'Deadpool 2’ leaves us with a perplexing question about where it fits into the 'X-Men' timeline, but it may not even matter


Warning: There are spoilers ahead for "Deadpool 2."
" Deadpool 2 " is a worthy followup to 2016's R-rated hit. But by the film's end, you'll be left with at least one big question: When exactly in the "X-Men" universe does this movie take place? 
The movie shows Cable (Josh Brolin) travel back in time from a troubled future to prevent history from taking a dark turn. When he arrives, he instantly asks what year he's in but he never receives an answer.
For the rest of the movie, you're left wondering where "Deadpool 2" fits into the "X-Men" narrative. 
So when does "Deadpool 2" take place?

We'll walk through the possibilities. But honestly, it probably doesn't even matter  when "Deadpool 2," or any "Deadpool" movie for that case, takes place. We'll explain. 
The sequel takes place in the past.

There's a moment in "Deadpool 2" where the "X-Men" mutants Beast, Charles Xavier, and Quicksilver (among others) appear in their younger forms. The last time we saw all of them was in "X-Men: Apocalypse," which takes place in 1983. 
So is Deadpool around in the '80s? No. 
Why it can't possibly take place in the past: Deadpool is up-to-date on pop culture references. 

Deadpool makes numerous references to current superhero movies, including Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe and "Avengers: Infinity War." We know he's aware of the older versions of the "X-Men." In both movies, Deadpool references Sir Patrick Stewart's take on Professor X. He's played the role since 2000's "X-Men" and recently reprised the role in 2017's "Logan."
OK, so the sequel takes place in present time.
Nope. 
When "Deadpool 2" starts out, it seems pretty obvious the movie takes place after the events of 2017's "Logan." Deadpool is aware of Wolverine's death at the end of the movie. It's something he's none too pleased over since Deadpool seems to have a pretty huge Hugh Jackman/Wolverine crush.
That's the present, right? 
No.

"Logan" takes place slightly in the future in the year 2024 when a bunch of mutants have been killed off and barely any of them exist anymore. 
So Deadpool takes place in the future? 
No. That's not quite right either.
Deadpool clearly doesn't exist in that version of the future because there are still a bunch of mutants around. There are enough for Deadpool to rally together his own version of the X-Force, for others to be imprisoned, and for younger ones to be locked up at the Essex House seen in the movie.

He also can't exist in a timeline where both the younger X-Men of the '80s and the extermination of most of them exist.
So what does that mean? 
It doesn't matter when "Deadpool 2" takes place and that's likely why a year is never mentioned in the movie.

Deadpool is a fourth wall-breaking character who kind of exists outside of the constraints of the "X-Men" and Marvel universe. 
His appeal is that he's aware he's a comic-book character and has all of the knowledge about every single comic and piece of pop culture in existence. It's why he's able to directly reference "John Wick" and "Terminator" in "Deadpool 2." 
The character can come and go as he pleases. There's an entire comic series where Deadpool goes on a murderous spree killing off famous characters in literary history .

It wouldn't be weird if we saw Deadpool have a cameo in a movie with the younger "X-Men" crew while also appearing in an "X-Men" movie featuring the likes of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen because the character himself isn't really bound by any rules. 
So when does "Deadpool 2" take place? Don't worry about it.
Maybe the planned "X-Force" movie will be put somewhere into the larger "X-Men" timeline, but it's not a big deal as far as Wade Wilson is concerned.
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