The moment Deadpool took the screen after the credits of his self-titled movie rolled to tease a sequel involving the popular comic book character Cable, the casting race was on.
Cable became the most sought after role in Hollywood. A-list celebrities were campaigning for the part on social media. Surely, Hollywood agents were ringing 20th Century Fox's casting offices until the voice mailboxes were so full they couldn't saveanother second of begging.
At the finish line of that race was Josh Brolin, grinning in true-to-Cable fashion to accept the role of the time-traveling, dry and witty companion to Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool.
To get the role of Cable, Brolin beat out several viable choices which fans had been excited about ahead of the surprise casting being announced on a Friday back in April. Here is a list of the other contenders who were said to be close to landing the role of Cable in the Deadpool sequel...
They don't make actors much more famous or talented than Brad Pitt.
Pitt, an actor who has historically stayed clear of franchise films, being best known for titles such as Fight Club, World War Z, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Inglorious Basterds, was said to have nearly locked in the role of Cable ahead of the official announcement.
"We had a great meeting with Brad, he was incredibly interested in the property," Deadpool 2 director David Leitch told ComicBook.com. "Things didn't work out schedule-wise. He's a fan, and we love him, and I think he would've made an amazing Cable."
Stranger Things' breakout star David Harbour had screen tests with Ryan Reynolds when in contention for the role of Cable, being called "one of the actors under consideration for the role," as recently as March.
The actor will be appearing in the second season of Stranger Things on Netflix but also managed to nab himself a major comic book movie role after missing out on the Cable casting. Harbour will be playing Hellboy in the rebooted franchise.
"[Hellboy] is very rich," Harbour explained. "I think the films did a certain thing, the comics do a certain thing. Hellboy is kind of a neurotic, messed up individual who’s destined for a horrible fate. He’s destined to become the beast of the apocalypse. Whenever he shows up and does the right thing, people throw beers at him and show up with pitchforks and he still manages to do the right thing. I think it’s funny and it’s sweet and it’s weird and hopefully I can bring that to it as well."
While there is no reason to believe Stephen Lang was ever actually in consideration for the role of Cable, the actor campaigned hard across social media in an effort to land the role.
Lang frequently posted photos on social media of his workout routine or fan-art featuring himself as Cable, seeking the attention of 20th Century Fox or director David Leitch, but never managed to get it.
Lang's best known role recently came in Don't Breathe, where he played a blind man defending his home against a trio of young invaders. His best known gig, however, came in the form of James Cameron's Avatar, in which he starred as Colonel Miles Quaritch.
Like Lang, Russell Crowe campaigned for the role of Cable across social media.
Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld sent a tweet to Les Miserables and Man of Steel star Russell Crowe and said "you should read for #Cable in Deadpool and X-Force. Just sayin..." That prompted a quick response from Crowe, who said: "I should read for it?"
I should read for it? https://t.co/kLONW0gBGI— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) February 24, 2017
Note to self, don't caffeine tweet @russellcrowe before nodding off to sleep.— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) February 24, 2017
Those tweets were the end of it, for the most part, with the exception of Crowe sharing an image from designer BossLogic of himself in the part. The image can be seen above.
The Lord of the Rings' Aragorn actor Viggo Mortensen was in consideration for the role late in the game.
The actor's potential casting was kept quiet as the A History of Violence, The Rod, and Captain Fantastic actor cruised his way through consideration for being Cable in Deadpool 2. Ultimately, Mortensen, like the rest of the names on this list, would not go on to play the part. Sources did confirm to ComicBook.com, however, Mortensen being a contender for the role, just before Brolin's casting came out.
Man of Steel's Zod actor Michael Shannon was a long time frontrunner for the role of Cable. Late in the game, however, the actor dropped out of talks.
It was around the time when Harbour was announced as a contender for the part when Shannon was revealed to be out for the role.
Shannon is best known for his roles in Nocturnal Animals, Take Shelter, and Midnight Special. After Man of Steel, the actor appeared briefly in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, with little expectation for his role to be reprised in future DC Extended Universe films.
Social media detectives started getting chatty about Pierce Brosnan's possible casting right around the time Logan was getting ready to hit theaters.
Brosnan posed for a picture with Ryan Reynolds and Jackman, prompting speculation that all three actors were now involved with 20th Century Fox's X-Men films. As it turns out, they were working together on something unrelated to any 20th Century Fox films.
Brosnan, an actor best known for his work as James Bond in Goldeneye and other 007 films, officially confirmed that he was never in the running for the role.
Prior to exiting Deadpool 2, director Tim Miller was rooting for Kyle Chandler's casting as Cable in the sequel.
Chandler's acting ability drew Miller to him, however, the studio and/or executive producer Ryan Reynolds had something else in mind for their sure-to-be blockbuster film. The actor had shown his chops across several films, including The Wolf of Wall Street, Zero Dark Thirty, and Manchester by the Sea. Still, he is best known for his gig as Coach Eric Taylor on NBC's Friday Night Lights.
Liam Neeson was name-dropped in Deadpool's post-credits scene, giving him an ironic advantage when it came to casting the role in a fourth-wall shattering film.
Neeson's casting, however, would never come to be, despite the studio making a run after the accomplished actor for the part.
Neeson become a pop culture icon when the Taken films became a hit in 2008, launching a trilogy of the actor nailing unforgettable action sequences, but he remains best known for his role as Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List.
Deadpool 2 would not have been Neeson's first comic book role, however. The actor played Ra's al Ghul in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy.
Bonus! Kiera Knightley almost played Cable!
Well, not really, but Deadpool did joke about Knightley earning the part as her muscular physique lent itself to such a role. Of course, this was all part of the joke and Knightley's frame was not one which would ever portray Cable.
For now, Knightley will stick to small appearances in Pirates of the Caribbean sequels and her upcoming role as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.