Will Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine die in X-Men: Apocalypse?

Wolverine 01Warning: The following article contains spoilers for the X-Men film franchise as well as the Death of Wolverine comic.

To say that the timeline of Fox’s X-Men film franchise is confusing is a bit of an understatement. With the non-canon X-Men Origins: Wolverine featuring several characters who would later re-appear in completely different contexts and X-Men: Days of Future Past essentially bidding the story of the original trilogy farewell, it’s hard to be sure what, how, and when things happened in the universe. Mystique was alive in the original trilogy, dead since the 70’s in Days of Future Past, and then alive again thanks to time travel. Wolverine’s, memories about Jean Grey would indicate that the pre-time travel timeline was supposed to be the original film trilogy, but it wasn’t. In the final scene of Days of Future Past, Rogue still has her streak of white hair that she originally got courtesy of Magneto and Jean Grey and Scott Summers/Cyclops are still alive, indicating that the Phoenix saga never happened. It’s feasible to suggest that because Charles Xavier read Logan’s mind during the events of Days of Future Past that he could have predicted and prevented the deaths of Scott and Jean, but that does little to explain why he wouldn’t prevent an extremely painful experience for Rogue. The final moments of Days of Future Past leaves a lot of unanswered questions, to say the least.

However, one of the biggest unanswered questions is actually about the film’s protagonist, Logan. In the original films, Logan was kidnapped by Colonel William Stryker and experimented on which resulted in his skeleton being infused with adamantium, an unbreakable metal. Although Logan appears to be taken by Stryker in the 70’s at the end of Days of Future Past, a quick flash of the eyes reveals that this is actually Mystique who is impersonating the Colonel. Therefore, whether or not Wolverine was ever Stryker’s lab-rat and ever received the adamantium is still uncertain; we never see his claws when he wakes up in the future to see whether they are metal or bone. And as the events of X-Men: Apocalypse draw nearer, this question will grow increasingly important.

Writer/producer of X-Men: Apocalypse Simon Kinberg is promising that the events of the film will change the history of the X-Men cinematic universe forever, much like Days of Future Past did. While those of us that are confused enough in the wake of Days of Future Past may be rolling our eyes a little at the idea of things getting even more convoluted, it does mean that, no matter what we’ve seen from the past seven films, nothing is set in stone. Apocalypse is currently rumored to be set predominantly in 1983, but with the promise to change the universe again, this means that just because we’ve seen a character alive and well in a year beyond the 80’s doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. With an ever-growing cast that’s currently set to include Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) as Jean Grey, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, Olivia Munn (HBO’s “The Newsroom”) as Betsy Braddock/Psylocke, and Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee, among others, this means that nobody is safe. Not even franchise-darling Wolverine.

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Although Wolverine possesses an impeccable regenerative ability that has allowed him to survive brutal surgery, atomic bombs, and a century of war, it’s not the only thing keeping him alive. Because of the adamantium fused to his skeleton, it’s impossible to decapitate Wolverine or sever any of his limbs; his body will always remain intact. Though he seemed to fair just fine in the decades he lived without it, how invulnerable he is with a skeleton made only of bone hasn’t been strongly established. It’s unclear the extent to which Wolverine’s healing powers work; he doesn’t share Deadpool’s cancerous appearance and is therefore unlikely to be quite as good at surviving seemingly absolutely anything like Wade Wilson can. There’s a good chance that if you were to sever Logan’s head from his body, he wouldn’t get back up again. This means that in the current X-Men cinematic universe timeline, where by 1983 Wolverine presumably hasn’t been taken hostage by William Stryker and received the adamantium, Logan is vulnerable. It may be possible to kill him, and what bigger way could X-Men: Apocalypse change the universe than killing off one of its most beloved characters?

The sad truth is that the Wolverine audiences have come to adore won’t be able to stay around forever. Actor Hugh Jackman recently announced on his Instagram that The Wolverine 2 will be the last time he plays Wolverine. This means that Fox will eventually be forced to make a decision between re-casting or killing off the beloved character, and since audiences are rather attached to Jackman’s performance as Logan it is my belief that they are more likely to go with the latter option.

Admittedly, the biggest curve-ball being thrown at the theory that Wolverine’s days are numbered are around yet another Wolverine movie to be released March 3rd, 2017. However, since Fox has proven that they are more than happy to make Wolverine films, in particular prequels, future plans for more Logan doesn’t necessarily mean he’s safe from death’s grip in Apocalypse. Then again, this is a film universe based on comic books where nobody ever really dies. I remain unconvinced by the Death of Wolverine comic, which left the titular character encased in adamantium; just like Spider-Man before him and Superman before that, I’m certain he’ll be back with his fastball special sailing across the inked page before too long — at the very least once the Marvel comics universe reboots this summer.

Ultimately, with a name like Apocalypse, a promise to change the universe as we know it, and an aging actor that audiences have come to love, Wolverine’s death may just come to the silver screen on May 27th, 2016. Then again, even if he does “die,” who knows if it will be permanent? Fans will have to keep a close eye on details about X-Men: Apocalypse, which was set to start filming in Montreal this month.

Do you think Wolverine’s days may be numbered? Will we see the return of the adamantium in Apocalypse? Or am I reading into all this way too much and Fox will work Hugh Jackman until he breaks? Let us know in the comments!

X-Men: Apocalypse is out in theaters on May 27, 2016.

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Genevieve LeBlanc
Genevieve LeBlanc 126 posts

Genevieve LeBlanc is a contributing writer for NerdReactor.com and lives in snowy Canada.