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Deadpool 2 director talks connections to the X-Men universe and potential Disney team-ups

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Apr 20, 2018, 1:42 PM EDT (Updated)

Right now, superhero fans everywhere are focused on Avengers: Infinity War and its release just a week from now, but Marvel's latest team-up film isn't the only comic book movie on our watch. Less than a month after the Avengers and Thanos duke it out, Deadpool will return to our screens for an R-rated follow-up to his 2016 blockbuster, and the Merc With a Mouth reminded us all of his presence this week with a blistering new trailer that sets an entirely different tone than Earth's MIghtiest Heroes. 

While it might not be as big as Infinity WarDeadpool 2 is doing plenty of expansion of its own, introducing the iconic mutant antihero Cable (Josh Brolin) and forming the mutant team X-Force ahead of their own movie sometime in the near future. That, plus returning characters like Colossus (Stefan Capicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), means Deadpool is continuing to form his own little R-rated superhero universe, but just how big is that universe, exactly? How close are Deadpool and his buddies to the main X-Men series of films, set to continue next year with Dark Phoenix? Speaking to Fandango, director David Leitch shed a little light on that... but not too much.

"I think because we needed to expand the world, in terms of where we were going to be, obviously on the day and date, but also because Deadpool's got to go somewhere — so yeah, he's part of the X-Men lore," Leitch said. "We did find some natural tie-ins, and I think it's really going to be fun."

"He's part of the X-Men lore" isn't exactly news regarding Deadpool, depending on how you perceive what Leitch is teasing here. After all, this is a character whose movie debut was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where his portrayal was quite different than what it is now, and one of the best thing about Deadpool's current big-screen incarnation is his ability to basically do whatever he wants.

So the first movie could do things like have Colossus show up to recruit Wade Wilson for the X-Men, while still never showing us the more serious side of that team, and take us to the X-Mansion for one scene without ever creating a major overlapping conflict with something like Days of Future Past. Leitch ultimately expanded on those remarks a bit, explaining how growing the world of Deadpool is more about giving the character new people to hang out with than anything else.

"There is [more world-building]. In terms of a big comic book movie, maybe not massive world-building," Leitch said. "We're not going to outer space, and we're not going to Wakanda and discovering a world like that, but we are sort of expanding the universe of contacts and people he may be spending time with in the future, and different incarnations of the universe."

Leitch is, of course, still trying to play certain aspects of Deadpool 2 very close to the vest, so even though there are more major X-Men connections to be uncovered beyond the trailers, we likely won't hear about them until we see the movie. More important than that, though, so far the character himself hasn't seemed like someone willing to get too bogged down in the minutiae over those other movies, to the point that it wouldn't exactly be surprising if the big-screen debut of Cable went by with barely a mention of his comic book parentage. 

Leitch was also, inevitably, asked about the looming deal between Fox and Disney that would send Deadpool and all of his friends over to the House of Mouse. Rather than fret over what might happen to the franchise in the midst of that move, Leitch instead chose to ponder the team-up possibilities. So, which Marvel Studios characters might work best alongside the Merc With a Mouth?

"I think it'll be exciting for fans. What I like about Deadpool is I think that the more you can put Deadpool in a box, the more he wants to push outside of it. Pairing him with people that you think would confine him, it's a challenge to be irreverent, and it's a challenge to keep the same sort of subversive nature," Leitch said. "I think there's something interesting about that. I don't know. Who would he pair with? Captain America, that'd be pretty funny. I don't know. There are definitely some people. I mean, I'm a fan of that sort of whole Marvel universe. I think you could just throw a dart at a board and put Deadpool next to them, and it would be funny."

Deadpool 2 is in theaters May 18.