Few could have predicted the phenomenal success of Deadpool, the 2016 movie based on Marvel Comics’ mouthy mercenary that turned some early positive buzz into the biggest opening weekend of all time for an R-rated film. Deadpool 2 hits theaters in 2018, and judging by the latest promotional image for the film, Deadpool isn’t letting his love for the ’80s die any time soon.
Set to be directed by John Wick co-director David Leitch, the Deadpool sequel will bring back Ryan Reynolds as iconic antihero Wade Wilson, alongside returning characters Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and taxi driver Dopinder (Karan Soni). The film will also introduce mutants Cable and Domino to Deadpool’s live-action movie universe, with actors Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz, respectively, cast in the roles.
The Deadpool sequel hits theaters May 18, 2018. Here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
Goonies never say die
Deadpool never met an ’80s reference he didn’t like, so with Brolin starring opposite Reynolds in Deadpool 2, it was only a matter of time before call-outs to that 1985 classic The Goonies (which Brolin famously co-starred in) found their way into the film’s marketing campaign.
On February 12, Reynolds took things to a new, self-aware level by posting an image of Deadpool painting a portrait of Cable (Brolin) in the image of Brolin’s Goonies alter ego, Brand.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 12, 2018
All that remains to be seen now is whether Cable plans to hit anyone so hard that when they wake up, their clothes are out of style.
A very ‘Deadpool’ trailer
The first trailer for the Deadpool sequel (see above) was released February 7, and puts the focus squarely on Brolin’s tough-as-nails mutant Cable, with a distinctly Deadpool flair.
Along with breaking the fourth wall in the character’s well-worn tradition, the trailer also includes brief scenes featuring just about every new and returning character appearing in the sequel — everyone from mild-mannered taxi driver Dopinder (Soni) to newcomer mutant Domino (Beetz).
Slippery when wet
Deadpool’s fans know he can’t resist an opportunity to reference classic ’80s cinema and television, and a poster for the sequel released in early February does just that — in the character’s hilarious, inimitable style, of course.
Reynolds debuted the poster on Twitter, and it features Deadpool in semi-recline on a chair as a shower of spent bullet casings falls over him.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 6, 2018
The poster is a riff on 1983 film Flashdance, which cast Jennifer Beals as a Pittsburgh steel worker who aspires to be a professional dancer. The film is remembered for an iconic scene in which Beals’ character is doused with water during a cabaret performance.
Quoting the film’s tagline, Reynolds captioned the photo, “Take your passion. And make it happen.”
Twentieth Century Fox made the wait for the Deadpool sequel a little shorter in January 2018 when the studio moved up the film’s release date from its initial June 1 premiere to a new premiere date of May 18.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the change was made to avoid having the Deadpool sequel compete with fellow X-Men spinoff movie The New Mutants in certain overseas markets. The film’s new release date also changes the outlook on which films it will be competing against for audiences, as the Deadpool sequel now arrives on the same weekend as the horror movie Slender Man and one week before Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters.
More Disney, still dirty
Worlds collided when the Walt Disney Company acquired various 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion, including the movie production house behind the Deadpool sequel. Once the reality of a Deadpool movie being made in the house Mickey Mouse built washed over everyone, there was a fear Disney would take away the film’s R-rated edge. Fear not, my fellow purveyors of profanity, Disney CEO Bob Iger has assured us Deadpool will stay dirty.
“[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel-branded, But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool,” Iger said in a recent interview. “As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”
If director Leitch needs any help with plot ideas now that Deadpool is under Disney’s umbrella, his leading man already has a few:
Time to uncork that explosive sexual tension between Deadpool and Mickey Mouse. https://t.co/iUEXofWpRu
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 6, 2017
Apparently you can’t actually blow the Matterhorn. pic.twitter.com/2bEAAcZrUv
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 14, 2017
A teaser that paints a picture
Deadpool channeled painter Bob Ross for the first, official teaser for the Deadpool sequel, which was released November 15, 2017, and offered up some explosive footage from the much-anticipated movie. In classic Deadpool style, though, the footage was revealed only after Deadpool painted a pretty picture … or three.
Oh, and much like the movie itself, the teaser is definitely not all-ages content — so consider that your Not Safe For Work (NSFW) warning.
Along with all of the jokes in the teaser itself (and the credits), the studio’s description of the film on its YouTube channel is also good for a laugh.
“After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste,” reads the synopsis. “Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the Yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.”
Well, that sounds about right for a Deadpool movie, actually.
A poster to be thankful for
Like its predecessor, Deadpool 2 is bringing us hilarious marketing materials. On November 9, Reynolds shared a new poster via Twitter that is both timely and funny. The poster does an excellent job of parodying the famous Norman Rockwell painting Freedom from Want, commonly called “The Thanksgiving Picture.” The cast fills in for the original subjects of the painting, while Stan Lee’s photo replaces a picture hanging on the wall.
Reynolds also shared a Good Housekeeping cover that brought more Deadpool 2 holiday fun, such as tips for being a “supper hero” and “giving your family the bird.”
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 9, 2017
We look forward to months more of these promotional materials.
That’s a wrap!
Filming on Deadpool 2 officially ended on October 14, and Reynolds commemorated the occasion by posting a batch of photos on Facebook from the set of the movie, along with a caption that reads like it was written by the mouthy mercenary himself.
That’s a wrap on DEADPOOL 2: A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE! Thank you to our beloved Captain, Mr. David Leitch… words are too…
“That’s a wrap on DEADPOOL 2: A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE!” wrote Reynolds. “Thank you to our beloved Captain, Mr. David Leitch… words are too clumsy to properly acknowledge your giant heart and talent. I love my hometown of Vancouver and our obscenely gifted crew. From our PA’s, (who are first in and last out) to our set decorators and prop departments, riddling this film with Easter Eggs in almost every scene… Thank you. I already miss being on set. Which is why I’ve decided to continue shooting the film in my underwear from Josh Brolin’s well-appointed living room. #MaximumEffort”
Tragedy strikes on set
Canada’s CTV News reported August 14 that stuntwoman Joi Harris was killed in a motorcycle accident while filming on the set of Deadpool 2. The sequence was being filmed at Jack Poole Plaza when she lost control of her bike and veered off the set through a window at nearby Shaw Tower. CTV host Ben Miljure shared a few photos from the scene via Twitter.
Cable, we presume?
Among the first batch of official photos from the set of the Deadpool sequel was a shot of actor Josh Brolin in a makeup chair, with half of his face covered in a mold in order to re-create his character Cable’s half-machine look.
Brolin posted the photo on Instagram, and accompanied it with an ominous caption.
“Insanity on the brink,” wrote Brolin. “Face is morphing into something machine, fierce, hair sliced, arm machined, bulged. Where is Deadpool?!? Looking. Looking. All I got are these two…molding me, prodding, turning me into something hard.”
An official photo tweeted by Ryan Reynolds on August 7 finally revealed what Brolin will look like on screen, with a glowing eye appearing on the mechanical half of his character’s scarred face.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 7, 2017
“We all have that one, grumpy, heavily armed Uncle from the future,” Reynolds wrote as a caption for the photo, where Brolin’s character appears with a mechanical fingertip over his lips.
Reynolds later tweeted a more complete body shot of Brolin as Cable.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 7, 2017
The second photo includes a teddy bear hanging around the actor’s waist — an object that may be a reference to fellow Marvel character Hope Summers, who Cable kept safe as a child.
Domino works the red carpet
On July 31, Ryan Reynolds tweeted a first-look photo of Zazie Beetz as the mutant Domino, noting “some people just know how to work a red carpet.”
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 31, 2017
The image is reminiscent of an early pic of Reynolds himself as the title character, except this time, instead of Deadpool posing on a rug in front of a fireplace, Domino is sprawled out in the same pose. The Deadpool suit (or possibly Deadpool himself) is crushed, facedown on the floor, beneath her. Decked out in black leather gear, the character also sports a generous afro and a fiercely menacing expression that proves she’s a worthy enemy (or ally?) to the potty-mouthed man in the red suit.
Just a day later, Beetz posted another photo of herself in costume on Instagram.
The second photo offers a clearer shot of the white mark around her eye — a visual cue from the character’s comic-book counterpart.
Filming had barely been underway a week when one of the first Easter eggs from the Deadpool sequel found its way online.
It’s no spoiler, but eagle-eyed Marvel Comics fans spotted an interesting addition to a taxi being used on the film’s Vancouver set. The advertisement on the top of the taxi cab appears to be pitching an airline or travel agency going by the name of “Alpha Flight.”
— YVRShoots (@yvrshoots) June 28, 2017
As fans of Marvel’s comic-book universe know, Alpha Flight is actually the famous superhero team that hails from Canada — essentially, Canada’s version of the X-Men or Avengers. It appears, however, that the name “Alpha Flight” might not carry a similar level of prestige in the film.
Happy birthday to whom?
We might not know much about the story that brings Deadpool back to the big screen, but we know that it will involve a birthday party.
In late June 2017, Just Jared posted a batch of unofficial photos from the set of the Deadpool sequel, including one photo released via Twitter. The images feature Reynolds in partial costume as the mouthy mercenary, attending — or more likely, crashing — a children’s birthday party.
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) June 26, 2017
Reynolds appears in Deadpool’s mask, and in one photo he’s seen diving into … something. What part the party will play in things remains unknown, but at least we know it’s not all business for Wade Wilson in the sequel.
Making a house call
Reynolds commemorated the beginning of production on the sequel with a photo of himself in costume, set against a familiar backdrop: Charles Xavier’s school.
The photo (posted on Twitter) features Reynolds’ mercenary in full red-and-black uniform, lying on the ground in front of the famous Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters — an estate that’s actually Hatley Castle in British Columbia, Canada. The iconic building has been used as the X-mansion in the majority of the X-Men films, beginning with 2003’s X2: X-Men United and throughout X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool, and X-Men: Apocalypse.
Dropped by the X-Mansion. Big fucking surprise. No one's home. pic.twitter.com/svbUMEdKbb
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) June 17, 2017
Given that there will be a few more mutants added to the mix in the sequel, as well as several returning characters who call the X-mansion home, it appears that Deadpool is getting an early start on reacquainting himself with Xavier’s school.
More cast members, more muscles
In June 2017, Japanese actress Shioli Kutsuna (Oh Lucy!, The Outsider) reportedly joined the cast of the Deadpool sequel in an unidentified role. According to Deadline, Kutsuna is playing a “key role” in the film.
Meanwhile, Brolin offered a preview of the physique he’s building to bring Deadpool’s fellow mutant mercenary Cable to the screen.
The actor posted a brief video on Instagram showing his workout routine for the Deadpool sequel. As if that wasn’t enough to stoke the fires of fans’ excitement for the upcoming film, Brolin upped the ante by calling out co-star Reynolds with the hashtag “#ryanreynoldsismybitch.”
Quietly, the "Team" is killing it. It takes a small village: @justindlovato at @iambuilt, Jonathon Phillips @hbmaxmuscle, @goldsgym and some discipline. Just saw @davebautista at the gym and he said: "What the f*ck happened to you?!" Haha. Best compliment ever. Totally clean: no sugar, no breads, no pastas, no drugs, none of it. Fish, rice, eggs, veggies, water, one @bulletproof or @cavemancoffeeco in the morning. I'm almost 50. It's a different time: our access along with some big picture discipline results in always surprising milestones. Get on the train. #wedontfuckaround. #itaintthathard #startslowandlight @weprevail #ryanreynoldsismybitch
A post shared by Josh Brolin (@joshbrolin) on
Your move, Reynolds.
A villain is cast
Josh Brolin will be stirring things up as Cable when Deadpool 2 arrives, but we can expect someone else to cause problems for the Merc with a Mouth as well. Jack Kesy has taken a key villain role, Deadline reports. The actor joins the film having previously appeared in the FX series The Strain, in which he portrayed a goth rock star who was infected with a vampiric virus and then later became a host body for the Master. Needless to say, Kesy can handle an unconventional storyline, so he should be right at home in the upcoming superhero flick.
Just which villain Kesy will play in the Deadpool sequel remains under wraps. One name being tossed about by Deadline’s sources is the mutant Black Tom. In the comics, he is an enemy of the X-Men, and he uses plants in interesting ways, including generating blasts via any wooden object. He also faces off with Cable, and at one point, is even shot by him, so their interactions could be interesting.
Would the real Cable please stand up?
After a post-credits scene in Deadpool revealed we could expect the character Cable (aka Nathan Summers) to appear in the next film, casting speculation began. Several contenders were named, including an apparent frontrunner, Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon. As it turns out, though, the Nocturnal Animals star will not be playing the mutant after all; Marvel Cinematic Universe vet Josh Brolin snagged the role, according to Variety.
The casting comes as a surprise, given that Shannon was “leading the pack” as the studio’s top choice for the character, according to The Hollywood Reporter in mid-March. He seemed like an ideal fit, having already appeared in three films based on comic-book properties — 2010’s Jonah Hex, as well as Man of Steel and the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Brolin also brings that experience, but it will be a bit strange to see him portray another Marvel character. He played the villain Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he’ll also reprise the role in Avengers: Infinity War. Don’t ask us how they’ll deal with that if there’s ever a Deadpool-Avengers crossover.
Any future strangeness notwithstanding, Rob Liefield, co-creator of the Deadpool comics, is thrilled. He posted an exclamation point-filled Facebook message, saying, “It’s OFFICIAL!!! The amazing JOSH BROLIN is CABLE!! He will be joining @vancityreynolds and @zaziebeetz in #Deadpool 2!!! SO EXCITING!! Yes, it’s happening folks, Deadpool #Domino #Cable are united on screen!!!”
In Marvel Comics lore, Cable is a powerful mutant soldier with a complicated history (involving time travel and conflicting timelines) and a stoic demeanor that often runs counter to Deadpool’s erratic nature. The pair have been enemies, allies, and co-stars of a popular shared comic-book series at various points, and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick indicated that Cable’s origin will need to be simplified for the movie.
Prior to Brolin’s casting, Shannon’s name wasn’t the only one floated as the actor to play him. Stranger Things actor David Harbour was also reportedly in the mix, and Bloodline and Zero Dark Thirty actor Kyle Chandler emerged as one of the early frontrunners for the role in August 2016. That report seemed to lose momentum after Deadpool director Tim Miller departed the sequel a few months later.
The art of the tease
In March 2017, 20th Century Fox revved up anticipation for the Deadpool sequel with a short film that was shown before screenings of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s (assumed to be) final solo film as the Marvel Comics mutant Wolverine.
Titled Deadpool: No Good Deed, the short film was directed by David Leitch and written by Reese, and features Reynolds as Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool). The plot sees Wade attempting to break up a robbery in a dingy alleyway, only to spend so much time trying to put on his costume in a phone booth (obviously throwing shade at D.C.’s Superman) that the victim is killed in the meantime. The film concludes with Deadpool resting on the victim’s body and eating some ice cream from his grocery bag.
Legendary Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee makes a cameo in the short, which also features some graffiti teasing the feature film’s impending debut of the mutant Cable.
A change in direction
Plans for a Deadpool sequel were announced shortly after the first film hit theaters, with original director Tim Miller initially expected to return for the follow-up film. Those plans changed in the months following the film’s debut, however, and Miller announced his departure from the sequel in October 2016.
Although nothing is certain regarding Miller’s reasons for exiting the Deadpool sequel, rumors indicated that he and star Ryan Reynolds — who also serves as a producer on the film — clashed over the proposed tone and casting for the second film. In September 2017, nearly a year after he announced leaving the film, Miller was announced as the director for Terminator 6. He also clarified the reason for his departure was based on his desire to do something new.
“I felt like there was more stories (for Deadpool) to tell there, but I’m happy that somebody else is telling them. There was a sense of relief in that I get to do something new versus Deadpool 2,” Miller told Screen Rant. “I think it would’ve been a great movie, but it was also going to be a continuation of what we had done. This really gave me a chance to do something new.“
It didn’t take long for the studio to fill the director’s chair. John Wick co-director David Leitch, a former stuntman and renowned fight choreographer, was confirmed as the film’s new director just six days after Miller’s exit.
The Domino effect
In October 2016, unconfirmed reports began circulating that the studio was looking to cast an actress to play the mutant Domino for the sequel.
Making her first, official appearance in a 1992 issue of Marvel’s X-Force series, Domino was created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza (the same team responsible for creating Deadpool) and is capable of altering probabilities in her favor. She often makes use of her mutant ability as a mercenary and has been a partner, teammate, and lover of fellow mutant Cable, along with operating both in league with and against Deadpool at various points in her comic-book history.
Reynolds brought the speculation to an end in March 2017, however, when he used a zany tweet to announce that Atlanta actress Zazie Beetz would play Domino in the movie.
Zazie Beetz Effect. pic.twitter.com/Kvtyk1aI7O
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) March 9, 2017
Lights, camera …
In February 2017, studio 20th Century Fox and producer Simon Kinberg confirmed plans to release the Deadpool sequel in 2018. The announcement left fans wondering when cameras would officially begin rolling on the project, but they didn’t have to wait long for an answer.
Later that same month, the Directors Guild of Canada confirmed that filming will begin on the Deadpool sequel around June 19 and continue through September 18. It missed that target by about a month.
Updated on February 12: We added a new image posted by Ryan Reynolds.