This may come as a shock, but it looks like the most intriguing part of the sequel to 2016’s R-rated superhero hit Deadpool may not be Ryan Reynolds. While the actor’s return as the wisecracking, fourth-wall-breaking antihero Deadpool has many fans excited, the recently-released first images of actress Zazie Beetz in costume as the Marvel Comics character Domino and Josh Brolin as the time-displaced warrior Cable have stirred up a great deal of excitement, and suggest several interesting possibilities for the future of Twentieth Century Fox’s Marvel superhero franchise.
A new movie in a superhero series usually brings with it an influx of new characters, and Deadpool 2, slated for release in 2018, is no exception. The film already made headlines when it was announced that Brolin would be playing tough-talking, time-traveling mutant cyborg Cable, a frequent foil to the characteristically zany Deadpool in the comics. This was our first hint of the direction the sequel would be taking. Pairing Deadpool with a gravely serious fellow superhero was bound to lead to a hilarious dynamic, similar to the titular mercenary’s relationship with X-Men characters Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the first film. But Domino adds another layer of complexity to an already buzzworthy sequel, as her character possesses historic ties to both Cable and Deadpool.
Ryan Reynolds posted the picture of Domino on his twitter account last week, revealing Beetz laying in front of a roaring fire on Reynolds’ flattened red and black Deadpool suit. The image is meant to mimic the first image of Reynolds in his Deadpool attire, in which he was similarly posed on a bearskin rug in front of a fireplace. Beetz is dressed in a battle-ready black jumpsuit, boots and gloves, with a small white patch painted over her left eye. Some comic book fans have complained about the actress’s appearance, arguing that the character should have white skin with a black patch over her eye as she does in the comics, but many, such as Deadpool and Domino co-creator Rob Liefeld, publicly praised the updated look.
Liefeld was similarly supportive of the first image of Brolin as Cable. The photo, which Reynolds tweeted earlier this week, shows the seasoned actor sporting a gray crew cut, dramatic facial scarring, and a Terminator-esque bionic eye. While some fans inevitably criticized Brolin’s look, most reacted positively. In a broad sense, Brolin’s casting comes across as a relatively safe and logical choice on the part of Twentieth Century Fox.
Brolin, who has years of experience portraying overtly-masculine and often violent or militaristic characters in films such as No Country for Old Men and Sicario, seems a fairly predictable choice for Cable, a gunslinging futuristic warrior reminiscent of the ‘80s action heroes portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren. The character’s inclusion in the Deadpool sequel was teased in a post-credits sequence in the first film, so fans have had ample time to prepare for Cable’s introduction.
But Domino is much more of a wild card, and the casting of Beetz in the role represents an interesting next step for Fox’s R-rated superhero franchise. Known for her work in Donald Glover’s critically-praised FX sitcom Atlanta, Beetz was chosen to portray Domino in part because, as Liefeld claimed, she immediately displayed the quick wit and fast-talking comedic chops necessary to match Ryan Reynolds’ relentlessly quippy onscreen presence as Deadpool. Following up a blockbuster as wildly colorful as the first Deadpool is no easy task, after all, and it seems that Fox saw Domino as just the agent of chaos they needed to take the series in an unexpected direction.
First appearing in Marvel’s The New Mutants comic series in 1991, Domino was the result of a secret government genetic experiment, similar to that which originally unlocked Deadpool’s mutant powers. She helped to found a mercenary group known as Six Pack, in which she collaborated with Cable on several missions. Later, the two of them worked together again as members of the mutant group X-Force. At one point, Deadpool inadvertently helped Domino to escape from a supervillain’s lair, after which she shot him.
This is somewhat symbolic of the relationship between the two characters in the comics, which has ranged from romantic at times to wildly bitter and antagonistic. Similarly, her working relationship with Cable has often turned romantic, though in other cases she has attempted to kill him when she deems his actions too drastic or dangerous. Ultimately, such a colorful and varied comic book history could provide nearly endless possibilities for Domino’s relationships with the characters in the upcoming film.
Domino’s connection to Cable is particularly notable. A couple of months ago, producer Hutch Parker stated that Twentieth Century Fox’s introduction of Cable in Deadpool 2 is actually a strategic move intended to connect the studio’s X-Men film series with the Deadpool movies and their planned New Mutants franchise using Cable’s time-traveling abilities. If so, the introduction of Domino along with Cable could signal her involvement in these future enterprises. The two of them could make an interesting and unpredictable mercenary team, adding an entertaining chaotic element to the recently stagnant X-Men films.
Still, regardless of Domino’s role in future Fox productions, her fierce individuality and unique mutant abilities will surely make her a standout character. Similar to Deadpool, she is known as an expert in hand-to-hand combat and marksmanship, offering the potential for intricately-choreographed fight scenes that can hopefully match the athletic grace and adrenaline-fueled excitement of the action in recent superhero hits like Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Additionally, Domino is gifted with the curious mutant power to subconsciously alter probability, meaning that she literally makes her own luck. In the comics, she was repeatedly shown to be able to turn the odds in her favor in a variety of situations, and it will be interesting to see how this is represented in film.
Perhaps Domino’s powers will manifest in a primarily visual sense, and we will see her pull off unbelievable shots with her trademark firearms à la Angelina Jolie in Wanted, or narrowly escape massive explosions and other assorted death traps. Recent set photos showing Domino parachuting to safety alongside Deadpool hint at the inclusion of such suspenseful moments in Deadpool 2. I would be curious, however, to see Domino (and in a broader sense Zazie Beetz) pair her quick wit with her supernaturally good fortune in order to comedically talk her way out of seemingly inescapable situations, similar to the oft-used Jedi mind trick in Star Wars. Not only would such scenes be entertaining to watch due to Beetz’s charisma and ability to nail a juicy dialogue sequence, but Deadpool’s reactions to such absurd situations would add another level of comedy to the whole affair.
In any case, moviegoers have a lot to look forward to in the Deadpool sequel thanks to the decision to make Domino a part of the action. The filmmakers have selected a character with a unique backstory and matched her with a talented and capable actress, perhaps capturing the same lightning-in-a-bottle effect that they achieved with Ryan Reynolds on the first Deadpool. No matter how the character plays into future films in Twentieth Century Fox’s superhero universe, it will undoubtedly be a thrill to watch Beetz outwit, outdo and out-talk Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth, in a sense out-Deadpool-ing Deadpool himself.