The 9 best superhero in-jokes and Easter eggs in Deadpool

The X-Men, Hugh Jackman, Green Lantern, and Samuel L Jackson are all in Ryan Reynolds’ firing line

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Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool has been a smash-hit, breaking all records for R-rated movies in the states and thrilling fans with its combination of pop culture references, fourth wall-breaking and kick-ass action.

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But in all the excitement, you may just have missed out on a few of the best in-jokes and nods to Deadpool’s superhero movie rivals. Don’t fret – we’ve gone ahead and picked out the best references for you. Aren’t we nice?


1. X-Men of Steel

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Deadpool’s interaction with mutant adventurers the X-Men is a significant part of the film’s plot, including a visit to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and a weighty role for metal hero Colossus, a longstanding member of the comic-book team who appears in three previous X-men films seen (but played by a different actor).

Still, the presence of Colossus and young student Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) weren’t enough for Deadpool, who quips (probably correctly) that the studio didn’t have enough cash to get any front-row X-Men to guest star.


2. Stewart or McAvoy?

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Another great X-Men movie reference comes when Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead try to drag Deadpool off to meet their leader Professor X, at which point Deadpool quips: “Stewart or McAvoy? I can never keep track of these alternate timelines.”

This is of course a real-world reference to the confusing prequel-sequel shenanigans of the X-Men film franchise, which see James McAvoy as the younger version of Patrick Stewart’s telepathic bossman.


3. The “other” Deadpool

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Yes, early on in the film fans will have spotted an action figure referencing the last time Deadpool was adapted to screen – albeit as a mute super-being with swords coming out of his arms in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine (also referenced later on by villain Ajax’s threat to sew Deadpool’s mouth shut). Though Reynolds played the character back then too, neither the actor nor the fans were happy with the portrayal – and it wasn’t Reynolds’ only superhero disappointment….


4. Regret, thy name is Green Lantern

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The trailers for Deadpool gave away one of the movie’s digs at Reynold’s failed superhero outing as Green Lantern, when a pre-superhuman Wade Wilson asks the men giving him powers not to make his costume “green…or animated!” 

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But fans may also have spotted a more direct reference in Deadpool’s slo-mo opening sequence, which saw a baseball card of Reynolds as Green Lantern spilling out of a wallet. Clearly the actor has some issues to work through.


5. Thunder from Down Under

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References to Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman abound in the film, most notably in a scene where Deadpool claims he got his own film by feeling up someone whose name rhymes with “Pulverine” while doing an impression of Jackman’s Australian accent.

Later, during an emotional moment when his former girlfriend (Morena Baccarin) peels off his mask for the first time, Deadpool is actually wearing a cut-out of Jackman’s face from People magazine underneath.


6. Bob, Agent of copyright infringement

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This is one for the hardcore comic-book fans. Towards the end of the movie, Deadpool realises that one of the goons he’s fighting is none other than his old special forces buddy Bob, and the two men have a nice catch-up. It’s a funny gag, but to fans of Deadpool’s comics it has a greater significance.

You see, “Bob” is actually a reference to one of Deadpool’s allies in the comics, an incompetent henchman to evil known in full as Bob, Agent of Hydra. However, in the movie world the rights to villainous organisation Hydra (seen prominently in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) lie with Marvel Studios (whereas Deadpool and the X-Men are at Fox) meaning the H-word cannot be uttered.

Speaking to Cinema Blend, co-writer Wernick said: “That’s why he’s just called Bob. The hardcore fans will go, ‘Oh my God, is that Hydra Bob?’ but the lawyers at Marvel won’t go, ‘Wait, that’s Hydra Bob, they don’t have the rights to it.’ We did take some liberties.”


7. Not a patch on the Avengers?

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As Deadpool was a Fox movie, there wasn’t too much in the way of potshots at the main Marvel universe films – with one exception. After the credits roll, Deadpool pops up again in a bathrobe, confused as to why the audience is still there (a riff on 80s classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), before telling them there wasn’t enough cash for a Marvel-style hint at future movies.

Specifically, he asks whether we were expecting Samuel L Jackson to turn up wearing an eyepatch and a leather outfit, a reference to the character’s appearance as Nick Fury at the end of the first Iron man movie (the first of Marvel’s now regular “post-credits scenes”).


8. Cable repeats

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However, immediately after the first post-credits scene Deadpool hints at the future appearance of one of his classic allies in the upcoming sequel – Cable, aka Nathan Summers. As to who Cable is, well, that’s complicated.

Son of a clone of telepath Jean Grey (stay with us now) and eye-blasting mutant Cyclops from the X-Men, Nathan was infected by a techno-organic virus as a child and sent to the future to be raised by his similarly displaced dad (and the OG Jean Grey) where his disease could be kept in check. 

Eventually this led to Nathan returning to the present day older than his parents with a metal arm and electronic eye (the result of the virus) as well as telepathic and telekinetic powers like his (sort of) mother. He was also prophesied to be some sort of messiah, but we’ll ignore that for now.

Anyway, in an odd twist Deadpool and Cable eventually teamed up for a popular comic book series, with their contrasting personalities (Deadpool’s mania and wisecracking, Cable’s seriousness) creating a great odd couple dynamic that fans loved and the future film will presumably hope to emulate.

Of course Cable’s convoluted backstory could be tricky to explain, but we can’t help but feel it might be well served by Deadpool’s tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the X-Men movie universe.


9. Stan Lee after hours

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And of course, because it’s a movie based on a Marvel character we had to have a cameo from comics supremo Stan Lee – though in keeping with Deadpool’s more adult tone, this time he was playing an announcer at a sleazy strip club. We’ll never look at him the same way again.

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Deadpool is in cinemas now