By Adia Miller
***Spoilers for Fox’s “Logan,” Mark Miller’s “Old Man Logan,” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness”***
Superhero movies have been dominating box offices and streaming services for almost two decades now. Gone are the ages where superheroes were just a subgenre of action movies. Now they exist in their own right with comic companies DC and Marvel having a steady release of movies since establishing a central universe.
While the MCU before had been just limited to Avengers, Guardians, and a few spin offs, in 2019 Disney gained the rights to some of the most famous characters in comic history with the purchase of 20th Century Fox. From the crime-fighting quartet the Fantastic Four to legendary villains Doctor Doom and Galactus, the opportunity for more superhero team ups has finally come after years of fans pleading. But more exciting than anything else may just be the fact that the X-Men are finally allowed to join the MCU.
With the 90’s cartoon showcasing some of the best characters Marvel has to offer, to the regular retcon of the team, the X-Men are known by every superhero lover worth their salt. In 2000, Fox had the first really successful building of a superhero movie franchise with the release of the X-Men movie. Starring Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine, it also featured beloved mutants such as Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian Mckellen), Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Cyclops (James Marsden), Storm (Halle Berry), and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).
The most famous X-Men characters, portrayed by a variety of classically trained, comedic, and theater actors plus a solid script and special effects quite well done for its time came to equal one of the greatest movies the superhero genre has to offer. But perhaps the aspect fans were most appreciative of was the portrayal of the brutish, snarling, deadly Wolverine, played by Jackman.
Having just come off a run of a Oklahoma revival where he played Curly and professional roots that traced back to Aussie soap operas, no one could have predicted the perfection Jackman would bring to the role. Now he’s paired along with the likes of Harrison Ford, Robert Downey Jr., and Cary Elwes as an actor who was seemingly born to portray a specific character.
Appearing in a total of nine X-Men films, many of which he spearheaded, Jackman sadly hung up his adamantium claws after the release of 2017’s Logan, which loosely followed the plot of the “Old Man Logan” comics by Mark Miller. This included a heart-wrenching scene where The Wolverine passes away, and while deaths are rarely ever the end in universes so diverse and neverending as comics, it did act as the accepted finale to Logan Howell’s run, and similarly acted as the 2017 movie’s conclusion.
A large blow was felt by the X-Men fandom when two characters who had been there since the very start of this cinematic journey left, as Stewart also announced that he had retired from his role as X-Men founder Charles Xavier. Marvel surprised fans five years later in 2022 with a one-off appearance of the Professor in 2022’s Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, but still no indication was ever given that Jackman was coming back onto our screens as the legendary hero.
On September 27, a Twitter post revealed: The Wolverine’s story is not done. As a matter of fact, he’s now paired with one of the best comic-to-screen superheroes yet, Ryan Reynolds fourth wall breaking merc-with-a-mouth Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool. (Reynolds and Jackman have kept a close friendship composed of sarcastic quips and pranks they happily publicize in a fake “frenemy” manner.)
Reynolds and Jackman starred together in Wolverine’s first origin film, 2009’s X-Men Origins Wolverine, though the film was a huge disappointment critics and fans alike. While the men played their parts to perfection, a lackluster plot and the sewing shut of Marvel’s most sarcastic character’s mouth was not well received.
With the film failing, a Deadpool movie starring Reynolds landed on the back burner until leaked footage from an unknown source led to Marvel fans forcing Fox’s hand into creating what would end up being the highest-grossing R-rated film ever and followed up with an equally-loved sequel.
Marvel lovers explored the possibility of a Wolverine/Deadpool team up reminiscent of the comics, which basically consisted of the gruff Logan handling everything with annoyance while the regenerative degenerate endlessly badgers him until they form an unlikely and occasionally unwanted though incredibly entertaining friendship.
Wolverine and Deadpool, both of whom are X-Men or X-Men adjacent, are coming onto our screens within a canon that consists of almost every other hot-shot Marvel character, portrayed by their original actor. Movie and comic fans alike now eagerly await the movie’s release, sharing theories and showering Marvel in praise for finally bringing these two powerhouse characters together on screen for what will seemingly be one of their most anticipated films yet.
The next Deadpool movie is currently scheduled to come out November 8, 2024 as part of the MCU’s Phase Six.