Cable, Domino and the X-Force weren’t the only new additions to the Deadpool corner of the live action superhero universe in Deadpool 2. We also saw the unexpected live action return of the Juggernaut, the character who is part supervillain, part anti-hero, all vintage meme. Surprise!
It’s been twelve years since we saw Cain Marko in the flesh in the 2006 movie X-Men: The Last Stand, and things have changed pretty considerably since then. For one, Deadpool 2‘s Juggernaut isn’t actually flesh at all, but a 100% CGI generated creature who, like the monster in the original Frankenstein movie, isn’t credited as a mocap or voice actor and only as “himself.” For another, we actually get some scraps of his backstory–it’s brief and very much in passing, but, hey, we’ll take what we can get here. It’s been a really long time.
With that in mind, now’s as good a moment as any to take a look back at just who and what the Juggernaut is, where he fits into the crazy, complicated X-Men timeline, and what his presence could mean for future Deadpool movies.
First things first: Cain isn’t technically a mutant, despite making his home in the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe. He’s a human with superpowers, but they’re not genetic. Instead, he gets his abilities from a demon named Cyttorak. No, really, it’s a whole thing.
Cain found a temple to Cyttorak and a cursed ruby inside which allowed him to become the avatar of Cyttorak and a “human juggernaut.” If you’re a big Doctor Strange fan, that name might sound familiar–the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak are a tool Strange has used pretty frequently in the past (we even got to see them in action in Infinity War). But for Cain, the “human juggernaut” part of the deal is what’s really important. Essentially, his powers are exactly what they say on the tin: He’s totally unstoppable–super strong, super durable, super fast, the works.
It’s actually pretty unlikely that the Cyttorak element is going to come into play here in the Deadpool movieverse–after all, it certainly didn’t back in The Last Stand, and let’s be honest, when people think of the Juggernaut, “demonic avatar” isn’t exactly the first thing that pops into the casual fan’s mind. On top of that, he’s introduced as being a prisoner in a mutant detention facility, which likely means the Deadpool universe isn’t all that interested in differentiating between demon powers and those bestowed by genetics. However, we did get some confirmation onscreen of another critical part of Cain’s history in this version: He’s the step-brother of Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X.
As far as comic book odd couples are concerned, Juggernaut and Professor X are definitely up there. Stand them next to each other and there’s basically no way you’d ever guess they have anything to do with one another. But the truth is, Cain’s spiral into villainy is actually deeply wound up in his childhood jealousy of Charles. When his father, Kurt, married Xavier’s mother, Sharon, Kurt decided to favor Charles, sparking up a lifelong resentment. Cain grew up ruthlessly bullying Charles to make up for it, which in turn just made Kurt’s favoritism worse. You get the idea. He’s got some pretty major daddy issues over the whole thing.
The reason Cain’s costume includes his iconic (let’s be honest, extremely goofy looking) domed helmet is to prevent Charles specifically from reading his mind–though it has the added benefit of keeping every other psychic out as well. We know this is still canon in the Deadpool/X-Men film universe because Cain directly acknowledges it–so, sure, we may never actually see Xavier on screen with Wade in a way that isn’t a punchline, but that part of the shared universe is anything but stagnant.
Of course, the future of the Juggernaut in film may or may not continue much past this movie. The final battle between Cain and Colossus seemed pretty decisive, all things considered–but it’s not like strict continuity and the rules governing things like life and death have ever been that big of a deal to Wade Wilson, so maybe it’s best not to count The Juggernaut out just yet.