'Deadpool 2': Why Does Cable Have a Teddy Bear Sidekick?

DeadPool 2 -Twitter Ryan Reynolds -Josh Brolin as Cable - Screen shot-H 2017
Courtesy of 20th Century FOX
No, really — is the stuffed animal attached to Josh Brolin's waist more than it seems?

The first images of Josh Brolin's Cable from Deadpool 2 have been released, showing off a grizzled cyborg mutant that seems in line with the comic book incarnation, down to the scarred face and cybernetic arm. But one detail seems particularly eye-catching, and mysterious: What's with that bear on his belt?

The shot of Cable in Reynolds' second image has plenty of things for fans to pick apart, as feedback on social media has demonstrated: Is his gun big enough? Does he have enough pouches? In general, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with Brolin's debut lauded for its authenticity to the iconic 1990s comic book character. But, still, there's that bear.

It's possible that the bear is nothing more than a cute, counter-intuitive visual gag: Cable is this deadly, bad-ass warrior who needs his teddy bear to sleep at night, a la Captain Boomerang's thing for pink unicorn plushies in last year's Suicide Squad. That might even be likely, considering both the comedic tone of Deadpool and the fact that the sequel will already have enough material to cover with the introduction not only of Cable himself, but also Domino. And yet, there are not one, but two, potential comic book Easter eggs suggested by the fact that Cable has a plush bear attached to his belt — one of which speaks to the character's backstory, the other a potential new addition to Fox's X-Men movie universe.

The backstory theory first. In comic book lore, Cable is the adult version of the son of the X-Men's Cyclops, who was taken into the future as a baby after becoming infected with a virus that explains his cyborg arm. Following that theory through to a logical conclusion, it's possible that the bear is one he had as a baby, and his only keepsake of where he came from. No wonder he keeps it with him, if that's the case. (Although, that doesn't seem like the safest place to keep such an important artifact, considering all the fights Cable gets in. What are the odds the bear doesn't make it through Deadpool 2 in one piece?)

Alternatively, it's possible that the bear doesn't belong to Cable at all — instead, it's a clue that some version of Hope Summers exists in Fox's X-Men movie universe. In Marvel's comic book mythology, Hope was a potential mutant messiah — a baby born with the mutant gene at a time when such things were thought to be scientifically impossible — and, as such, under such threat that she was hidden in the timestream, with Cable as her bodyguard and, eventually, her surrogate father.

Teasing Hope's existence is something that tweaks Fox's X-Plans outside of future Cable usage; one of the reasons Hope was considered special was that she was, in some mysterious way, connected to the Phoenix Force — the same cosmic entity that Jean Grey manifested in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, and which will play a far more important role in 2018's X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Could Deadpool 2 be laying the groundwork for an unexpected denouement to next year's X-Men installment?

Perhaps not. If nothing else, Deadpool already has a surly teenage girl in its cast, thanks to Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and it's a series out of synch with the retro timeline of the X-Men movies currently. If only there was a time-traveling cyborg around to make everything come together in an unanticipated manner…

Deadpool 2 will be released June 1, 2018, ideally explaining all about the teddy bear immediately upon release.