If we could turn back time for a moment…
Deadpool loves to take shots at bad movies. And, well, the reviews for the first and second movies, not to mention the ridiculous box office numbers, have given it full license to say what it wants about anything that’s not up to its caliber of cinema. But a lot of the character’s shtick requires you to have seen the bad movies to be in on the joke. I wrote about this two years ago when Deadpool came out, and maybe you were inspired to finally see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern if you hadn’t before, and now you’re able to appreciate the jabs at those same movies found in Deadpool 2.
This time, the two bad Ryan Reynolds superhero movies that Ryan Reynolds and his Deadpool franchise love to mock are at the center of the obligatory mid-credits scene. Cable (Josh Brolin) somehow travels back in time and saves Deadpool from his self-sacrificing heroic death (are there two Cables when that happens? never mind, this isn’t a movie for deep time-travel discussion), then Deadpool gets the time-travel doohickey fixed and travels back to save Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Peter (Rob Delaney) and then kill both his X-Men: Origins version of Deadpool and the actor Ryan Reynolds as he’s agreeing to be in Green Lantern.
It doesn’t make a lick of sense, the mark is overused by the character, and the idea of making an installment of one’s own franchise obsolete by wiping out its events as non-canon and fixing the timeline has already been done by the main X-Men movies with Days of Future Past course correcting for the much-hated The Last Stand. But it’s fun. It’s not the best post-credits scene of all time, but it’s good. And you don’t really have to have seen Green Lantern to know its reputation and get that scene — Fox may prefer you catch up with X-Men Origins: Wolverine for their benefit but shouldn’t care about a Warner Bros. release. Of course, they can’t really erase its existence either. It’s just a fan-service gag.
That almost wasn’t the end of them. According to Fandango’s interview with Deadpool 2 screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, there was another idea for a Chris Evans cameo after the credits. The actor would appear in a return to the X-Force interviews sequence, with a Captain America type attitude. Deadpool would have said something about him actually being Human Torch (in Fox’s first two Fantastic Four movies), not Captain America, to which Evans would reply, “We all have our pasts.” As much as an Evans cameo would have been nice to see, fortunately we didn’t get that one because more nods to Reynolds’s past would be overkill.
Another part of the mid-credits time-traveling montage, by the way, was to feature Deadpool killing Hitler. As a baby. Apparently the scene was not just written but also shot, but the gag was deemed too dark, even for being about Hitler. Deadpool can be seen with a baby’s genitalia, but he can’t be seen strangling a baby. Also, Wernick admitted that the Green Lantern gag ending with “You’re welcome, Canada” got such a huge laugh in previews that there was no topping it and so no sense in having the baby Hitler thing come next. He told Fandango, “Hitler was just a come down from that, we thought.”
Another thing the writers address in that interview is that the mid-credits stinger kind of makes Deadpool 2 itself mostly an obsolete movie. If everyone can just go back and save characters who died, what’s the point? What was the movie all for? “One of the unfortunate by-products of that coda is that it essentially invalidates the entire movie,” Reese admits. “Why do we even have a movie?” Wernick wonders aloud. In a way, the sequence is perfect in its timing by parodying the idea of no-stakes no-actual-deaths comic book tradition just as everyone is speculating that Avengers 4 will do the same thing regarding the deaths at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
Also, the part that I find funniest is that Deadpool doesn’t save the rest of the accidentally killed off X-Force team. He saves Peter because Peter was a nice guy who shouldn’t have been there and who had expressed concern about the wind. But he doesn’t take that time to also reverse the fates of Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Bedlam (Terry Crews), and the Vanisher (yes, that really was Brad Pitt). For so long, fans have thought these guys were X-Force — well, maybe not the Vanisher, whom most people failed to notice secretly present in the trailer — as in the team we’d see in the X-Force spinoff that’s in development.
As for other characters who did survive the ending of Deadpool 2, what are we to think about the future of Juggernaut? The massive villain (voiced by Reynolds, despite the credits saying it was Juggernaut himself), whose arc doesn’t really make much sense save for us to believe he’s really that faithful to a kid for wanting to help him break out of prison, is seen alive following his seemingly lethal electrocution. Wernick told Fandango that it would be fun for him to return as a member of X-Force. Personally, I don’t think they should bother. He’s not very memorable here. For once, The Last Stand did something better, if only for paying homage to one old X-Men cartoon moment.
If there’s not a Deadpool 3 for a while and X-Force does have to pick up the franchise from here, certainly Deadpool will be joined by Cable and Domino (Zazie Beetz). I’d also love to see more of Firefist (Julian Dennison), perhaps with another name — or that can just continue to be fodder for Deadpool’s wisecracks, as Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s name is. There’s also NTW’s new girlfriend, Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna), whose name in the credits includes a note that “the X-Force is strong with this one.” X-Force could even still feature any of the guys who died for humor’s sake, because the X-franchise has now doubled down on the fact that anything goes canon-wise. Terry Crews at least deserves a second chance.
One character who needn’t show up: Weasel. T.J. Miller can sit the rest of the franchise out, as far as most of us are all concerned. So, why wasn’t he killed off in some way at the end of Deadpool 2 to appease the audience disapproving of his kept-in reprisal following his sexual misconduct scandal? And why wasn’t there a joking reference to the issue at all, especially since they were adding in dialogue to the masked Deadpool scenes right up to the end? Because making jokes about Miller would have been even worse than Miller just being left in the movie. That’d be having fun with the whole issue. It’d be in even worse taste than a baby with a Hitler mustache being strangled to death.