Michael Shannon Was Almost In A Deadpool Movie

In one of the more interesting "what if" scenarios in cinema, it turns out Michael Shannon was initially cast to play a key Deadpool role.

By Mark McKee | Published

michael shannon

Casting what-ifs are one of those cinematic thought exercises that can keep fans debating and secretly wishing to see for hours. There is the legendary casting of Nicolas Cage as Superman in the failed Tim Burton Superman Lives project. Before Keanu Reeves landed the role, Tom Cruise almost donned the black leather as Neo in The Matrix. And virtually every action actor except Bruce Willis was offered the role of John McClane in Die Hard. Every once in a while, fans are given a little behind-the-scenes information that leads us to fantasize about what could have been. Recently, the producer of a significant franchise revealed a role that almost went to Man of Steel actor Michael Shannon. 

IndieWire reported Michael Shannon and Bullet Train director David Leitch attempted to work together prior to the recent Brad Pitt movie. Leitch cast Shannon as the main villain in Bullet Train as a way to work with the actor since Josh Brolin replaced him as Cable in Deadpool. Producer Kelly McCormack told IndieWire that Michael Shannon was actually cast as the mutant from the future, but a last-minute scheduling conflict meant the role had to be recast, and Josh Brolin was waiting with muscle-bound open arms. 

It is hard to imagine anyone other than Josh Brolin portraying the sometimes friend, sometimes foe of Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). His portrayal was one of the reasons the film was as successful as its predecessor. While Brolin’s casting was initially celebrated, there were some groans as he already played a big bad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Now that Deadpool has been acquired by and is a part of the MCU, questions arise regarding how they will handle the double-casting or if Brolin will return in Deadpool 3. With the Multiverse now a thing in the MCU, Michael Shannon could theoretically give us a glimpse at what we missed as fans. 

Michael Shannon isn’t a stranger to villainous roles. His career is filled with nuanced performances that find the line between good and evil and straddle it. He is well known by comic book film fans for his turn as the former protector of Krypton and the main antagonist in Henry Cavill’s first run as Superman in Man of Steel. There is little to no question that Shannon could have nailed the nuances of Cable had he gotten his opportunity to portray him. However, the question is whether or not he would have been able to bulk up to give fans the same muscle-bound version Josh Brolin did.

You can see Michael Shannon in the theaters going full bad as a man looking for revenge on Brad Pitt in Bullet Train. He is one of many cameos, including Channing Tatum, Sandra Bullock, and Ryan Reynolds. While Shannon’s part is a little more than a cameo, being the main villain, his part was mostly revealed at the end. It will be interesting to see if Leitch will ever get his Shannon version of Cable now that they have a multiverse to play with.