The impact of Deadpool's solo debut has left a crater the size of Utah in the outer crust of Hollywood. Ryan Reynolds's portrayal of the loud-mouthed antihero was so well received that a sequel, Deadpool 2, was announced close to the film's release.
Such is the fluidity between Reynolds and his fictional Marvel persona, it feels like there is unlimited potential for the Merc with a Mouth. With a wealth of witty, fourth wall source material, it's not a surprise that there has already been an abundance of speculation about what Deadpool 2 could bring to the table.
Having made its mark in impressive fashion, the challenge for Reynolds, director Tim Miller and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick is how to build on the record-breaking, R-rated superhero flick with a difference.
While plot details are sparse, there have been a number of theories circulating what storyline could come next. Let's take a look at some of the best below:
1. Ajax Could Return At Some Point
The main villain of Deadpool turned Wade Wilson's Hollywood good looks into something akin to a testicle with teeth through his Weapon X treatment. On the scale of superhero movies, Ed Skrein's character was a lot more grounded and less grandiose, but that could change if he reprises his role for Deadpool 2.
In the movie, despite Colossus's pleas for mercy, Deadpool shoots Ajax in the head, killing him. But according to Skrein this doesn't mean the character couldn't eventually return. There are, however, loads of new potential villains, so seeing Ajax in Deadpool 2 is unlikely.
2. Vanessa May Finally Become Copycat
As pointed out by part of the viral marketing campaign movie, Deadpool was also a story about love. The narrative was glued together by the pair's relationship, with Deadpool eventually coming to the aid of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), saving her from Ajax.
Alluring as it was, Vannesa did still play the role of the damsel in distress. Compare this to the comics, and Vanessa is a blue-skinned, shape-shifting mutant who takes on her own superhero persona: Copycat.
Fortunately, Reese has suggested this is something which will be explored in future. Now Deadpool has laid the background to Vanessa and Wade's relationship, Deadpool 2 could be the perfect opportunity to reveal Copycat to the masses.
3. X-Men: Apocalypse Could Signal The Arrival Of Mister Sinister In Deadpool 2
It's one of the more ambiguous superhero movie codas, with a subtle reference to "Essex Corp." The significance of this — and how it links with Deadpool — lies with the founder of that corporation, Nathaniel Essex, also known as Mister Sinister.
Mister Sinister is a powerful villain in the X-Men universe, and, more significantly, a villain that Deadpool often clashes with. As well as being the main villain in the Deadpool video game, in the comic book series, Deadpool battles Sinister over another character: Cable.
As we know, Cable has already been confirmed to star in Deadpool 2, so this could suggest the arrival of Nathaniel Essex's evil alter ego.
4. Deadpool 2 Could Usher The Beginning Of X-Force
The X-Men's slightly unhinged and uncompromising sibling, the X-Force, could be introduced in Deadpool 2. Again, this links back to Cable, who is the person responsible for launching and leading the crime-fighting group in the comics.
While Colossus tried in vein to convince Deadpool to join the X-Men, it was all a little too PG-13 for Wade's liking. The X-Force is much more suited to the R-rated universe of Deadpool, and with Cable's involvement, it looks likely Wade may be convinced to join.
5. Quicksilver Could Make An Appearance
Remember, Deadpool does share a universe with Fox's X-Men franchise, which prises the door open for some interesting team-ups. One in particular that would be incredible to see (if unlikely) would be Quicksilver.
The scene-stealing X-Men member shares a similar impulsive, quip-making personality to Wade Wilson, and the pair together would make for some hilarious scenes. Evan Peters, who plays Quicksilver in the X-Men series, is on board to join forces with Ryan Reynolds, saying: "I would love to do that" when asked about the possibility.
6. Finally, Could Spider-Man And Deadpool Make Our Dreams Come True?
Please, please, pleeeease make this happen! The pair share a rich history in the comics, with Deadpool unafraid of discussing his feelings with Peter Parker. It's a match made in heaven.
Unfortunately, we could be a long way away from Spidey making the transition into Fox's X-verse (it took long enough for Sony to strike a deal with Marvel Studios for him to star in the MCU), but it's not something that is completely off the radar.
Director Tim Miller has previously expressed his excitement at the prospect, while simultaneously acknowledging that, pragmatically, it could be a challenge. He said:
"I honestly can say, as an adult who works in this industry, you certainly can see all the reasons why it doesn't happen. The corporate inertia, just the lawyering of that deal alone is so daunting that I don't think anybody would seriously consider it. But as a fan, you just want to go, '[frick] man! Why can't I see that?' Because that's what I got in comic books."