While the ultimately cast star received positive reviews for his work, Deadpool 2 producer Kelly McCormick confirms Michael Shannon was nearly cast as Cable for the superhero sequel. Created by Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld, the character first appeared in the comics as Nathan Summers in 1986’s The Uncanny X-Men No. 201 before the adult version was introduced in 1990’s The New Mutants No. 87, though it wasn’t decided until later that they would be the same character. The son of Cyclops and first wife Madelyne Pryor, Nathan was infected with a deadly techno-organic virus as a baby and sent to the future in the hopes of curing him, where he would become the time-traveling warrior Cable and would return to the present and work alongside the X-Men, form the New Mutants spinoff group X-Force and become an on-again, off-again ally of Deadpool.
After having been a recurring player in X-Men: The Animated Series, Cable would make his live-action debut in Deadpool 2 with Josh Brolin playing the character, having traveled back to the present in order to kill young mutant Firefist to protect his family in the future. Set within Fox’s X-Men universe, Deadpool 2 was a critical and commercial hit, with the performances from its new and returning faces all scoring rave reviews and opening the door for future sequels and spinoffs, including the long-gestating Deadpool 3. Though the rights being folded into Marvel Studios has left some characters’ futures unknown, one star nearly didn’t become part of the franchise in the first place.
While chatting with IndieWire to discuss the ensemble roster of Bullet Train, Kelly McCormick reflected on her time working on Deadpool 2. In looking at Michael Shannon’s role in the new film, the producers confirmed the rumors that he was nearly cast as Cable for the Ryan Reynolds-led sequel, only for a scheduling conflict to force him to back out at the last minute. See what McCormick shared below:
“He actually almost was Cable. Then there was some sort of hiccup conflict at the very last minute, and then we just ended up reconnecting on this one, and felt really lucky that this was the role for him. Because Josh [Brolin] was so good as Cable, I can’t even imagine [what that would have been like].”
Word had swirled about Michael Shannon’s potential Cable casting during Deadpool 2‘s development, reportedly being considered the frontrunner to bring the character to life while Stranger Things‘ David Harbour, Brad Pitt and Josh Brolin were also in the running for the part. Much like Pitt before him, McCormick seems to indicate Shannon’s busy schedule as the reason for his being unable to play the part, with the former ultimately appearing in the bizarre cameo of the Vanisher, a member of the X-Force killed off halfway through the film. Shannon, best known at the time for his work in Boardwalk Empire and Man of Steel, had multiple projects on his docket amidst Deadpool 2‘s development, including the BBC adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl, HBO’s Farenheit 451, Paramount Network’s Waco and the Chris Hemsworth-led 12 Strong, making it understandable he would ultimately bow out from his Cable chances.
Brolin’s casting as Cable for Deadpool 2 came as a surprise to many, given his ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thanos, though was ultimately lauded by critics and audiences alike. With Deadpool 3 now bringing Reynolds’ beloved character to the MCU, many are left wondering if Brolin will get the chance to play Cable again or if Shannon will get another shot at the part. In the meantime, audiences can see Shannon and David Leitch finally getting to work together with Bullet Train in theaters now.