Deadpool 2 is a film with a lot of promise but fans are perhaps mostly anticipating the on-screen debut of a long-awaited Marvel character – Cable. There aren't many superheroes more beloved than Nathan Summers who have yet to appear in a live-action comic book film, but the backstory for Cable is incredibly complex and convoluted, which has likely made it difficult to fit into any movie’s plot. With a story full of time-travel, evil clones, and outrageously oversized weaponry, Cable is, in many ways, the ‘90s at Marvel Comics personified.
Cable’s backstory is so complicated that even the most cursory list of “What to Know About Cable Before Deadpool 2” seems absolutely insane to anyone who’s not a veteran reader of comic books; that’s probably why he’s slated to appear in the Deadpool sequel, instead of one of the X-Men films or New Mutants. Not only does Cable and Deadpool have a lengthy, intertwined comic book history, the world of Deadpool might just be the perfect fit for the gun-toting mutant messiah with a bizarre and often nonsensical origin.
Comic book superheroes tend to die with alarming frequency, but even among that crowd, Jean Grey dies an extraordinary amount of times. The saga of Cable begins with her second official death, as Jean commits cosmic suicide at the end of the famous Dark Phoenix Saga.
With Jean out of the picture, the X-Men’s leader, Scott Summers – better known as Cyclops, – is left without his long-time lover and ends up quitting the team for a time as a result. This also has severe consequences for X-villain Mr. Sinister, who is running an extreme long-game plan to kill his own master, Apocalypse, with the offspring of Cyclops and Jean Grey.
Sinister is convinced that Cyke and Jean are the perfect mutants, and thusly, their child must be able to take down just about anyone. Sinister’s big plan is flummoxed with the death of Jean Grey... or is it?
While taking some time away from the X-Men and the memory of his dead lover, Cyclops decides to move to Alaska, as one does. It's not long before he bumps into a local who miraculously happens to look nearly identical to Jean Grey. Cyclops, the highly-trained mutant leader that he is, didn't find the convenient appearance of Madelyne Pryor to be suspicious in the slightest, and the two hit it off.
Marriage and a baby follow shortly thereafter, with Scott Summers continuing to rush headlong into bad decisions with Quicksilver-like speed, and the child’s name is Nathaniel Christopher Charles Summers. The middle names come from Cyclops’s father, a space-pirate, and his mentor, Professor X.
Not long after the birth of Cyclops’s son, Jean Grey resurrects yet again. Or, rather, Jean Grey is revealed to have been alive this whole time in a cocoon underneath a bay while a cosmic entity pretended to be her and then committed cosmic suicide. In any case, Cyclops proves to be a complete jerk by immediately bailing on his new wife and child to “get the band back together” with his old flame and their original teammates. For a while, Cyclops doesn't even tell Madelyne he has left her, nor does he tell Jean that he had got married and had a kid while she was “dead.”
In other words, Cyclops was a total dick. It isn't even that surprising when Madelyne Pryor goes full-on supervillain as the Goblin Queen, having been revealed to be a clone of Jean Grey this entire time. It turns out that Mr. Sinister created Madelyne and sent her after Scott Summers with the goal of procreating – a goal she most definitely succeeded at!
With the Goblin Queen defeated, Jean Grey is free to be with the man she stole back from her clone. She even gets to steal Madelyne Pryor’s child, as some psychic shenanigans “melds” Madelyne’s essence with Jean’s, giving Jean access to all of Madelyne’s memories and her maternal feelings towards baby Nathan.
With this convenient plot device, Jean is able to take over as Nathan’s “real mom,” and the family could live happily ever after (unless you count Madelyne). Scott and Jean even get married, but not before baby Nathan is cruelly ripped away from them!