“From the studio that brought you 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada” boasts the new trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Deadpool, trumpeting a return of the style of humour that helped skyrocket the “Merc’ with a Mouth” to cinematic success. It would seem that despite the cancellation of Donald Glover’s upcoming animated Deadpool television series, we can still count on Ryan Reynolds to deliver on fourth-wall breaking, katana wielding, R-rated action. And although the new trailer may hint at plenty of what audiences loved about Deadpool’s first outing making a return, it also highlights a few new characters that 20th Century Fox will be hoping can pave the way for a fresh and diverse new take on the X-men franchise.
We’re treated to some fresh shots of Josh Brolin’s ‘Cable’, a fan favourite from the comics and a character whose motives in Deadpool 2 remained fairly secretive until this most recent trailer. We see him fighting Deadpool, claiming he’s come from the future ‘for the kid’- a kid we can assume is the brilliant Julian Dennison, best known for his role in the utterly charming The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It’s still not totally clear if Dennison is a new X-men character created for the film or a familiar face, but a couple of promotional images and some shots from this new trailer seem to indicate he harbours some powerful pyro-technic abilities. While some of Cable’s backstory here seems to be largely inspired by the comics, it’s unusual to see him as an antagonist, as fans are accustomed to seeing him (perhaps begrudgingly) partnered with Deadpool.
Arguably the most enticing detail revealed by the trailer is the formation of “X-force”, made up of a whole host of characters new to the films. The group will take inspiration from a team of the same name that debuted back in 1991, albeit with a different roster of members. Other than Deadpool himself, the only character we know for sure is Domino, a character with “luck” powers and ivory skin in the comics but played here by the African-American actress Zazie Beetz. Her casting highlighted an important issue in Hollywood at large; during filming, Beetz’s stunt double, Joi Harris was unfortunately killed in a motorcycle accident, an incident many of the crew feel was avoidable but was indirectly caused by a lack of diversity within the stunt-community. Producers wanted a racially compatible double but there wasn’t a qualified stunt woman available, leading to the less experienced Harris performing the stunt.
Other confirmed X-force members will be played by Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgård (of Pennywise fame), Lewis Tan and Shioli Kutsuna (both of whom are of Asian descent), who fans speculate are playing Bedlam, Zeitgeist, Shatterstar and Surge respectively. It’s worth noting that this team has far better representation for under-represented ethnicities than flag-ship team ups like the Avengers or Justice League, both of which are yet to feature an Asian superhero as a member of its core team. It took until the closing scene of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, eleven films into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s canon for them to include a black hero within the group. Meanwhile, add returning Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colussus and Māori born Julian Dennison to X-force and it’s shaping up to be quite the diverse group of heroes.
Hot on the heels of Black Panther and Wonder Woman, this seems like a good sign that Hollywood is moving in the right direction and not lazily serving up another action-flick in which a straight white man saves the world. And although the character of Dopinder, Deadpool’s sidekick and chauffeur, was arguably a crass stereotype in the first film, Deadpool 2 seems to be expanding on this role; we see Dopinder strolling confidently headfirst into the action with his mutant-assassin friend. The trailer ends with a self-referential joke in which Wade Wilson promises that it “lives up to the hype”. Here’s hoping he’s right on the money.
(Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox)