The latest trailer for Deadpool 2 focused on the irreverent antihero’s biggest foil — the always taciturn, time-traveling mutant soldier known as Cable. And one shot in particular has fans wondering if we’ve already seen the beginnings of one of Cable’s biggest fictional hallmarks: X-Force, the black-ops wing of the X-Men.
The shot comes about two-thirds of the way through the trailer, when we see Deadpool at the front of a line of characters in the cargo bay of a plane. On the left is Zazie Beetz as Domino, the supernaturally lucky mercenary, and on the right is a guy who looks an awful lot like Terry Crews (if Crews is involved in Deadpool 2, this would be the first indication of it. Polygon has reached out to 20th Century Fox for comment). Behind them are two more unknown characters who certainly have a bit of a mutant-superhero air to their costumes.
Lots of folks are theorizing about whether this represents a new superhero team in the movie — or if it, in fact, represents X-Force, a team that Cable founded and Deadpool battled. An X-Force movie, directed by Drew Goddard of Netflix’s Daredevil, is on 20th Century Fox’s docket, although it currently has neither a confirmed title nor release date (it might start filming in 2018).
But let’s back up a bit.
Who are X-Force?
X-Force was an ongoing comic series that spun out of the X-Men setting in 1991. More specifically, it was the brainchild of artist Rob Liefeld, during the course of his meteoric rise to 1990s comic book stardom. X-Force #1 kicked off just as the long-running and once very popular New Mutants series had been canceled, and it involved a few of the same characters. It was sort of a successor series to New Mutants — but the two books couldn’t have been more different.
New Mutants was a book about a new, teenage generation of students at Xavier’s School, with a focus on emotional, character-to-character drama over superhero clashes. X-Force was a book about Cable whipping a motley crew of mutants into military shape, and was focused squarely on what Liefeld — and many comics creators of the era — was best at: action sequences, action sequences and more action sequences.
Though an artist by trade, Liefeld was also given control of plotting X-Force, through the Marvel Method of comics scripting, with Fabian Nicieza writing the book’s dialogue. Together, the two created the character of Domino for the book, and brought back two of Liefeld’s New Mutants co-creations to X-Force: Cable, as the group leader, and Deadpool, as a recurring antagonist. Other members of the original team include Boom Boom, Cannonball, Feral, Shatterstar and Warpath, although, like most long-running superhero teams, X-Force’s roster has changed significantly over time.
X-Force is the place where Cable and Deadpool began their long history of being begrudging frenemies, and where Cable and Domino began their status as each other’s love interests. So, with both Domino and Cable being featured in Deadpool 2, and with an X-Force movie on the way, it’s not implausible that some incarnation of the group might appear in Deadpool 2.
But as to whether those characters up there are actually some version of X-Force — and whether or not that’s actually Terry Crews — we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Deadpool 2 will hit theaters on May 18, sandwiched in between Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story.