WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER?1 of 7All right. We admit it.
We were wrong about the title of the third Wolverine solo film. We called it for “The Death of Wolverine,” but this week director James Mangold revealed that it will simply be titled Logan.
That said, we’re doubling down on our predictions about the movie’s plot – Logan’s gonna die. If you aren’t convinced, we’ve compiled evidence and educated speculation about why Wolverine not just won’t, but can’t survive Logan.
As for what comes after, well, we’ve got a theory about that too…
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM2 of 7Wolverine is such an important, ubiquitous presence in the X-Men film franchise that he can’t simply retire. As long as Logan’s out there somewhere – even powerless – moviegoers (and likely the X-Men themselves) will be expecting him to turn up anyway. Just look at X-Men: Apocalypse. You just can’t keep a good Weapon X down.
To that end, 20th Century Fox has two options – they can re-cast, allowing him to stick around in perpetuity, or they can kill him off, closing the book on Logan (as much as a movie based on comic books can). We’ll talk more about why that first option isn’t really on the table, but for now, we should explain why the latter makes sense.
More than any other reason Fox won’t simply recast is that Hugh Jackman and Logan are inextricably tied. This isn’t a Batman situation where they’ve had new actors take the role every few movies. Jackman has played Wolverine eight times – that’s in every single X-Men movie, including solo spin-offs - and his likeness was even used for a sly cameo in Deadpool.
So to recast would likely be seen as sacrilege to fans, even moreso than recasting younger versions of the other X-Men – something Fox can’t afford for their top-billed star.
Fortunately, there’s a way out of that, too…
HUGH JACKMAN IS IRREPLACEABLE3 of 7Building on what we just established, like Wolverine, Hugh Jackman is the best there is at what he does. Jackman has been the face of the X-Men franchise (in which many characters have two or more faces) – so much so that he has appeared in every main X-Men film, even if only for a brief cameo. His very presence, as in X-Men: First Class, constitutes a moment of fan service that people seem to clamor for.
Jackman’s Wolverine is iconic in the way that Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man or Tom Hiddleston’s Loki have become for Marvel Studios - and for 20th Century Fox, perhaps more valuable to their franchise than RDJ or Hiddleston are to Marvel's. Quite simply, he’s just too synonymous with the role to be James Bond'ed or Darrin Stephens'ed (Google it, youngsters). Fortunately, Fox may have another option to let Jackman gracefully retire while also keeping their claws popped.
Kill him real good.
DEATH... AND REBIRTH4 of 7Stories about death are by nature tragic – but these films are made to entertain, after all. That’s why so many of them end with a bit of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel (remember The Wrath of Khan?) Maybe even a new birth to replace what was lost, or at least a sacrifice made for the greater good.
It’s highly unlikely Fox is going to take Wolverine away without giving something back in return, something that will likely set the stage for the franchise moving forward. And if you can’t replace Jackman, why try? Why not go somewhere completely different? Like his female clone, X-23, who has recently taken the mantle of Wolverine in comic books.
By bringing in a new face for the X-Men franchise – one to whom Jackman might literally pass the torch to onscreen – Fox could give Logan/Jackman a worthy and uplifting end (to save the life and soul of a teenager) while at the same time renewing their Wolverine equity.
And, that little hand on the film's poster art might be the biggest clue of all.
ESSEX CORP.5 of 7X-Men: Apocalypse is now on home video, and Wolverine's extended cameo - and the stinger - only lend more credence to our theory.
In the cameo, Wolverine – in full Barry Windsor-Smith headgear and everything – helps the young X-Men escape a Weapon X facility. The stinger returns to the Weapon X facility, showing an unidentified person filling vials with blood from the Weapon X experiments. As he closes his briefcase, a logo is shown that reads “Essex Corp.”
Longtime X-Men fans will recognize the name “Essex” – it’s the real surname of Mr. Sinister, a notorious villain known for his interest in mutantkind - with the Summers' brothers, but as retconned, Wolverine going back to Weapon X and even before that in Origin II.
Sinister has a propensity to clone others (and himself, on occasion). And of course, in comic books, Logan has a well-known clone...
You guessed it – X-23.
On top of that, X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer and producer Simon Kinberg confirmed that Sinister would be the villain in Logan, though director James Mangold cast doubt on that. But putting the pieces together, if the mad geneticist is the film’s villain, is there any other scheme he could hatch?
And if this is Wolverine’s third and final act, it will almost certainly come full circle back to his Weapon X origins. That’s what final acts do. So genetically splicing together X-23’s origin and Marvel’s Death of Wolverine seems like it could be done pretty seamlessly, with Laura being the only survivor/saved soul thanks to Wolverine’s final sacrifice. Plus Stryker and whoever else is involved this go-around get their final comeuppances and the Weapon X program is put to bed for good, giving Laura a chance at a worthy life.
WOLVERINE MUST LIVE ON6 of 7There’s one thing that isn’t a question. There’s no way Fox wants to give up the Wolverine I.P. entirely. He’s simply too popular and too valuable an asset to let pass into that good night. But they don’t have a lot of options to keep it rolling. As previously mentioned, we’re betting that, rather than trying to give another actor the unenviable task of trying to fill Jackman’s leather jacket, Fox will look to his Marvel Comics replacement for direction. Replacing Logan with his female, teenage clone kills a few mutant birds with one stone.
Not only would it set up another string of Wolverine solo films if Fox so chooses without Jackman's shadow hanging over it, but there’s a whole new generation of X-Men on the way in the form of the New Mutants and X-Force films that Laura/Wolverine would naturally plug into. As we previously argued, if the New Mutants are going to be the future of the franchise, wouldn’t it make sense to give them their own version of the older squad’s most popular character to lead them for the next 15 years?
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