X-Force 101: Everything You Need To Know About This Classic Team

In the Deadpool 2 trailers, the X-Force team is center-stage. However, many people without comic book backgrounds may be scratching their heads and wondering, "Who are the X-Force? Why aren't they just called the X-Men? What the hell is a Shatterstar?"

Well, no worries .I am here to help answer all of those questions and more.

Who Are the X-Force?

X-Force was created in 1991 by artist/writer Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza in New Mutants #100. The team was initially formed from the New Mutants, a young team of X-Men who would leave Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters to start their own group.

They soon rebranded as X-Force when Cable became the leader of the team. X-Force has a different approach to fighting enemies than the X-Men, with a violent and often militant approach to taking down the bad guys. Rob Liefeld plotted and drew the team for their first year before leaving to form Image Comics, while Fabian Nicieza wrote the team for over 40 issues. The original line-up was composed of many New Mutants along with some new faces: Cable, Shatterstar, Domino, Cannonball, Warpath, Boom-Boom, Feral, Rictor, Siryn, and sometimes Sunspot. This lineup often fluctuated in the early days, but these are the core members of the team you should know about.

After Nicieza left the comic, other writers took the title in a different direction, including John Francis Moore, who wrote the team as a more carefree group trying to find themselves away from the watchful eyes of the X-Men and Cable. In the late '90s and early '00s, X-Force went through many changes. At one point, the team moved to San Francisco.

Over the years, the team has been seen as a group of mercenaries, criminals, and even enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Who Are All These Mutants?

I was introduced to X-Force through the Deadpool comics, and I initially couldn't keep track of all these characters and their awesome powers. However, you don't have to be like me! Here's a brief history of some key superheroes associated with the team, including their powers, relationships, and even –  gasp – their secret identities.

Deadpool 2 Trailer Breakdown - Josh Brolin as CableCable (AKA Nathan Summers)

Nathan Summers was born to Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor, AKA Jean Grey's evil clone, because comics. When he is a baby, Apocalypse infects him with a Techno-Organic Virus that threatens to replace all the organic matter in his body and turn him into a cyborg. To save him, a mysterious woman and opponent of Apocalypse named Sister Askani takes him into the future, where there will most likely be a cure for his illness.

Cable eventually comes back from the future to battle his evil twin brother, because of course he does, and fights alongside the New Mutants. He sees their potential to help him fight against Stryfe, and he becomes their leader and forms the X-Force. Because Cable knows what the future already holds, his focus is building a better one.

Cable was born with telepathic and telekinetic powers. When he first appeared, both of these abilities were hampered. Anytime he would use them it would cause his Techno-Organic Virus to spread, making him reserve the use of these powers. It's later revealed that the mutant abilities he inherited from his mother had faded into nothing due to lack of use.

Domino (AKA Neena Thurman)

Okay, so the first Domino that appeared in the original X-Force was a shape-shifting mutant named Copycat. She assumed Domino's form and role in the team. But the real Domino finally appeared in March 1992 in X-Force Vol. 1 #8 via a flashback story.

The real Domino is the result of a Weapon-X-style program (the top-secret experiment that created Wolverine) that focused on making the perfect weapon. Domino, being the last survivor, was seen as a failed experiment due to her "Luck" power, which was viewed as a dismal result considering the project's goals. Her mother broke her out of the facility and took her to a church in Chicago. Domino eventually left the church life and became a mercenary, and later founded the mercenary group Six Pack, which lead her to Cable. She joined X-Force as Cable's second-in-command once Copycat was outed.

Domino has the power of "Good Luck," but what does that mean? She's able to telekinetically initiate acts that affect probability in her favor by making it improbable or impossible for certain things to happen while in her line of sight, giving her "good luck" and her enemies "bad luck." This power is completely handled within her subconscious, and is constantly radiating from her body. But in order for the power to take effect, Domino must be involved in a situation in which she can affect the action taking place. Due to her probability based power, her reflexes and agility are superhuman to facilitate her "Good Luck."

Boom-Boom (AKA Meltdown, AKA Tabitha Smith)

Not only does she have one of my favorite superhero names, but Boom-Boom has some dope powers! But let's start from the beginning.

Tabitha was a member of the New Mutants as a guest star at first, but then later went on to join the team. During her time with the X-Force, Boom-Boom and Cannonball formed a relationship. Although Boom-Boom isn't sure about X-Force's methods of justice, she sticks it out with the team. Also, for a short time calls herself Boomer.

Boom-Boom's powers are pretty...explosive. She can create small orbs of pure plasma, which she calls her "time bombs." These bombs explode with a sizeable concussive force, and Boom-Boom can control the timing of the explosions they create. She can also produce marble-sized energy bombs, is proficient in hand-to-hand combat, and can mentally muffle the sounds of the explosions she creates.

X-Force in Deadpool 2 TrailerShatterstar (AKA Gaveedra-Seven...or maybe Benjamin Russell or maybe neither...it's messy)

So Shatterstar is an alien from the future whose home is called Mojoworld, which is ruled by an otherworldly tyrant named, you guessed right, Mojo. Yep, all of that is a thing.

Shatterstar's powers are overall superhuman physical and mental strength along with super senses, speed, reflexes, agility, flexibility, stamina, and intelligence. He also can create powerful vibrations that he channels through his swords.

Shatterstar was initially introduced by Rob Liefeld as asexual, but Peter David – the writer of the character during a stint in X-Factor – created a bisexual subtext to Shatterstar, who became attracted to his best friend, Rictor. Liefeld has gone on record to say he disliked this change to the character's sexuality, but David has backed up the bisexual claims stating that Shatterstar is, in fact, bisexual and polyamorous.

Siryn (AKA Theresa Cassidy)

Siryn is the daughter of Banshee, an Irish mutant and member of the X-Men. Like her father, she possesses the ability to release a sonic scream capable of decimating her opponent. She can also use the vibrations from her screams to fly.

Siryn becomes a core member of X-Force and was even appointed field leader. She began to develop feelings for Deadpool, though her father warns her that Wade is a complete madman. The feelings between Deadpool and Siryn are mutual; she also becomes Deadpool's voice of reason and morality, trying to keep him on the side of good. Eventually, Siryn becomes overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being Deadpool's girlfriend and juggling her responsibilities to the X-Force, eventually breaking things off with Deadpool.

X-Force in Deadpool 2 TrailerRictor (AKA Julio Richter)

Rictor was an addition to the New Mutants after initially appearing in X-Factor, joining the team of young trainees along with Boom-Boom later in the series. Rictor's mutant powers create and control seismic energy, generating an earthquake-like effect. He can also cause objects to shatter or crumble.

He forms a close friendship with Shatterstar, which brings him back to the X-Force after he leaves the group due to a personal tragedy. Rictor is bisexual, having romances in his post-X-Force years with Boom-Boom, and Wolfsbane (AKA Rahne Sinclair).

Deadpool 2 Trailer Breakdown - Terry Crews as BedlamBedlam (AKA Jesse Aaronson)

Bedlam was orphaned at the young age of five after his parents died in a car crash. He and his brother Christopher were separated and sent to foster homes. Jesse was moved around the system due to his emotional instability, eventually placed in a psychiatric hospital when he was 13.

Jesse was experimented on and gaslit into believing his brother was a figment of his imagination. He was eventually rescued and taken to Professor Xavier through M.U.S.E. (Mutant Underground Support Engine). At 19, Bedlam left M.U.S.E to track down his brother. For that mission, he enlisted spy and X-Force member Domino to help him track Christopher down, and they found him. But Bedlam failed to catch his brother, and after that encounter, he was invited to join X-Force.

Bedlam's mutant power allows him to sense and perceive energy around him, enabling him to create a bio-electromagnetic field that can destroy mechanical and electrical systems. He's also able to affect the neurochemical responses in the brain to cause pain, sleep, or confusion. He's basically a walking talking EMP that can take out whole city blocks with his powers. He's also incredibly skilled in combat.

What Does Deadpool Have to Do With Any of This? 

The Deadpool we know wasn't originally a member of X-Force and he only made sporadic appearances over the first 100 issues of the series. But he joined a later iteration of X-Force in 2010 with Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena, a sort-of black ops branch of the X-Men.

However, Deadpool – also created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza – first appeared in The New Mutants #98 as a supervillain who fought against the young team. His villainy continued during the team's transition into the X-Force.

However, the super mutant assassin with a healing factor officially became the Merc with a Mouth that we know and love when Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness launched an influential run of Deadpool in 1997. They established the comedy, fourth wall breaking, and supporting characters like Weasel and Blind Al.

In 2004, Deadpool partnered up with his former foe in the series Cable & Deadpool written by Fabian Nicieza. This 50 issue series has buddy cop written all over it, with Cable and Deadpool teaming up on various missions. With tons of hijinks and opposites attract humor, it's clear why they decided to bring Cable into the new film. He makes a perfect serious foil to Deadpool's generally psychopathic personality.

Wait, What About the Guy With the Yellow Mask?

The other member of the cinematic X-Force team with ties to the comics is Zeitgeist, a member of a completely different take on X-Force that began in 2001 with issue #116. This version of the team followed fame-hungry mutants who were filmed by a reality TV crew. Later known as X-Statix, this iteration of X-Force was highly volatile, and Zeitgeist – a mutant who puked up acidic vomit – died in his very first appearance. That certainly doesn't bode well for Zeitgeist in the movie!

What Does this Mean for the X-Force on the Big Screen?

There have been stories circulating for years about the X-Force team getting their own spin-off and the latest reports have this film possibly shooting this year. But what does that mean for the characters in the Deadpool movies? Cable could take the reins as the new leader and replace Deadpool, who has his own franchise to helm. Meanwhile, X-Force could keep the funny and loose tone from the Deadpool 2 while adding some of their own badass flare from the comics, maybe having the plot of the film focus on an X-Men-level threat while maintaining that Deadpool sense of humor.

In any case, we'll be seeing the X-Force on the big screen a lot in the coming years, and I can't wait to see how they transform the team.