Credit: Marvel

Chances are you’ve heard the name Cable a few times this past week. In Deadpool, the titular merc with the mouth pays tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with a fourth-wall breaking post-credits scene to announce that Deadpool’s Marvel comic book compadre is coming for Deadpool 2.

While Fox hasn’t officially given the go-ahead for a sequel, it’s difficult to imagine Deadpool will have difficulty returning to movie screens after his record-breaking opening weekend. Plus, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick told EW that they’re already working on a new story, so Deadpool 2 seems all but assured, which means it’s time to get to know the new man on campus.

To the uninitiated, Cable may look like your average telekinetic, telepathic, gun-toting mercenary cyborg. But to comic book fans, he’s so much more. Get to know the name on every fanboy’s lips in this primer.

Who Is Cable?

Cable was born Nathan Summers, the son of Cyclops (played by James Marsden and Tye Sheridan in the X-Men films). Wanting to make the ultimate weapon against Apocalypse (someone we’ll meet in theaters this year), the psychotic mutant geneticist Mr. Sinister tricked Cyclops into conceiving Nathan with an evil clone of his wife, Jean Grey. In the events that followed a plot involving the infant and the demonic dimension Limbo, Apocalypse infected Nathan with a techno-organic virus to ensure he would never become a threat.

A desperate Cyclops found his only option to save his son was to send Nathan 2,000 years into an alternate future to be raised by his half-sister, Rachel Summers, and a group known as the Askani. Though the mutant learned how to hone his telekinetic abilities to keep the virus at bay, the results caused half of his body to take on a metallic appearance.

Nathan grew to maturity and defeated a future version of Apocalypse, after which he traveled back in time to the 20th century before his birth to make sure the Apocalypse of the past would never rise to power. Nathan embraced the name Cable to signify his link from the past to the future.

Cable’s glowing eye is no doubt a trait from his father, but he retains most of his clone mother’s telekinetic and telepathic abilities, including the power to mentally move objects, astral project, and link minds. Even without his mutant gifts, he is still a formidable force, thanks to his gun-slinging background as a former mercenary and government agent.

Cable’s History With Deadpool

A fully formed Cable first debuted in the comics with 1990’s New Mutants #87. A year later, Deadpool made his first comic appearance in New Mutants #98, and the pair have had a tumultuous relationship ever since.

What began with Wade Wilson trying to collect a bounty on Cable’s head eventually evolved into their own joint series, Cable & Deadpool. Opening with a fourth wall-breaking recap, the comics published in the 2000s included various adventures between the characters, like the time they tried to stop a plot to turn everyone on Earth blue, or the time Deadpool was brainwashed to kill Cable in a story appropriately called “Enema of the State,” or the time the pair tried to solve the mystery of who killed the world’s most wanted terrorist. (Psst! It may or may not have been Deadpool himself.)

Recently, Cable and Deadpool reunited in a new Marvel comic, Deadpool and Cable: Split Second, that saw Cable try to prevent an assassination by Deadpool in order to stop a future event. Clearly this relationship between the katana-happy, foulmouthed merc and the time-traveling, gun-happy soldier stands the test of time.

Why Now?

Cable began his comic book adventures by leading a team of Professor Xavier’s students, a team called New Mutants. Sound familiar? Fox announced a film adaptation to be written and directed by Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars). Though the characters for the X-Men spin-off haven’t been confirmed, the super suit worn by Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool is oddly reminiscent of the New Mutants uniform. Coincidence?

Another major moment of Cable’s career is X-Force, a strike team that evolved from New Mutants. Led by Cable, the group sought to take a proactive stance against mutant threats, bringing them at odds with Professor Xavier’s more peaceful approach. Wolverine, Psylocke (entering this film universe in X-Men: Apocalypse), and, yes, Deadpool have all been X-Force members over the years in the comics.

Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) was reported to be working on a script for an X-Force movie back in 2013. At the time he said he was “pretty deep into it,” but few moves have been made on the project since. Reynolds said in a recent interview that he wants to make X-Force one of his next priorities.

It’s still unclear how Cable will be incorporated into whatever form Deadpool 2 will take, or who will play him. But, when you factor in his arch-nemesis starring in this May’s X-Men: Apocalypse, it couldn’t be a more opportune time for Fox to bring out their big guns.

  • Movie
  • 108 minutes