He's certainly not Marvel's best-known hero. In fact, he's not much of a hero at all. Still, with the release of Deadpool next year after 12 years in production, hopes are high for this foul-mouthed franchise. Read on for a little backstory to it all...

If you’ve been aware of a Deadpool movie for a little while now, that’s hardly surprising. New Line Cinema first started exploring the concept way back in 2004, and in that period the project has swapped studios, exchanged cast members, rewritten scripts and been through all manner of creative disputes and delays. However, with filming now fully wrapped and a release date set for February 2016, it seems Deadpool is finally coming to a cinema screen near you.

Following last week’s unveiling of the first official trailer, we thought it was a good time to bring you up to speed on the bizarre and entertaining world that Deadpool inhabits, along with the backstory to each of the characters involved. That way you'll know exactly what to expect when the swords and swearwords start flying next year...

Ryan Reynolds is Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool

Having first appeared in The New Mutants #98 from February of 1991, Deadpool was originally introduced as a villain fighting against the team of young mutants, although over time he evolved into an antihero of sorts after various other appearances in Marvel titles.

Dubbed the “Merc With a Mouth” (on account of his sarcasm, liberal use of profanity and tendency to break the fourth wall by speaking directly to the audience), Deadpool is one of Marvel’s most unorthodox properties. Oftentimes goofy and unprofessional, the character supposedly began life as a regular mercenary named Wade Wilson who was given superhuman powers of healing by the shady Weapon X project. However, as is typical of Deadpool, nothing is quite as it seems and his backstory has been heavily contested on a number of occasions through the years. While the movie favors the traditional backstory, don’t be surprised if this comes into question at some stage in the future…

While Deadpool’s primary ability is his accelerated healing process, he’s also attributed with enhanced strength and agility, too. Often depicted as slightly unstable or mentally unbalanced, the reader is never entirely sure just what he’ll do next. Equipped with two large katana swords, which he wields with great dexterity and skill, Deadpool also makes use of a wide arsenal of firearms to dispatch his foes - each kill accompanied by a fresh joke or one-liner. In various instances Deadpool is also shown to have some kind of teleportation device, although whether this will make it to the big screen remains to be seen.

What you can be sure of is that the film will contain bodies. Lots of them. (He's not called "Deadpool" for nothing.)

Morena Baccarin is Vanessa Carlysle AKA Copycat

The mutant known as Copycat first appeared as herself in the pages of X-Force #19 from February, 1993 (having first appeared as X-Force member Domino a couple of years earlier). As a shapeshifter, Copycat was sent to blow up the headquarters of the mutant team X-Force, although she ended up growing attached to the team and ultimately failed her mission. She has appeared in several X-Men and X-Force stories over the years, and is considered a love interest for Deadpool. Her powers are incredibly advanced and she has been known to shapeshift into animals at times throughout her history.

Gina Carano is Angel Dust

A relatively new addition to the Marvel universe, Angel Dust first appeared in June 2002 in the Marvel series Morlocks - a four-issue limited series focusing on a group of mutants living in the Chicago sewers. Angel Dust has the ability to generate bursts of adrenaline that give her superhuman strength. Initially a runaway from her parents, she eventually reconciles with them at the end of the short series. In the current Marvel Comics universe she is no longer a mutant, having lost her powers due to restorative magic, although it’s more likely the film will feature her with her abilities intact.

T.J. Miller is Weasel

Known as Deadpool’s best friend, Weasel made his first real appearance right at the start in Deadpool #1 from 1993. Weasel is Deadpool’s primary source of information, as well as his weapons broker and provider, although the two have a rather complicated history. Over the years Deadpool has both helped and hindered Weasel, once accidentally traveling back in time and ruining a young Weasel’s chances at a prestigious job with Norman Osborn’s company. Yet, at another point when Weasel is sent to jail, Deadpool kindly Tivo’s all the episodes of his favorite TV shows for him to catch up on! With the casting of T.J. Miller in this role it seems pretty clear that the film will play up the comedic aspects of their friendship.

Leslie Uggams is Blind Al

A cynical, acerbically witty woman with a mysterious past and uncertain (yet undoubtedly advanced) age, Blind Al makes her debut in Deadpool #1 from 1997. While Deadpool is initially hired to kill her, instead he opts to kill everyone around her and save her from death (so kind!). Later she becomes his prisoner, held captive in a place known as The Box, filled with all manner of sharp objects to keep her in check. However, over time the two develop a strange sort of relationship in which they trade pranks and practical jokes, and eventually become close - each one acting as a caretaker figure for the other. While the two certainly have their ups and downs, their bond is nonetheless close, with Blind Al serving as a mother of sorts while Deadpool expresses sporadic guilt over how he has treated her.

Ed Skrein is Ajax

The mercenary Ajax burst onto the scene in the pages of Deadpool #14 from March of 1998. Once a part of the Weapon X project (the infamous testing facility that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton and claws) Ajax was known as the enforcer, tasked with keeping those experimented upon in line. Deadpool was a part of this group.

Modified by Weapon X, Ajax has an extremely high tolerance for pain as well as superhuman speed, strength and agility. Using these abilities he made it his mission to track down the surviving members of the Weapon X project after it was shut down and, in an attempt to get back at Deadpool for the abuse he suffered, Ajax sets out to eliminate them one by one. Once the list is exhausted, he’s coming for Deadpool himself.

Andre Tricoteux is Piotr Rasputin AKA Colossus

One of the best-known X-Men of the past few decades, Colossus was introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1 from 1975. A mutant with the ability to transform his body into organic steel, rendering him near-invulnerable and strong beyond belief, Colossus has been a presence in almost every X-Men team and title since the 1970s. His sister, Illyana, is also a mutant, going by the codename Magik. Both have been at odds with the X-Men over the years, either in villain or antihero roles, before eventually coming back to the fold and fighting for the powers of good.

Colossus has also appeared in the last two X-Men movies, most recently in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Chances are he’ll take on the role of an enemy of sorts in Deadpool, although we’d bet that there’ll be a turnaround in there somewhere…

Brianna Hildebrand is Ellie Phimister AKA Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Appearing first in New X-Men #115 from 2001, Ellie Phimister was a student of the machiavellian telepath Emma Frost. After having dreams and visions of the deaths of thousands of mutants, the illusion became a reality and Ellie died along with countless others in the attack. She was later resurrected, however, as part of the Necrosha storyline, which saw several formerly dead mutants brought back to life to take up arms again.

While her appearances in the X-Men comics have been brief, Ellie possesses a strong telepathic sense as well as the ability to see vividly what will happen in the near future. Granted, her name is a bit of a mouthful, but she looks set to be one of the main features of the new Deadpool movie and will no doubt be an interesting presence on screen.

Deadpool is set for release in cinemas February 2016. Watch the first official trailer here, or read up about next year's other big comic book adaptation in our Suicide Squad backstory roundup

Written by Nick Winstead for Highsnobiety.com

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