Ricky Baker is a long way from New Zealand.
Ahead of Deadpool 2, Julian Dennison’s mystery mutant has sparked all sorts of debate online, as curious fans attempt to figure out the identity of his fire-wielding badass. Pyro and Neal Shaara/Thunderbird III were each floated as potential candidates early on, but it seems Dennison is playing someone else entirely – Russell “Rusty” Collins, otherwise known as Hot Stuff, an X-factor trainee with deep ties to both The New Mutants and the X-Force.
Word comes by way of 20th Century Fox’s Asian Twitter feed (h/t CBM), where a lone Tweet all but confirmed that, yes, Dennison’s mystery mutant and Russell Collins are, in fact, one and the same. So, mystery solved! Mind you, neither the studio nor Ryan Reynolds have verified this at the time of writing, but the latter did sneak into Hugh Jackman’s birthday message in order to belt out a rendition of Annie‘s “Tomorrow.” While donning a full Deadpool suit, no less.
Providing Fox’s stealth reveal holds true, Rusty Collins will be pretty crucial to the actual story of Deadpool 2, given previous trailers have revealed that the time-travelling Cable has taken it upon himself to find (and potentially kill?) the mutant known as Hot Stuff as part of a last-ditch attempt to avert some future extinction event.
Leave it to Wade Wilson, then, to step in and save the day. He also plans to form a “super-duper fucking group” mean enough to rival the Avengers, though considering DP is willing to recruit curious nobodies with precisely zero superpowers (see: Peter), he’s still got a long way to go.
Whatever the case, we imagine Julian Dennison’s involvement in the X-Men franchise will span far beyond Deadpool 2, what with that X-Force team-up movie already incubating in development ahead of its own start in the fall.