A costumed vigilante lies nonchalantly on the floor, cross-legged and gazing into the sky, reflecting. No, this isn't Spider-Man bemoaning his grade point average, but Deadpool, outside the X-Mansion, reflecting on how little he gives a fuck about the lack of familiar X-Men appearing in Deadpool 2. Or at least that's how I imagine it while looking at a recent teaser image Tweeted by Ryan Reynolds.
Reynolds has kickstarted the Merc with a Mouth's viral marketing campaign by sharing the fairly innocuous image with the caption: "Dropped by the X-Mansion. Big fucking surprise. No one's home." As well as a nod to a joke in the first movie — when Deadpool arrives at the mansion and quips that Fox "couldn't afford" to hire any more X-Men — it looks like confirmation #Deadpool2 will follow the same cameo-less route.
The world of #Deadpool is connected to the #XVerse, but it's not immersed in it. Its uniqueness was the key factor in its success. Adjectives such as "gritty" and "subversive" have been used generously, for good reason. It's the Wade Wilson show, the film's entire marketing campaign hinged on that fact and ran with the serendipity of the perfect casting choice of Reynolds, playing the perfect role at the perfect time.
Deadpool 2 will be a different challenge, and will be released to high expectations. As well as the return of key characters, including Vanessa, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus, Wade will be joined by Domino (Zazie Beetz) and, most importantly, Cable (Josh Brolin). These new characters will have to be introduced to Wade's world delicately, without disturbing the balance too much, while also setting up the future R-rated universe of the antihero ensemble, the #XForce.
The lack of cameos wouldn't be a surprise, either. Screenwriter Rhett Reese has previously explained the reasons why it was unlikely high-profile X-Men would appear in Deadpool 2. His reasoning was that Deadpool is the story of "lovable losers," who aren't necessarily part of the superhero A-list. That being said, although Reese doesn't want to add cameos for the sake of it, he did say they wouldn't hold back if an appearance was fitting.
Why There's No Need For Cameos In Deadpool 2
So what is the purpose of such cameos, and when would it be fitting to include them in Deadpool's universe? Generally speaking, cameos are more often than not publicity stunts. They're an additional inclusion of a popular face to help build buzz around a film's release. Nowhere is this more evident than in the superhero realm, where the speculation around a guest appearance prior to a release in the DCEU, or the MCU, or the X-verse, is usually one of the biggest talking points.
It's understandable. As well as being fan service for readers of the comic books the film's are based on, such characters have become franchises in themselves, and can significantly add to the weight of a film's release. Deadpool was the subject of intense speculation, with many hoping for an appearance from Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Spider-Man: Homecoming has Iron Man; Suicide Squad has Batman; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 has, er, David Hasselhof.
The only way such an appearance would work in Deadpool 2 (or Deadpool 3 and beyond) would be if it plays to the film's R-rated, hyper-aware sense of humor — a "serious" appearance wouldn't work. In my mind, I'd love to see an appearance from a popular X-Men actor, playing themselves (think Hugh Jackman or Patrick Stewart). This would then give Deadpool the opportunity to make the usual witty comment in his wink-wink, nudge-nudge manner.
All in all, Deadpool simply won't suffer from the absence of other big names. Nowhere is the brand so heavily ingrained in the overall project; people loved Deadpool for Deadpool, and they'll love Deadpool 2 for the same reason. The lights are on at the X-Mansion, but no one's home. And that's fine.
Is Deadpool 2 better off without any X-Men cameos? Or would you prefer to see an A-lister make an appearance? If so, who?