(Spoilers ahead for both “Deadpool 2” and its post-credits scene.)
Leave it to Ryan Reynolds and his cherished “Deadpool” franchise to upend not only what’s expected of Marvel movie post-credits but what’s actually possible within the framework of a gag typically used to mildly tease what’s to come in future installments. Instead, “Deadpool 2” uses its jam-packed post-credits sequence to upend just about everything that happened in the previous movie, while also laying on some thick meta jokes and reaching way beyond the limits of a movie universe. They’re wild.
They’re also not entirely impossible to talk about without spoiling the whole film, which follows Reynolds’ Deadpool as he attempts to recover from a tremendous heartbreak, save a cute new mutant on the scene, and assemble his very own crime-fighting team. Here’s what they are, how they impact not only the film they follow, but the rest of the wide-open Deadpool world.
1. Negasonic Teenage Warhead to the Rescue
Josh Brolin’s main baddie Cable arrives in “Deadpool 2” via an apparently finicky time-traveling device, one that uses charges to energize enough for traveling. Cable only had two charges – one to go back in time, one to go forward – and he used his last one to save Deadpool. By the film’s end, Cable is stuck in Deadpool’s time (by choice! mostly!), a surprisingly emotional beat to end on. Never fear, though, because the very first scene in the post-credits sequence is all about righting that wrong (in a huge way).
We pick up with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yoiki (Shioli Kutsuna) in the X-Mansion, where the duo appear to have not only fixed the device, but also improved upon it – no charges needed here! – but it’s not Cable who gets it, it’s Deadpool. “Cable’s going to kill you when he finds out you’ve got it,” Negasonic warns Deadpool, but it’s too late. He’s already out the door, armed with a time-traveling gizmo that’s about to set the entire Deadpool universe alight, and that’s after the credits have started running.
20th Century Fox
2. If I Could Turn Back Time
First stop: Deadpool goes back in time to stop his beloved fiancee Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) from being killed at the hands of a gun-wielding baddie. It’s a retread of a pivotal scene from the opening act of the film, which set Deadpool on a path to revenge and redemption that literally guided the entire movie that just played. Deadpool zings the baddie with a cream cheese spreader to the head, saving Vanessa and giving the film a happy ending on top of a happy ending (and, again, kind of insanely undoing one of the biggest plot points of the film itself).
3. Getting the Gang Back Together
That’s not all. Deadpool isn’t done saving people who died over the course of the film, next opting to go back in time to save the cherub-faced non-superheroic X-Force member Peter (Rob Delaney), who previously died during a gruesome (and, yes, hysterical) action sequence that wiped out the vast majority of the newly formed hero team. Deadpool opts not to save the rest of the X-Force, including Bedlam, Vanisher, Shatterstar, and Zeitgeist, but takes the time to warn sweet Peter away from a life of crime-fighting.
20th Century Fox
4. Cleaning Up the Timeline
Up to this point, “Deadpool 2” has been relatively straightforward with its time-jumping antics, but by the time Deadpool goes back for another adventure, care of Cable’s neat little gadget, things get weird. It’s important to provide a small refresher here, because while Reynolds’ quest to get Deadpool his very own movie franchise has been an ongoing saga in comic book movie lore, it was almost derailed by his first appearance as the merc with the mouth, back in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Reynolds has been outspoken about not digging the Deadpool that appears in that film – what with his sealed mouth, crazy eyes, and long claws – but that he felt it was still necessary that he be the one to play his beloved character.
Now that Deadpool (and Reynolds) has his very own blockbuster franchise, it’s time to let that Deadpool die, once and for all. After saving Vanessa and Peter, Deadpool goes back in time to…kill Deadpool? The other Deadpool. In a scene literally ripped from “Origins” – no, really, it’s the scene you see below, only featuring only Deadpool and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – the original pair are about the face off when New-and-Improved Deadpool steps in and happily shoots Old-and-Bad Deadpool right in the head.
“Just cleaning up the timelines!” Deadpool tells archival Wolverine, now seen only from behind with his own claws drawn. It’s a hilarious nod to both Deadpool’s ongoing feud with both Wolverine and Jackman and the increasingly weird and messy timeline that is the X-Men movies. There’s only one Deadpool now.
5. So Much for the Other Guy
Deadpool is, of course, not the only superhero that Reynolds has portrayed on the big screen, as the actor previously played DC hero Green Lantern in the much-maligned 2011 “Green Lantern” feature. The film underperformed at the box office, making less than $220M in total ticket sales, and it earned a dismal 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Needless to say, it did not spawn a sequel, but Reynolds himself has a sense of humor about the whole thing.
For the final post-credits sequence, Deadpool goes back in time to visit…Ryan Reynolds himself, fresh-faced and reading the script for “Green Lantern.” He’s so full of hope for the future! “You’re in the big leagues now, kid,” he says to himself, just before the camera cuts to the reveal the front page of the script. But Deadpool is there, and he’s hellbent on stopping Reynolds (yes, did you know “Deadpool 2” is meta?) from making a big mistake, shooting him in the head and splashing the script with blood.
So, final tally: Cable’s device is fixed, Vanessa is alive, Peter is alive, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” era Deadpool is dead, and Ryan Reynolds is also dead.
Bonus: The Juggernaut Song
Yes, the entire post-credits extravaganza is set the dulcet tones of a brand-new jam all about the newly-introduced Juggernaut. Some sample lines: “You can’t stop him/He’s the Juggernaut/You can’t stop this/Mother f**ker.” It also includes a darling refrain of “holy shitballs!,” that plays throughout the instant classic superhero anthem.
“Deadpool 2″ hits theaters on Friday, May 18.