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Deadpool 2’s mid-credits scene, explained

Spoiler warning.

Deadpool 2
Deadpool 2.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

There are spoilers here for Deadpool 2’s credits scene, which are hugely related to the plot of Deadpool 2.

Deadpool 2 has one credits scene, which appears mid-credits — and it might be one of the best ever created.

Over the past several years, mid- and post-credits scenes have become a superhero movie tradition. Sometimes they contain huge reveals that hint at future movies in a franchise (see: Thanos intercepting Thor’s Asgardian spaceship at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, which sets up the starting point of Infinity War, or the first Deadpool movie, which ended with Deadpool, in Ferris Bueller mode, cheekily teasing Cable’s appearance in this new sequel). Other times, they serve as little winks to fans, or callbacks to the company’s history (see: Howard the Duck dropping by at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, or Justice League’s race between Superman and the Flash).

Appropriately for a film that takes delight in subverting and indulging superhero movie conventions simultaneously, Deadpool 2’s mid-credits scene manages to fall into both categories. Here’s what happens:

In the movie, we learn that Cable (Josh Brolin) can travel through time using a device that looks like a fancy watch. This time-hopper has one jump left because it’s malfunctioning, and since Cable uses it to save Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) at the end of the movie, he’s stuck in the present at movie’s end.

However, in the mid-credits scene, the device is repaired by Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). But instead of giving it to Cable so he can get back to his own timeline, Deadpool uses the device for his own purposes.

He jumps back in time and kills the villains who killed Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) at the beginning of the movie, thereby saving her. He also uses it to jump back and save Peter (Rob Delaney), briefly of X-Force fame. He then goes back and kills the “Deadpool” who appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine — also played by Reynolds, in an appearance that’s largely ignored as a misbegotten hiccup in Deadpool’s onscreen origin story. Then, just to clear up any timeline confusion once and for all, he jumps back to kill Ryan Reynolds as he reads a screenplay for Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern.

The latter two kills are more comedic — the movie and Reynolds’s way of saying that those films were big mistakes and should be erased from our collective memory. Deadpool saving Peter ostensibly means he also saves the other X-Force members from their demise, leaving the door open for those characters to reappear in some iteration in the future. (Shatterstar, we hardly knew ye.)

The big save here, though, is Vanessa, who is arguably “fridged” in the first few minutes of the movie, killed off in order to fuel the main character’s angst. Saving Vanessa essentially erases the implications of that act, giving her and Deadpool a happy ending where they can start the family they always wanted to. It could also mean that Vanessa will appear in a future Deadpool movie — which would be good, considering that killing her off in the first place did keep her out of sight for much of this movie.

But for what it’s worth, we probably won’t find out the full implications of this scene until another installment of Deadpool hits theaters, and Reynolds has said that a future movie isn’t even on his mind yet.

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