After only two movies, Deadpool has managed to jam in just as many cameos and guest-stars into his cinematic adventures as some other comics-based franchises manage to pull off after 10 years. Though that’s a great treat for fans and longtime Deadpool followers, it can be a bit of a challenge to keep track of everyone popping up on screen in a single movie. Factor in that some of those comic heroes and villains are altered a bit for the sake of the silver screen, and it’s almost impossible to stay on top of all the references Deadpool throws at you.
With Deadpool 2 arriving on demand this week, we thought it might be a good time to put a little character refresher together to help you remember who’s who in the wild world of R-rated mutant mischief.
Deadpool first appeared in Marvel’s New Mutants #98, created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. At that time, Deadpool was a villainous riff of the DC Comics’ character Deathstroke, an assassin that beleaguered the Teen Titans, a team made of young DC heroes. Wade Wilson’s name is even a riff off Deathstroke’s (Slade Wilson), and he pestered the New Mutants, a team of young mutant heroes from the X-Men universe. Over the years, Deadpool grew from a parody into a fully developed character,and has been a member of both the X-Force and the X-Men (sort of).
Deadpool says: Hey, that's me! Ol' Wade Wilson. My sign is Cancer, I kill people for money, and I'm a major movie star played by Blake Lively's husband, Ryan Reynolds. Can you believe they've kept that punim hidden behind 40 tons of makeup and a mask for two whole movies? It's like, "Hello, sexiest man alive under here."
Cable made his comics debut a few issues earlier than Deadpool, warping onto the scene in New Mutants #87. Arguably the most iconic member of X-Force, Cable’s comic book history is more convoluted and complicated than nearly any other hero or villain at Marvel Comics. When he was a baby, Cable (son of Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey) was infected with a virus that could only be cured in the future. So his parents shipped him off to the 39th century, beginning Cable’s long love affair with time travel shenanigans. Deadpool and Cable have a very antagonistic relationship in the comics but are more often than not regarded as associates.
Deadpool says: Oh, snap. I thought I had it rough growing up, but at least my parents never abandoned me in a dystopian future ruled by a big blue action figure. My good buddy Nathan Charles Christopher Dayspring Askani’son Summers, aka Cable, aka Soldier X doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with me, but that’s probably because he only has one good eye.
One of the most consistent members of the various incarnations of X-Force, Domino made her first appearance in X-Force #8. A gun-for-hire with slightly more compassion than Deadpool, Domino is just as skilled as him with any number of firearms and hand-to-hand combat. Her mutant ability to shift probability in her immediate vicinity means Domino literally creates her own luck. Bullets miss the mark, explosions happen just as she’s escaped danger, and she’s never once had bad food at a restaurant.
Deadpool says: What’s not to love about Domino? She’s great with a gun, she tolerates me, and she’s a mercenary after my own heart. No, literally. One time she was after my heart. I let her take it though since I could grow a new one. Plus, whenever we go to the movies, we always get the best parking, the best seats, and the best nachos.
At the center of Deadpool 2 is the young mutant Russell, also known as Firefist. The comic book iteration of the character is also a youthful mutant with the ability to control fire, but the similarities end there. Always trying to find his place in the world, comics Russell was on both sides of the ongoing mutant conflict, spending time with both the X-Men and Magneto’s Acolytes. Firefist was killed off in the “Inferno” storyline, and was never really more than a minor player in the X-Universe.
Deadpool says: Oooooh, this kid is too hot to handle. He can burn down whole city blocks before I’ve finished my chimichanga. I guess that’s why Cable’s so hot and bothered about him. He’s just a kid though, so how much trouble can he really be? I know a few millennials, and let me tell you, they can’t do anything but kill off various commercial enterprises thanks to crippling debt and stagnant wages caused by all the bad decisions made by baby boomers. What? I watched a lot of YouTube this morning.
Recruited by Professor X to be a part of a new initiative to rescue mutants called MUSE, Bedlam made his debut in Factor X #1. His powers rely on manipulating a bio-electric field around his body, giving him the ability to make electronics go haywire or mess with the neurons in someone’s body to cause pain. Bedlam joined up with X-Force after a short time, but was killed off in an early 2000s storyline called “Holy War.”
Deadpool says: Old Spice body spray will make you feel so powerful it’ll blow your mind. I’m so glad we got this guy to quit being President of the worst version of America to be a part of my X-Force. He’s so handsome and strong. It’s hard not to want to cuddle up with him and shout “Nine nine!” from the rooftops.
One of the original members of X-Force (and one of the few openly gay characters in Marvel Comics), Shatterstar is another mutant from the future. He’s also from a completely different dimension known as Mojoworld. Shatterstar came to the Marvel Universe we all know and love to recruit the X-Men into helping him stop Mojo’s dystopic future from ever happening and then decided to stick around and join X-Force. Over the years, Shatterstar’s been shown to be a tremendous swordsman, and his ability to create shockwaves and portals has come in handy quite often.
Deadpool says: I love my Shatty-buns, even though I’m incredibly jealous of all that gorgeous hair. Sadly I can’t grow any on account of my face looking like a melted Ken doll someone threw into a garbage disposal. And the way he gets away with wearing white after Labor Day? I could never pull that off. Well, I could, but the dry cleaning bills would be outrageous from all the stains.
Zeitgeist is an interesting character. As part of a new X-Force team created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, Zeitgeist manufactured a hostage situation in which he and his team were to rescue a boy band from some terrorists. The stunt was meant to give the team headlines and leave Zeitgeist as the sole survivor. Unfortunately, he was caught in the crossfire and died. We never really got to see him use his deadly ooze-spitting powers all that much as a result.
Deadpool says: Careful folks, getting intimate with Zeitgeist here might leave you with a face more horrific than mine. Wait, wait. I’ve heard of spit takes, but this guy takes the cake. No. Hang on. It’s coming to me. Nice face, face guy. Dang. Just can’t get it going. Oh, oh, oh. This guy might as well be called Dylan because he spits hot fire. Eh, good enough.
Not to be confused with the Yukio from The Wolverine, this Yukio is a wholly new character seemingly created to suit the script for Deadpool 2. Her powers include the ability to charge items with electricity, which is similar to the powers of the mutant Surge, but the movie’s creative team has flat out said Yukio is not Surge.
Deadpool says: I’m just so happy that my precious little Negasonic Teenage Warhead was able to find someone to keep her company when she’s not hanging out with me. I just can’t believe this is the first time two LGBTQ characters were shown happy together in a superhero movie. That can’t be right, can it, Carl? It is? Wow. Carl does my notes. He’s a good guy. You should look him up some time if you need an assistant.
Despite the fans freaking out that everyday, normal guy Peter W. was actually going to be the cinematic debut of obscure Marvel spy Pete Wisdom, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Peter is just a wholesome dude with a cute Twitter feed and the ability to show up when his friends in X-Force need him. Like Yukio, Peter appears to have been crafted just for Deadpool 2, though if he shows up again in the X-Force movie we might get an expanded backstory for the dad-est dude to ever team-up with Deadpool.
Deadpool says: Peter is probably the nicest person I’ve ever met, and one time I met Ellen. I have nothing bad to say about Peter. I’m almost glad I can’t grow any facial hair because how would I compete with that masterful walrus Peter’s sporting? Everyone else should just shave all the hair off their bodies. Game over. Peter wins.
Making his debut way back in the original X-Men #12, Juggernaut is actually Cain Marko, the half-brother of Professor Charles Xavier. The powers granted to him by the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak make him impervious to pain and unable to be stopped by any physical object. You know, except for when the comics call for him to lose a fight. Juggernaut has appeared in X-movies before, but the character in Deadpool 2 is not related to the one from The Last Stand (thankfully).
Deadpool says: Is it just me or does this guy sound familiar? Like really familiar. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but that voice is just angelic. It calls to me like some siren under the seas hoping to drag me under the waves to a briny grave. I know. It’s the same voice as the guy from that Green Lantern movie. You know, the one that sucked. Relegated to bit parts in Marvel movies now? Guess that movie really was a career-ruining decision.
You might have missed him through most of Deadpool 2 since he was invisible for a large portion of the film, but Vanisher was indeed there with the rest of the X-Force team. Typically a villain in the comics, Vanisher has the ability to teleport at will and has extra-sensory perception that allows him to not teleport into solid objects. He’s been affiliated with X-Force in the past, but is mostly known for being a low-level criminal that’s fought against the various X-teams over the years.
Deadpool says: Blink and you might miss this guy. Heck, even if you’re not blinking you might miss this guy. My director David Leitch and I tried to get him a bigger part in the movie, but the timing just didn’t work out. When you gotta go, you gotta go. It’s a shame, but at least we got the guy from Goonies.
In the comics, Vanessa Carlysle is actually the name of a character named Copycat, a shapeshifter who disguised herself as Domino in her earliest comic appearances. The character in the films doesn’t share much in common with the comic version, and is instead a rather run of the mill non-mutant. Her only power is being able to put up with Deadpool 24/7.
Deadpool says: You don’t need to be a superhero to get the girl. Get the right girl, and she’ll bring out the hero in you. Someone famous once said that. I can’t remember who, but by the sound of it, they were super-duper smart. Like Jeopardy-winner smart.
In the films, Ajax, better known as Francis, was responsible for duping Wade Wilson into the procedure that would turn him into the merc with a mouth we all know today. In the comics, Ajax is a mercenary that undergoes experimentation to remove nerves and make him impervious to pain. The two versions of Francis are fairly similar, even down to the fact that Deadpool killed him in the comics too.
Deadpool says: Hey Francis, I still hate your #%&!@*^ guts. Do you know how long it took to clean them off my katanas? Nobody ever considers how much time I spend polishing my sword, but it’s a lot. Like a lot a lot. Sure, you made me the man I am, but even Frankenstein went back to kill Frankenstein. You heard me. I stand by what I said.
Deadpool’s relationship with Blind Al in the films is much healthier than it is in the comics, although that doesn't say much. Where in the film the two are roommates that have as much in common as the Odd Couple, in the comics Deadpool is much meaner and antagonistic to Blind Al to the point of devastating cruelty. Blind Al was apparently a member of the British Intelligence during the second World War, and for a time there were some enemies out to get her. Their friendship in the comics is a bit strained, but the two do still stay in touch even though they no longer live together.
Deadpool says: Al is the Balky to my Larry; the Kip to my Henry. She may not be able to see me making faces at her or notice that I swapped her fresh coffee with three-week old toilet water, but she puts up with me nonetheless. Plus she doesn’t seem to mind all the late hours and bullet wounds, which is all you can ask from a roommate.
Debuting in Giant-Size X-Men #1, Colossus was a member of the new wave of mutant heroes to join the X-Men when the comic underwent a refresh in the 1970s. Along with Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, and several others, Colossus helped reinvigorate the X-Men comic franchise, establishing them as a perennial hit with readers. His ability to turn his whole body into metal comes in handy, especially when tasked with helping Deadpool deal with some unsavory characters.
Deadpool says: This guy is so stiff, Niagara Spray comes to him when they are running low. Did that joke go over your head? Don’t worry about it. Ask someone to explain it to you nicely. Just make sure it’s not a man in a white van. You can’t trust those guys. That’s how I ended up in this situation. Okay, maybe they weren’t in a white van when they came for me, but they were definitely men. So, watch out for men.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead
“Negasonic Teenage Warhead” is a song written and performed by the band Monster Magnet. It provided the inspiration for the character name in Grant Morrison’s tenure as writer on New X-Men, though the character herself was killed just a few panels into her existence during the genocide on Genosha. The film version is quite different from the comic version in that she is both alive and has spoken more than three sentences. She is also one-half of the first same-sex couple to appear on screen in a superhero film.
Deadpool says: The attitude on this one makes me glad I never had kids. She’s a feisty one, but these millennials just don’t have the penchant for witty repartee that us older Gen-X punks use to hide our anger that we never bucked the system like we always promised we would. Curse you Reaganomics! (Can you see me shaking my hands at the clouds?) Now Spider-Man, there’s a teen who knows how to zip a zinger with the best of ‘em. Wonder if we’ll ever get to be in a movie together.
Like Colossus, Wolverine made his X-Men debut in Giant-Size X-Men #1, but his first comic appearance actually happened much earlier in Incredible Hulk #181. Over the years, Wolverine’s comic history has been reworked, rewritten, and expanded upon in such detail, it’s almost hard to keep track of just how complicated it is. He’s the most popular X-Man for a reason though, and has been carrying the Fox Marvel movies on his back for close to two decades.
Deadpool says: Wasn’t it adorable when he made everyone think Cosette was his daughter, when in reality he just kidnapped her after her mother died from complications due to being a lady of the night? I can’t believe they made a whole three-hour musical about that and he didn’t pop his claws once. I felt ripped off when I saw that in theaters. Real shame he’s dead now. Or in the future… there are just too many timelines in these X-Men movies to bother trying to keep up.