The Deadpool 2 cast and crew have so far held their cards incredibly close to their chests. Less than a month away from release only the barest plot details have been revealed, and the presence of certain characters or actors in the film have only been revealed through set leaks and glimpses in trailers. Even the full title is unknown (though the repetition of a certain phrase throughout promotional material may offer a clue). With all the unknowns it’s only fitting that another vital part of the movie is secret: the primary villain. While so far the time-traveling Cable seems to hold that role his comic background, the aforementioned caginess of the DP 2 team and the time-honored superhero plot point of misunderstandings leading to big blow-out fights make this a hard pill to swallow. So who is the villain really? Here are four major possibilities.
Because being the time-displaced child of prominent X-Men Cyclops and Jean Grey destined to be a post-apocalyptic mutant messiah isn’t complicated enough, Cable naturally has an evil clone. Created in case baby Cable succumbed to the techno-organic virus that threatened to turn his entire body to metal, the healthy clone was kidnapped and raised by the villain Apocalypse. The clone, codenamed Stryfe, believed he was the true Nathan Summers and has been one of Cable’s most persistent and powerful enemies.
It’s not out of the question that he could be manipulating events to make Cable think he has to kill the mutant child (played by Julian Dennison) we see in the trailer, or even just make Deadpool believe that’s what he’s trying to do.
Clones are an essential part of Cable’s backstory even before Stryfe. The evil scientist Nathaniel Essex (aka Mister Sinister), obsessed with Cyclops’s genetic potential, cloned the seemingly deceased Jean Grey with the hopes of getting their powerful and genetically gifted progeny. The clone, Madelyne Pryor, eventually married Cyclops and gave birth to the bouncing baby Cable. Sinister hoped that the child would grow up to be powerful enough to destroy his master the immortal mutant Apocalypse and free the scientist from his servitude. This only led to the baby getting infected with a techno-organic virus that threatened to kill him, and required the X-Men to send him to the future to save his life and fulfill a mysterious, messianic destiny.
Sinister has a complicated history with the X-Men film franchise, but it could finally be his time to shine. With his obsession with Cable’s genetics and desire to use him to his own ends, Sinister is an obvious choice for any villain in Cable related media. An expert in behind the scenes manipulation and long-term planning the scientist could easily pit Cable against potential allies such as Deadpool; perhaps even with the intention of gaining access to the genes of Dennison’s character.
Sentinel’s have been a major part of the X-Men mythos almost since the aerie’s inception in the 60’s. Initially, just giant and clumsy robots, as the years have passed they have gotten more and more powerful. In alternate and potential futures such as the Days of Future Past timeline they’ve often become intelligent and powerful enough to take over the world, placing not only mutants but super-powered beings of all sorts into concentration camps. One figure that is prominently displayed in such futures is the super-advanced, time-traveling Sentinel Nimrod.
Nimrod has been a major villain in both future and present. In one storyline involving Cable and a mysterious mutant child (sound familiar?) he is the main antagonist. Hiding behind a plethora of lesser X-Men villains and in a more advanced form named ‘Bastion’, his actions result in the death’s of Nightcrawler and Cable before he is finally defeated.
Apocalypse is undeniably one of the most powerful and dangerous beings in the Marvel universe. The first known mutant to exist, Apocalypse enhanced his abilities and powers with salvaged Celestial technology he discovered in Egypt, making himself a virtual god. He continually sought to subjugate the human race under his twisted understanding of the phrase ‘suvival of the fittest.’ Cable’s entire purpose in life is to defeat him and prevent the dystopian Apocalypse-dominated world he was raised in thousands of years in the future.
As Apocalypse already appeared in a titular X-Men film in 2016 as the primary antagonist it’s unlikely that he’ll make a return appearance. But with his role in Cable’s backstory, the wackiness of any media involving Deadpool, and the convoluted mess that is the X-Men franchise, anything is possible (especially with a little time travel!)
With Deadpool you never know what you’re going to get. One or all of these characters could get at least a reference, or none of them. As usual, we’re just going to have to wait and see!
Deadpool 2 premieres May 18. It’s directed by David Leitch (John Wick) and stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular character.