Deadpool: [talking to the audience] “Oh, but I can tell you one thing, and it’s a bit of a secret: For the sequel, we’re gonna have Cable. Amazing character. Bionic arm, time travel. We have no idea who we’re gonna cast yet but it could be anybody. Just need a big guy with a flat top. Could be Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Keira Knightley – she’s got range, who knows?” – Deadpool
A terrorist cell is plotting mutant genocide. They are discussing plans when a bright light erupts in the center of their compound. The light fades, revealing a man with an enormous gun and a metal arm.He opens fire and bullets shred the nearest guards. The other guards raise their weapons only to have an invisible force yank them from their hands.
The terrorist leader turns to run and is blinded by a flash. The man with the metal arm is lifting him. The terrorist gasps for air. A final sickening crack, then nothing.
Cable tosses the corpse aside and teleports away.
Cable is the archetypal superhero of the Dark Age of Comics. He was created to shake up the X-Men series and made it one of the most overcomplicated superhero series ever written. So who is he? Why is he time traveling? Why did he become Deadpool’s reluctant best friend? Let’s find out.
Tangled Family Tree: Cable’s Backstory
Hope Summers: [talking to an alternate version of Cable] “He’s your father like he’s my grandfather, which makes you my…the family dynamic is too insane to even think about.” – Avengers vs. X-Men
Warning: This backstory contains copious amounts of time travel shenanigans, cloned relatives, and fourth wall breaking Canadians. This is gonna be a weird one.
Cable made his debut in 1990’s The New Mutants #87. He was created by Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld. Cable was envisioned as a “time-traveling man of action” who would lead the New Mutants as a violent counterpart to Professor Xavier.
Nathan Summers is the child of the X-Men Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey. Nate was prophesied to become the most powerful psychic ever and kill the villain Apocalypse. Said villain learned of the prophecy and infected Nate with the Techno-Organic Virus. The only way to save Nate was to give him to a time traveling cult that viewed him as their messiah.
Nate was renamed Cable when the T-O Virus began converting his arm to a cybernetic limb. Cable underwent rigorous training and traveled back in time to fulfill his destiny. He encountered an X-Men offshoot called The New Mutants and recruited them for his own team, X-Force.
Messiah Complex: Cable’s History
Cable: [last words] “Don’t… worry. Everything’s… going to be… O.K.” – Cable #155
Cable spent years trying to kill Apocalypse, but the jerk wouldn’t stay dead. X-Force also battled one of Apocalypse’s benefactors, Stryfe. Fans later learned that Stryfe is an evil time traveling clone of Cable. The 90’s was a strange time for comics.
Deadpool spent his debut trying to assassinate Cable. Their teleporters combined, resulting in Cable and Deadpool traveling to the same destinations. They struck up an odd friendship where Cable kept Deadpool from causing unmitigated chaos and Deadpool stopped Cable from becoming too ruthless.
Following the events of House of M, a baby prophesied to be the mutant messiah was discovered. Cable managed to save the baby from several X-Men villains and took her into the future to train the child, who he named Hope Summers. Strangely, Hope was implied to be the reincarnation of Cable’s mother, Jean Grey.
Under Cable’s tutelage, Hope became an expert fighter and fulfilled her destiny to save mutantkind. Cable finally succumbed to the T-O Virus and returned Hope to the present in his last moments of life.
Bionic Badass: Cable’s Powers and Personality
Cable: [narrating] “People think they understand pain, but they have no concept of it. What’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt? Maybe the kind that leaves you more machine than man…[walks on screen with a green arm]”
Deadpool: “Wait, no, stop! What in the actual ass?! Dale! Why-why-why are the visual effects not done? It’s a metal arm! It’s not like we’re trying to remove a mustache!” – Deadpool 2
Cable has superhuman strength, durability, and is one of the most powerful psychics in the Marvel Universe. He rarely uses his psychic powers for anything other than keeping the Techno-Organic Virus at bay. The T-O Virus replaces infected tissue with cybernetics and Cable has already lost an eye and an arm. His cybernetics can interface with machinery, hack computers and contain a time machine and teleporter which sounds like an interesting trade.
Cable is an expert fighter who has defeated Captain America, Wolverine, and the Red Hulk. Befitting his status as a grimdark 90’s antihero, Cable usually skips punching and shoots his enemies with really big guns. He also has a spear/scythe hybrid called a Psi-Matar to enhance his powers and shoot energy blasts.
Cable is pragmatic and accomplishes his missions with ruthless efficiency. He has a soft spot for the X-Force and his adopted daughter Hope. Mess with either of them and Cable will make you beg for death.
The Actors who Play Cable
Cable didn’t appear on screen often until 2018’s Deadpool 2. He made his television debut in the 1992 cartoon X-Men with Lawrence Byne voicing Cable. The show was later dubbed in Japanese with prolific voice actor Tessho Genda voicing Cable.
Infinity War’s Josh Brolin debuted Cable on the big screen in Deadpool 2 mere weeks after he tormented The Avengers as Thanos. Trading the Infinity Gauntlet for a metal arm was a bad call. Brolin has signed a four picture deal, so get used to him.
Didya Get All That?
A time traveling soap opera star. With guns.