Does the MCU Need ‘X-Men’ Character Wolverine?
With the Fox/Disney merger now behind us, questions surrounding the former Fox entities (the X-Men and the Fantastic Four) continue to loom. Who will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe first, and which mutants will be front and center?
Given Logan’s history — and Hugh Jackman’s intimate connection to the character — bringing back Wolverine (with a different actor as the adamantium-clawed antihero) could prove divisive. So, does the MCU need Logan’s Wolverine? What are the pros and cons of introducing the same version of Weapon X into the landscape?
How the MCU could benefit from Wolverine
Wolverine has multiple comic book arcs that went unexplored or underserved while in Fox’s care; thus, bringing back the character could create an opportunity to serve the comic book fandom yearning for new cinematic (yet source familiar) dynamics and stories. For starters, Wolverine teamed up with the Avengers multiple times in the comics, and such stories would surely entertain. Who wouldn’t love to see Wolverine and Hulk go head-to-head, as Mark Ruffalo wishes?
Wolverine also carries an iconic presence. People will come to see the new Wolverine to compare the take to Hugh Jackman’s incarnation; though this may not bode well for the actor, it will bode well (financially) for the franchise. Bringing wolverine into the soiree would evidently sell tickets. And, whoever dares to follow in Jackman’s footsteps will likely be quite a talented youngster.
Wolverine is also connected to various other mutants; thus, he often serves a useful link to multiple characters — Storm, Professor X, Jean Grey, etc. Taking him out of the picture could lead the Marvel filmmakers down a dangerous road — one filled with twists and turns designed to make his absence feel necessary and/or appropriate.
Why leaving Logan on the chopping block may be the best move
The first X-Men movie premiered in 2000 and Hugh Jackman made his final turn as Wolverine in 2017’s Logan. Thus, Wolverine was a prominent cinematic force for over 15 years. Is it not time other characters receive the spotlight?
Leaving Wolverine behind may create more space to explore characters that fox didn’t give much attention to. There are many, many mutants with stories beyond what fans have seen on the screen. How about the three-way conflict between Rogue, Captain Marvel, and Mystique? How about Mystique’s eventual Brotherhood of Mutants? What about more emphasis on Nightcrawler, or the ultra-powerful Psylocke?
Wolverine is a little bit old-hat. Though fans love the character, it’s time other mutants receive attention. Not to mention, introducing Wolverine too soon will lead to immediate comparisons to Jackman. Thus, it could be wise to introduce a different version of Wolverine as the primary clawed combatant — maybe Daphne Keen’s X-23 will do.