Deadpool 2 finally introduces one of the most iconic X-Men characters to the big screen in Cable, the time-traveling mutant portrayed by Thanos himself, Josh Brolin. One reason why it's taken so long for the character to appear on film is because his backstory is ridiculously complicated, but luckily, Cable's origin in Deadpool 2 leaves the most complex and confusing parts of his Marvel Comics history on the page.
In the film, Cable is introduced as a telekinetically-powered cyborg warrior from the future. In other words, he looks and acts pretty much like he has in the comics ever since his 1990 introduction. But one thing the film doesn't delve into is where exactly he came from, with Deadpool effectively telling the audience not to worry about it because if you think about it too hard, it won't make any sense. Fair enough, but just because Cable's backstory is avoided in the movie doesn't mean the character won't still be faithful to his comic book counterpart.
"So with Cable, he’s got such a convoluted past, and such a convoluted origin story that I think we’re going to try to leave that, not mysterious, but there are a lot of twists and turns, cloning and all this stuff where you go, 'Oh my God. How do we get that across in a two hour movie?' Deadpool 2 screenwriter Paul Wernick told Collider's Steve Weintraub in an interview last year. "I think we’re going to distill him down to his essence. It will be authentic and faithful, but it’s not going to include the 18,000 details. If you were going to read a Wikipedia page about Cable you’d roll your eyes."
So what exactly is so complicated about this backstory?
For starters, Cable is often thought to be the son of perennial X-Men favorites Cyclops and Jean Grey — except that he's not. Cable's mother is not actually Jean Grey, but is instead a clone of hers named Madelyne Prior, who had been created by the supervillain Mr. Sinister. Shortly after his birth, Cable — who then was known only by his real name of Nathan Summers — was infected with a techno-organic virus by the villain Apocalypse. The virus transforms biological tissue into cybernetic tissue, and would likely kill the child once it took over his entire body. So to save him, Cyclops sent him far into the future to be cured, as you do.
Cable grows up in the future, where he survives his virus — though remains infected, and as a result, cybernetically enhanced — and becomes a grizzled warrior. He eventually travels back in time, to around the time of his being sent to the future, with the goal of destroying Apocalypse and preventing him from ever rising to power as he does in Cable's time. While in the past, Cable becomes the leader of the New Mutants and eventually forms X-Force, and much later forms an uneasy partnership with Deadpool. He also tangles with Stryfe, his evil clone who is also from the future. Oh, and there's a third version of the character named Nate Grey, who is the son of Cyclops and the real Jean Grey and hails from an alternate reality where Apocalypse reigns known as the Age of Apocalypse.
Cable's story is mind-numbingly complex, even by comic book standards, with more clones, time travel, and alternate realities than you can shake a techno-organic virus-infected arm at. But luckily for movie fans, the bulk of that convoluted mess of an origin does not make it into Deadpool 2, meaning the audience is able to simply enjoy Cable for what he is: a monstrous, cybernetic, telekinetic badass from the future. OK, to be honest, that still sounds kinda complicated.