After spending many, many years in development hell, Deadpool proved itself to be a monster hit. While there were some doubts surrounding the film, specifically the R-rating, it wound up being a big success with critics while also becoming the biggest domestic hit in the X-Men franchise. Naturally, a sequel is on the way, and the Merc With The Mouth is bringing two key characters from to comics to join him in the madness.

So what is Deadpool 2 going to be all about? Who is going to be involved? What characters will be returning? How will it connect to the larger X-Men universe? We're going to go over all of that in this latest edition of our What We Know So Far guides! Read on to learn everything about the highly anticipated sequel.

What Have We Seen From Deadpool 2?

Well, after months of teases we finally have a full trailer for Deadpool 2 that shows off just how nutty the second installment in the franchise is going to be. And, we wouldn't have it any other way! The trailer finally explains the story for the film, along with giving us a good look at some new characters.

What Is Deadpool 2's Release Date?

Deadpool had a crazy amount of success when it was released with what isn't typically considered a blockbuster release date. Arriving for Valentine's Day weekend 2016, it didn't have much in the way of competition, and, as a result, managed to crush at the box office. As it happens, however, Deadpool 2 won't be one of those sequels that gets a release date in the same window as its predecessor. Instead, Fox is giving the follow-up a major spot in their early summer lineup, and are prepared to have the film released on May 18, 2018.

It was set to be an interesting theatrical release for Deadpool 2, partially because it would have been part of 20th Century Fox's first year with three X-Men franchise titles. Josh Boone's The New Mutants was scheduled to hit cinemas a few months earlier, coming out on April 13, 2018, but was recently pushed to February 22, 2019. The Merc With The Mouth sequel will still be followed by X-Men: Dark Phoenix on November 2, 2018.

Of course, the big news with the Deadpool 2 release date is that it puts the film in direct competition with Solo: A Star Wars Story, which drops a week later. We can see in a few months how these two films battle it out in the theaters.

What Is Deadpool 2's Rating

Prior to the start of Deadpool's production, the film's rating was one of the most contentious elements of development. Director Tim Miller, writers/producers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and star Ryan Reynolds were all insistent on the comic book feature being R-rated, but this approach was met with resistance by the executives at 20th Century Fox. Eventually a deal was struck that allowed the R-rating in exchange for a smaller budget, but it most definitely worked out in the project's favor: It is now ranks as the most successful R-rated movie of all time. And if you think they're changing course for Deadpool 2, you're crazy.

The MPAA doesn't actually assign a rating to a film until there is a cut that is ready to head to theaters, but we already know what the filmmakers will be aiming for in the making of Deadpool 2. There will be plenty of bloody violence, an abundance of cursing, and maybe even a bit of sex and nudity. Count on it.

The Director

It was all the way back in back in April 2011 that director Tim Miller was hired to direct Deadpool - and he was ultimately an integral force in getting the movie made. Because of his background in visual effects (he's the founder of Blur Studio), Miller was able to make the Merc With The Mouth solo film for a fraction of the price of a normal superhero feature, and still give it high production value. Unfortunately, creative differences led Tim Miller to walk away from Deadpool 2 in October 2016, and leave Fox and the producers searching for a new name.

The search didn't take long. Only a few weeks after Tim Miller announced his departure, we started hearing rumors about John Wick co-director David Leitch taking the gig (those stories were confirmed in mid-November 2016). Leitch, an experienced stunt man and stunt coordinator, made his debut as a director alongside Chad Stahelski with John Wick, but since then worked on his own solo feature with summer 2017's Atomic Blonde. Much like how Miller brought an expertise in visual effects to the making of the first Deadpool, it's expected that it was Leitch's gifts in the action department that primarily appealed to the more comedy and character-centric talents of star Ryan Reynolds, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

The Story

In this day and age, a hero's first solo film is typically dedicated to the origin story. While it's a bit tired at this point, it does make a good degree of sense given that it's the best way to introduce these super characters to a wider audience. This was the approach taken by Deadpool, as the movie told the non-linear tale of how mercenary Wade Wilson went through experimental treatments to cure his cancer and wound up with incredible healing abilities and a revenge mission. Now that that's all out of the way, however, there are an infinite number of possibilities for screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to explore in Deadpool 2.

Two significant presences were confirmed for the sequel pretty early on: Cable and Domino. Both characters are tightly connected to Deadpool, having played significant roles in the issue where he was first introduced, New Mutants #98. The basics of the plot for Deadpool 2, though, were quite a secret until the late March 2018 debut of the trailer. In it, we were shown that Deadpool will be trying to stop Cable, who's arrived from the future, from killing a child with some awesome mutant powers. In his efforts to keep the kid alive, Deadpool will get help from friends old and new, as he'll be relying on assistance from members of the, newly formed, X-Force.

Deadpool

Thanks to Tim Miller's Deadpool, now all of you know the legendary story of the motor-mouthed, sociopathic Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds). In hopes of continuing a life with his one true love, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), he chose to undergo experiments that would cure cancer that had spread to every vital organ in his body. Instead, the horrific treatments designed to turn him into a mutant led to the skin all over his body becoming incredibly scarred (making him incredibly self-conscious), and it activated a stunning healing factor that left him both invincible and basically immortal. At the end of the movie we saw him get sweet, bloody vengeance against those who tortured him, and reunite with his love... so what's next?

Having been one of Marvel Comics' most popular characters of the last 26 years, there is plenty of material from which Deadpool 2 can draw -- and some of it is very, very strange. In his time on the page, the Merc With The Mouth has saved the world from aliens that wish to rid the Earth of free will, stopped a horde of zombified former American presidents, and even found occasion to travel around the multiverse to kill every single version of himself in existence (or at least one version of Deadpool did). As Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick confirmed to CinemaBlend, fans shouldn't expect things to get too weird or complex, but given the characters involved, we should at least expect some degree of bizarreness. Case in point:

Cable

Cable is a character who possesses one of the most complicated backstories in all of Marvel Comics. First introduced to the world in 1986, he was retroactively established as the child of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey), and due to machinations involving the villainous Apocalypse and Mister Sinister he was infected with a deadly techno-virus. With no other options available to save the baby (named Nathan Summers), it was agreed that he would be sent to the future where a cure was available. Being a mutant with incredible telekinetic and telepathic abilities, he grew up to be incredibly strong (taking on the name Cable), and eventually time traveled to the past in order to try and right the world and prevent a horrific future. Now that we know he's come back to our time in Deadpool 2 to put a stop to a young mutant, it's possible that the child leads to the very future Cable is desperate to change.

After months of speculation, it was officially announced in April 2017 that Josh Brolin has signed on to play the part of Cable in Deadpool 2. And if the thought of the Oscar nominated-actor being in a comic book movie feels familiar, there's an extremely good reason: he's been in a ridiculous number of them. Not only does his filmography include Jonah Hex, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Men In Black 3, and Oldboy, but he is currently playing the incredibly important role of Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (he already worked on Guardians of the Galaxy, and has been working on his part in The Avengers: Infinity War). Still, Brolin's proven talent has us very excited that he will bring a different energy to Cable that will surprise and delight us all.

The first official image of Cable in Deadpool 2, featured above, was released in August 2017, and has earned wide-spread fan approval. Die-hards were hoping for a metal arm, a cybernetic eye, a gigantic gun, big muscles, and a whole lotta' pouches, and that's exactly what the movie is delivering. We still have some big questions about the teddy bear attached to his hip (as seen in this image), but we'll patiently wait for something this exciting.

Domino

While not quite as complicated as Cable's, Domino has an interesting origin in the comics as well. As a character, she debuted alongside Deadpool in New Mutants #98 - though it was eventually revealed that readers didn't actually meet the REAL Domino at that time. Instead, the public and the heroes in the book series were duped by none other than the shapeshifter Copycat a.k.a. Vanessa (the character played by Morena Baccarin in Deadpool). It was only after that revelation that Marvel fans got to meet the real Domino - and we've been in love with her ever since.

The result of a government breeding program trying to grow the ultimate mutant weapon, Domino has a special gift that on the surface looks like dumb luck. In actuality, she has a special subconscious telekinetic ability that changes things in her environment to best work out in her favor (enemy guns jamming, ricochets hitting perfect angles, heavy stuff falling down, etc.) It's a super power we've never really seen portrayed on the big screen, and it will be actress Zazie Beetz bringing Domino to life.

While you could measure a football field with the list of names mentioned as being up for the part of Domino, Zazie Beetz emerged as the winner in March 2017. The 26-year-old actress doesn't have much of a filmography, with only a few years of professional acting under her belt, but she has already earned some critical acclaim - specifically from her time as Van on the award-winning FX series Atlanta. The most recent trailer seems to indicate that Domino will be helping Wade Wilson protect the mutant child that Cable is after in Deadpool 2, and from the fantastic action sequences we see her in it looks like she's ready to kick ass.

Vanessa

As Deadpool explains to the audience in the opening scene of his movie, his story is entirely driven by love -- specifically his relationship with the lovely prostitute Vanessa (played by Morena Baccarin). His feelings for her drive every element of the plot, from the fact that Wade undergoes experimental procedures to have more time with her, to his revenge plot being compelled by his need to look normal before seeing her again. Fortunately, Deadpool ends on a happy note, with Wade and Vanessa kissing and swooning to WHAM!'s "Careless Whisper."

We can't say exactly where Deadpool and Vanessa's relationship will go in Deadpool 2, but it has been confirmed that she will be back and she and Wade look to be together for at least some of the film. When we spoke to screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, we learned that making the character more like her comic book counterpart -- the aforementioned shapeshifting mutant Copycat -- is still on the table, so it's possible that will come into play.

Weasel

In Deadpool, T.J. Miller played the first big screen adaptation of Weasel, known to fans of the comics as Wade Wilson's best friend and arms dealer. The character was slightly changed for the big screen, as the comic book counterpart is merely a frequent attendee of Sister Margaret's School For Wayward Children, as opposed to the proprietor. Still, Weasel had Deadpool's back and ear right up until the final fight -- which he basically wussed out of to hang with Blind Al.

Weasel will be back in Deadpool 2, ready to provide some guns and harsh insults. We don't know any specifics about his part at this time - he was only briefly featured in the first trailer, and the most recent one only shows him trading jokes with Wade - but if T.J. Miller gets his way, than we will see him get involved in the action a bit more. In an interview, the actor talked about his character's desire for money over bullets in Tim Miller's film, and noted that he'd like to fire off a few rounds in the sequel. We have to wait and see whether or not he gets his wish - though that aforementioned single shot from the debut footage does have him cocking a pistol.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Unlike Vanessa, Weasel, Ajax and Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead was actually a late addition to the Deadpool lineup of characters -- specifically included to show off some cool mutant powers. Though she is a psychic in the comics, Brianna Hildebrand's performance changes the mutation and instead has her able to focus and generate explosive forces (which is an ability more in line with her name anyway). At the end of Deadpool, she wound up killing Angel Dust while saving Colossus, and the two walked off at the end to return to Xavier's mansion.

Because she survived the plot, Negasonic Teenage Warhead was always a candidate to return in Deadpool 2, and her part in the sequel has been confirmed. While we don't know anything about the part she will have in the larger narrative, actress Brianna Hildebrand has said that she will be slightly matured while maintaining her punk kid edge (the haircut certainly sells that), and the debut trailer definitely suggests she hasn't lost her attitude. And who knows? While the newest trailer shows her in a traditional costume for one of the X-Men, perhaps she could one day be used as a core member of X-Force.

Blind Al

The relationship between Deadpool and Blind Al was certainly one of the comedic highlights of the 2016 blockbuster. Portraying the mercenary's hostage/roommate, Leslie Uggams put on a fantastic performance and had wonderful back-and-forth with Ryan Reynolds. And while Blind Al isn't a character that has been around for Deadpool's entire run in the comics, she will be back and playing a part in Deadpool 2.

Leslie Uggams has personally confirmed that Blind Al will be back in action in Deadpool 2 - but it's not quite clear what kind of role we can expect her to play. After all, one would guess that Wade Wilson would probably want to live with Vanessa now that they are reunited, and that means he doesn't really need a roommate. Perhaps Vanessa will refuse to kick her to the curb, and they will all just bunk together in Al's place.

Dopinder

To this point we've entirely focused on the characters in Deadpool who originated from the comics, but Deadpool 2 has also made room for one of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's original creations. While Dopinder, played by Karan Soni, only appeared in a couple scenes, fans instantly grew attached to the feckless cabbie, and that love earned him a place in the sequel. Last time around he basically operated as a wheelman for Deadpool, but the first trailer looks like he will wind up being more involved with the action in the follow-up. Hopefully we will also learn how he wound up avoiding jail time for kidnapping his cousin Bandhu and locking him in the trunk of his taxi.

Julian Dennison's Mystery Character

Deadpool 2 will obviously be introducing a number of interesting characters to the canon of the X-Men universe, but few are more enticing than the role played by young actor Julian Dennison - particularly after the movie's first trailer. The young actor, who delivered his breakthrough performance opposite Sam Neill in Taika Waititi's Hunt For The Wilderpeople, came aboard the film in late June 2017, and while his character has not yet been identified, our first look at him (seen above) is intense. He looked like some kind of demonic villain setting fire to some kind of church, but the second trailer revealed that he's likely a young mutant, and that Cable is absolutely out to get rid of the kid, probably in the hopes of stopping a terrible future from coming to pass. We still don't know the character's name, though, or why Cable is convinced he needs to die.

The Budget

Deadpool was made for a reported $58 million, which is a fraction of what most superhero blockbusters cost these days (The Avengers: Age of Ultron, for example, was a $250 million movie). Because of this, the movie's box office totals are even more significant, as more of the dollars rolling in are pure profit. You'd think that this would inspire 20th Century Fox to throw a whole lot more money at Deadpool 2, but according to the screenwriters/producers, going bigger with the sequel isn't really something in which they're interested. Rhett Reese has said in interviews that the next film won't be chasing a $150 million budget because it doesn't really fit the eponymous anti-hero to put him in a giant blockbuster.

From a creative standpoint, one could also see a more limited budget being a strong tool for the brains behind Deadpool 2. After all, the less money the project has, the less pressure and attention it's going to receive from meddling studio executives who may or may not have what's best for the character and fans in mind. By staying on the smaller side and making smart decisions, Deadpool 2 can remain true to its source material.

X-Force

When Marvel fans think about the team-up of Deadpool, Domino, and Cable, they typically think of them as members of the team known as X-Force. This is in large part due to the fact that it was the New Mutants line of comics in which they were all introduced that eventually became Marvel Comics's first X-Force title. Given that we know 20th Century Fox has an X-Force movie in development, it makes sense that Deadpool 2 would take steps in that direction - but don't expect it to be a two-hour commercial.

When I spoke with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, they told me that they don't have any plans on overloading Deadpool 2 with a lot of future planning - but X-Force most definitely is something that is coming together down the pike in a few years (along with Deadpool 3). Fox has been working on the project since San Diego Comic-Con 2013, when it was announced that Kick-Ass 2 director Jeff Wadlow was putting the team-up movie together. The work has changed a whole lot since then, and now it is Reese and Wernick who are helping design how it all comes together - with Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard attached to helm.

Luckily, the most recent trailer for Deadpool 2 revealed that we are, in fact, getting even more members of X-Force in the film, and the fact that Deadpool himself appears to put the team together to try to stop Cable. In addition to Domino and Cable (who, for obvious reasons, won't be a member of X-Force during the main events of this movie), we're also treated to Terry Crews as Jesse Bedlam, Rob Delaney as a potential member named Peter and Bill Skarsgard, who looks to be playing Shatterstar.

Connection To The X-Men Universe

In Deadpool, the fact that there are only two X-Men characters around is openly mocked by the Merc With The Mouth, as he is shocked by just how empty Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters seems to be. Given that the budget for Deadpool 2 is going to stay limited, we don't expect Professor X's full team to show up in the sequel, but we do anticipate that it will continue to have ties to the rest of the X-Men universe. And, the newest trailer does show off a character who appears to be X-Men member Surge, so it's clear that the movie is using its X-Men ties as much as possible.

Deadpool proved to be the X-Men franchise film with both the biggest opening weekend and highest domestic gross, and this fact will surely not be lost on the heads at 20th Century Fox. Though their PG-13/R ratings may clash a bit, the studio will surely want to use all of the positivity surrounding Deadpool and have it more closely associated with the other X-Men titles on which they are working. Exactly how far this will go probably won't be revealed until the film is actually in theaters, but it's not hard to expect a significant connection.

The "No Good Deed" Short Film

While Ryan Reynolds didn't get the opportunity to play Deadpool in any 2017 feature films, he did work with the Deadpool 2 filmmakers to deliver fans a special treat. When Logan opened in theaters nationwide, screenings were preceded by the David Lietch-directed short film "No Good Deed," which features Wade Wilson/Deadpool trying to be a superhero following a not-so-quick costume change in a phone booth. It's not specifically Deadpool 2 related, as it exists as an entirely separate thing, but it is still a hell of a lot of fun!

SPOILERS: Deadpool 2 End Credits Sequence - What Happens And What It Means

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