Michael Shannon Frontrunner to Play Cable in Deadpool 2

According to The Hollywood ReporterDeadpool 2 is getting close to casting the much-sought-after role of Cable, and at the top of the studio’s wish list is none other than General Zod himself, Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Midnight Special). An intense two-time Oscar nominee (Revolutionary Road and last year’s Nocturnal Animals), Shannon is currently the top choice pending scheduling, though Stranger Things actor David Harbour and several others are also on the shortlist. Kyle Chandler was previously rumored for the role but is no longer in contention, and Liam Neeson was also in the rumor mill.

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Being able to play a character in both the DC and Marvel world isn’t a new thing, as Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds proved appearing in Marvel’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Blade Trinity and Deadpool, as well as DC’s Green Lantern. Shannon himself has done three DC Comics movies with Man of Steel, a small part in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and in the flop Jonah Hex. He would certainly be a deadly serious foil to the clownish antics of Deadpool.

We recently talked to screenwriter Rhett Reese, who gave us a taste of what the relationship between Cable and the Merc with the Mouth will be in the upcoming sequel. “Ryan plays Deadpool with a hint of femininity, and I think that can be funny opposite a Cable who’s über-masculine,” Reese told us. “That’ll come into casting and performance and the character design and his wardrobe and things like that too. I think we’ll definitely play into that.”

Reese also recently confirmed to Cinema Blend that both an X-Force movie and a Deadpool 3 are being planned as separate follow-ups to Deadpool 2.

“I also think (Deadpool 2) is working in an expansive way towards X-Force, which will really be more of an ensemble. But then that will allow us to do both an X-Force movie and a Deadpool 3, which actually contracts back down… I think we’ll be able to take two paths. One is where we’re launching something bigger, but then another where we’re contracting and staying personal and small. So I think best of all worlds, really.”

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Deadpool 2 is set to introduce two key characters from the X-Force world, including Zazie Beetz (Atlanta) as Domino, a luck-manipulating mutant, and Cable, the time-traveling son of the X-Men’s Cyclops. John Wick‘s David Leitch is directing Deadpool 2 from a screenplay by the returning “real heroes here,” screenwriters Reese and Paul Wernick. Reynolds is again serving as a producer on Deadpool 2 alongside X-Men franchise caretakers Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.

Shannon’s next high-profile gig is one of the leads in Guillermo del Toro’s Civil Rights-era monster movie The Shape of Water, and he will also play George Westinghouse opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Thomas Edison in The Current War.