Are The Purifiers In 'Deadpool 2'?

While the bulk of the first trailer for Deadpool 2 focused on the extended homage to Bob Ross, the rapid-fire footage that snuck into the middle of that bit may have revealed a clue about at least one of the villains in the movie.

One shot shown in the Deadpool 2 trailer includes a shot of one person – possibly Pyro – standing in the center of what looks like a church or meeting hall that is on fire. In the background are several banners.

The banners spout apocalyptic, possibly religious messages like “Prepare yourself, “The end is near,” Pureblood,” and “Purity, humanity, infinity.” These zealous, xenophobic mantras seem like the kind that would adorn the meeting place of the purifiers, a group of villains who have harassed the X-Men in the Marvel universe.

The Purifiers in the comics began as the congregation of William Stryker, the anti-mutant preacher from the story X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. A version of Stryker, altered from man of God to military man, has appeared in several other X-Men movies, including X2: X-Men United and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

After Stryker was sent to prison, the Purifier became an even more extreme faction and acting more like typical terrorists. After the M-Day event, the Purifiers staged an attack on the Xavier Institute, blowing up a bus full of students.

Fueled by blind, religious hatred and the belief that all mutants were the spawn of Satan, the Purifiers continued the bigoted crusade even after Stryker’s death, allying themselves with other mutant-hating villains and organizations, including Bastion, the Reavers, the Right, and AIM.

The Purifiers could make sense as villains in Deadpool 2 because of the addition of Cable to the cast. Cable is believed by to be the future messiah by a religion from the future known as Clan Askani. Perhaps there’s a religious war brewing in the background of Deadpool 2.

The Purifiers also played a significant role in the Messiah CompleX story, and some fans feel like Deadpool 2 and the coming X-Force movie maybe drawing on that story – which involved Cable protecting a young girl who is the future of the mutant race form the Purifiers and other villains – as a blueprint for the overarching story fo the darker side of the X-Men movies universe.

Deadpool 2 opens in theaters on June 1, 2018.