediately, explosively dispatched, during their very first appearance. Among them is Zeitgeist, the same tattooed, acid-puking mutant that's welcomed into Deadpool's X-Force. That tattoo of 116 on his arm wasn't just an interstate — it's the issue in which he died.

And we can't mention highly specific numerical references without Deadpool's prisoner number: 24601. Most significantly, it's the prisoner number of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, a role played by Hugh Jackman on the big screen. Even more, though, it's a number used for pop culture prisoners constantly, with such notable ex-cons as Sideshow Bob, Eric Cartman, and Arrested Development's Oscar Bluth among them.

Bad Taste

Deadpool co-star TJ Miller has been embroiled in multiple controversies since December of 2016, including (but not limited to) calling in a fake a bomb threat on a train, allegedly assaulting an Uber driver during a political argument, and allegedly committing violence and sexual assault against a woman in 2001. When the latter accusations surfaced after Miller's prominent role in Deadpool 2 was already in production, the film's producers made the difficult and controversial decision to keep the former Mucinex monster and Emoji Movie star in the picture, but axe him from Deadpool 3.

Still, the film couldn't resist taking a jab at the situation. During the news report about Firefists' explosive meltdown, the crawl at the bottom of the screen mentions that Christopher Plummer had turned down a role in the film. Famously, Plummer reshot all of Kevin Spacey's scenes in All the Money in the World after Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual improprieties. It's not like anything in Deadpool 2 was in good taste anyhow. All this and not one Emoji Movie jab? Poor form, Deadpool.

Good taste

It's hard to tell exactly where Deadpool ends and Ryan Reynolds begins, and it's a line that's been blurred constantly since the first time it's mentioned in the comics that Wade Wilson looks like a cross between Reynolds and a shar pei. Deadpool signs a Wolverine cereal box with Reynolds' name, and later shoots Reynolds through the head as he considers ever even thinking about appearing in Green Lantern. But despite all of the movie's leaps from different realities and tasteless jokes, one throwaway line has more heart than the whole film combined. 

When Wade Wilson considers the name Connor for his kid, it's not meaningless. Prior to the original Deadpool coming out, Ryan Reynolds enjoyed a special screening of the film with a Make-a-Wish kid named Connor McGrath. While Connor passed in 2016, Reynolds made sure that his love of Deadpool and his legacy lived on in Deadpool 2 in the most heartwarming (and heartbreaking) way possible.

Costume connection

While Deadpool is mostly known for his red-and-black duds, he's historically fought crime in a wide variety of colors at different points in his long comics career. While seeking admittance into the X-Men during Deadpool #16, he actually made his own X-Men uniform, with a giant red X on the front. Totally on the nose, but Wade Wilson isn't a clothing designer, and apparently neither is whoever designed the X-Men's trainee uniforms in Deadpool 2, because they're a pretty close match.

Deadpool, during his darker X-Force days, has also been seen sporting a black and grey version of the familiar costume. So while the change in color isn't intentional on the part of the big-screen Deadpool, his charred costume near the end of the movie is a dead ringer for his X-Force comics counterpart. It's no coincidence: this is when the real X-Force finally comes together. Sorry, Shatterstar. You suck.

O Canada

Because you just can't have Ryan Reynolds in the room without making a few jokes about his home and native land up north, Deadpool 2 has a few obvious quips about America's friendly hat, Canada. Much more subtle, however, is a reference — albeit in name only — to Canada's only crimefighting team, the rarely mentioned Alpha Flight. Unsurprisingly, they have connections to the X-Universe through Wolverine, Canada's ACTUAL superhero. Snowbird, "post-cognition" isn't a superpower. That's just knowing what happened. Aurora, you can be replaced with a flashlight.

As far as Deadpool 2 is concerned, none of those things even apply — Alpha Flight is little more than the name of an airline (or travel agency) posted as a taxi ad. The sentiment is still there, however, and it's covered in maple syrup and hockey. Chimichangas and back bacon have rarely been thought of in the context of the same meal, but they definitely go together now.

R for radical

Deadpool 2 quickly broke records for the largest Thursday-night box office, continuing a franchise trend for shattering financial expectations. The 2016 original disproved the misguided belief that R-rated superhero movies couldn't make money, paving the way for the R-rated Wolverine outing Logan. Of course, the success went to Deadpool's head. In Deadpool 2, he acknowledges the box office haul of the original movie by alluding to its place among the top-grossing R-rated movies of all time.

Deadpool's history lesson wouldn't be complete without mentioning the highest-grossing R-rated movie in U.S. box office history: The Passion of the Christ. While Mel Gibson's biblical epic may never be toppled from its throne in terms of domestic gross, it's a different story internationally. Overseas, Deadpool managed to outperform Passion, so overall, the violent superhero romp is still the most financially successful R-rated film of all time. Not bad for a character that once got beat up by Squirrel Girl.

Pryor's Treats

X-Men continuity is often confusing, spread over hundreds of comic series and decades of retcons and familial revelations. Even within that knot, there's arguably no character with a more complicated familial history than Cable. The son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey), Nathaniel Summers has been to the future, has been infected with a techno-organic virus by a nigh-immortal supervillain, and even fled through time protecting a little girl that looks suspiciously like his mother. In short, he's pretty complicated.

While Deadpool 2 avoids obvious Easter eggs involving the one-eyed killing machine, there are scattered references to his comic book roots. A brief scene of him observing his machine-transfigured body and understated uses of his telekinetic powers to grab his gun are likely to fly to over the heads of most audience members. In fact, even one of the most obvious nods to Cable's complicated comics book history is still very easy to miss. After the sequence when X-Force parachutes in on their first (largely ill-fated) mission, an ice cream truck can be seen with the logo "Pryor's Treats." Pryor is a clear reference to Cable's biological mother, Madelyne Pryor. While it's still a fairly subtle reference, it's one of the more obvious acknowledgements that the screenwriters definitely did their homework, no matter how confusing it might have been.

House of M

Deadpool's no stranger to twisted timelines himself, as his dialogue in both Deadpool and Deadpool 2 would suggest. From metatextual knowledge of Professor Xavier's different actors to his blasé relationship with time travel, the Merc with a Mouth seems to take it all in stride. Still, maybe he should have been a little more worried about the banners hanging inside the Essex House that read "M-Day is Coming."

Longtime comics readers will no doubt remember that M-Day is the in-universe term for what happened when Scarlet Witch erased the mutant genome in the comic book crossover House of M. M-Day goes down in Marvel history as a dark time for mutants, to put it mildly — the resulting purge of the mutant race had a fairly lasting effect in terms of the retcon-friendly medium, sticking around for years. The mutant population in the Marvel universe dropped from tens of thousands to just around 200 — and for years, those numbers stayed relatively static… until a very important mutant baby was born and protected by Cable. That mutant? Hope Summers, Cable's daughter (adopted in the comics). Sounds like a job for X-Force.

Irene Merryweather

There are many characters in Deadpool 2 who come with deep cut references to their comic book counterparts, but never let it be said that the movie itself was light on nods to the comics. During Russell Collins' first fiery appearance in Deadpool 2, even the reporter on the scene was herself a reference to a supporting character in Cable & Deadpool. Like her movie counterpart, Irene Merryweather is a reporter, but the comics version of the character goes on a much wilder series of adventures than her quick movie appearance would suggest.

She's been the chronicler of Cable's adventures, a writer for the Daily Bugle, an object of Deadpool's romantic affections, and the Chief of Staff of an entire island-state owned and operated by Cable. Still, while the Irene Merryweather of Deadpool 2 seems like much more of an average news reporter, that could change quickly if the upcoming X-Force movie gets anywhere near as crazy and complicated as parts of Cable & Deadpool.

Big fan

In the movies, Deadpool can pretend to be too cool for Xavier's school, but comic book Deadpool is a pretty big X-Men fan. Since Deadpool breaks the fourth wall more often than the Wrecking Crew breaks actual walls, this usually manifests through him referencing specific issue numbers when he gets excited. When Juggernaut appears in Deadpool 2, the Merc with a Mouth tells him how big a fan he is and names three Juggernaut-centric comic book issues: X-Men #183, X-Men Unlimited #12, and Thor #411.

Beyond featuring the Juggernaut, all three issues have a thematic connection as well; they all feature Juggernaut taking down increasingly powerful enemies just to set the scene for how tough it's going to be for X-Force to beat him later. In Uncanny X-Men #183, Juggernaut brings an entire building down on Colossus in a bar brawl. In Thor #411, Juggernaut fights and completely defeats Thor, the God of Thunder. Finally, in X-Men Unlimited #12, Juggernaut fights Cytorrak, the cosmic demon that controls his power, and beats him too. If Deadpool's been reading these comics, it's no wonder he's such a fan.

No stopping the Juggernaut references

Speaking of being a big fan of the Juggernaut, Wade really lets his nerd flag fly when he tells him, "it has always been a dream of mine to see myself reflected in your helmet as you charge at me with murderous intent." While it sounds like the regenerating degenerate is just excited to fight Juggernaut, even this offhand line of dialogue is a reference to the comics. But even for a comic book fan, this one's a bit of a deep cut.

The line references the cover of Deadpool #2 from the 1994 Deadpool miniseries, which showcases (you guessed it) Deadpool reflected in Juggernaut's helmet as he charges. Beyond just the comic book reference, there's a very good reason for Deadpool to get excited about fighting the Juggernaut: much like having a tragic origin story or joining the Avengers, fighting (and failing to actually stop) him is basically a rite of passage in the Marvel Universe. Colossus did it, Thor did it, even Spider-Man has done it. Welcome to the big leagues, Wade Wilson.

Up and at 'em

Deadpool 2's home media release came in two flavors, with both the theatrical cut and an extended Super Duper Cut on offer. As one might imagine, the latter version is chock-full of deleted scenes, alternate takes, and small alterations that make the little moments of the movie land slightly differently. But one of those little moments, a cute Pixar movie reference, didn't show up in any version of the movie, instead ending up as an unfinished deleted scene.

In the extended cut of Deadpool 2, a grieving Wade Wilson sets out to meet his deceased love Vanessa in the afterlife in a Groundhog Day-esque sequence, killing himself over and over again, as many times as it takes for something to stick. 

First, Deadpool goes to the Theodore Roosevelt Zoo and belly flops into a cage of hungry polar bears after introducing himself to a child spectator as Captain Delicouspants. Then he drinks drain cleaner and falls off a building, ultimately ending up back at his apartment laying on the barrels of gasoline that he blows up to start the movie. But one self-induced death sequence didn't make the montage.

Sitting on a park bench, Deadpool is interrupted by an elderly couple who bear a remarkable resemblance to the characters from the animated movie Up — balloons and all. Deadpool even makes a reference to it, telling the woman he loved her work in the movie. And then he tries to blow his brains out.

The true face and voice of Juggernaut

Josh Brolin's not the only Deadpool 2 actor to put in some time doing motion capture for a fully-CGI character. Ryan Reynolds has done that too — and it turns out, he actually did that work for Deadpool 2.

Unlike 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, the super-strong, super-large Juggernaut of Deadpool 2 was completely computer generated. But rather than get a mo-cap actor on the payroll to portray the hulking giant, Ryan Reynolds just secretly took on the role himself. He didn't do it alone, either. According to a special feature about the movie's secrets and Easter eggs on the movie's home media release, director David Leitch did the facial motion-capture for Juggernaut while Reynolds handled all the physicality. 

Reynolds also provided the voice for Juggernaut, which you can almost, sort of, just barely tell in retrospect, considering the post-production alterations that were made to the Juggernaut's dialogue. It was something that was kept a secret from the majority of the film's cast and crew, including Stefan Kapičić, who does the motion-capture for Colossus.

"Ryan is always there when I'm working on Colossus, helping me with the lines and giving me ideas," Kapičić said, speaking in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Then I saw Ryan getting into the CGI costume, and I'm like, 'What's going on, man? Did I miss something?'"

The movie's credits didn't provide any clarity, either, keeping the secret going during the movie's theatrical release. At the end of the movie, Juggernaut's actor is listed "As Himself."

Rubbed the wrong way

One of the deleted scenes that ended up in Deadpool 2's Super Duper Cut is a serene domestic sequence in the opulent Xavier mansion, in which Wade Wilson tries to endear himself to his new roommates following Colossus' intervention in his mission to self-destruct. (Prior to the film's home media release, the scene was released on YouTube in its entirety by IGN.)

During the scene, Colossus futzes with the kitchen's soap dispenser, which appears to be a little gunked up. Deadpool knows exactly why, quipping, "It's fine — I just filled it. Give it a few more pumps there." 

On its own, the scene is a little non sequitur about two unorthodox roommates. But coupled with a later moment during the first Firefist standoff, the exchange becomes a setup for a truly repulsive punchline. In a bit that made the movie's theatrical cut, Deadpool goes off on a small philosophical spiel about perception vs. reality when it comes to what it means to be a hero. 

"People think you wake up a hero," Deadpool says, holding court on the steps of Essex House. "Brush your teeth a hero… Ejaculate into a soap dispenser a hero." After which Colossus regards his compromised metal hands with dismay. In the theatrical cut, this particular perversion came off as a little random, but the deleted kitchen scene takes us to the very scene of the crime.

Star-studded breakfast

In a quick moment during the first fight at the villainous Essex House, Deadpool pauses after being hurled through a window to sign an autograph for a child who never actually asked for one. Grabbing a pen and a cereal box, he scribbles across the front of the box before jumping back in the fray. 

In a joke that goes by almost too quickly to catch, the camera briefly lingers on the cereal box — whole wheat Hero Flakes from the West Oats company, featuring Huge Jacked Man as Wolverine, complete with a little "Help Wolverine find his way out!" maze game on the back of the box. That's a visual gag that's funny on its own, but you might not have had time to also catch that Deadpool doesn't sign his own name at all. Instead, he goes ahead and gives a real, out-of-character autograph as actor Ryan Reynolds, complete with an adorable scribble of a Deadpool mask. We know this rivalry with Wolverine comes from a place of hate and all, but as uninvolved viewers, it all comes off as kind of cute.

Double-dipped alternate jokes

Deadpool 2's Super Duper Cut is less of a definitive director's cut and more of an alternate, 15-minute longer version of the movie with a small across-the-board increase in inappropriate sex jokes. Instead of just serving up the original cut of the movie with every last deleted scene shoved in the gaps, the Super Duper Cut is a remix, using different takes, different jokes, and surprisingly, a slightly different opening credits reel.

The James Bond-style sendup sequence, an overblown production to the tune of Celine Dion's "Ashes" in which the credits act as the audience's bewildered internal monologue after the unexpectedly serious death of Vanessa, proceeds in functionally the same way whether you're watching the theatrical cut or the SDC. But you might notice that many of the onscreen text jokes have been switched up to humorous effect and for no real reason. 

By way of example, where the theatrical cut says "In association with I Don't Understand," the SDC says "She was like everyone's favorite character." The theatrical credit "Starring: Obviously, someone who hates sharing the spotlight" is changed to "Good luck bringing me back f—heads." And in the weirdest change, where the theatrical cut sees Deadpool reclining in the crook of his own finger gun, the SDC shows him laying on a real one. Why? Well, we've got no clue. Why not?

Needle drops

In addition to some switched-up jokes and moments, the Super Duper Cut of Deadpool 2 also switches up beats on its soundtrack — and not always for the better. 

Where the theatrical version sparks off its climax with Deadpool, Cable, and Domino storming the Essex House to the strains of the Diplo, French Montana, & Lil Pump ft. Zhavia song "Welcome to the Party," the Super Duper Cut drops the needle on Seal's cover of the Steve Miller Band song "Fly Like an Eagle." It's a definite change in tone for the sequence, even though its purpose is unclear. The Diplo and crew song is all about apocalyptic, block-rocking beats and horns, making the raid on the evil torture school feel like a serious, honest-to-god action set piece, with real stakes in the game. Meanwhile, the "Fly Like an Eagle" track, coming straight off the Space Jam soundtrack, makes it seem like our warriors three are sprinting over to the basketball courts for a pickup game.

During the climactic sequence in which Deadpool seems to reach the afterlife, nearly crossing over to join Vanessa in death, the theatrical cut used an unironically beautiful acoustic version of a-ha's "Take On Me." In the SDC, that track is replaced by a reprise of the "Ashes" song, making for one of the weird instances in which the extended cut actually subtracts a joke.

Red Lotus

As director David Leitch puts it during a special features interview, there might be Easter eggs hiding inside Deadpool 2 that no viewer will ever discover. 

"There's so many to dig into, and layers of them, that I don't think anyone will ever find them," Leitch says during a special feature about the movie's secrets. "I challenge you to find them all."

It's a bold claim, but considering how obscure this next one is, it honestly might be true. According to the commentary track for Deadpool 2, an unassuming business card seen during the opening action montage actually has an incredibly well-hidden X-Men reference. That's the reference above. Can you tell what it is?

As Leitch goes into on the commentary, the card is a translated reference to the X-Men character Red Lotus, a superpowered Australian with ties to a Chinese crime family. Essentially, it means this minor character exists within the Deadpool universe — for whatever that's worth.

It's truly astounding how deep of a cut that is. Not only do you need a deep encyclopedic knowledge of obscure Marvel Comics characters in order to get that callout, you also need casual fluency in the Chinese language. We kind of thought Leitch was exaggerating, but he might honestly be onto something. After this, we're ready to believe that this movie really might have more Easter eggs and fun little details than your average human could ever hope to discover.