Warning: This post contains big spoilers for Logan
You can’t say that Wolverine didn’t have a good run. After a nearly two-century and nine movie lifespan, the nearly-immortal X-Man proved all too mortal in the final act of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s farewell to the franchise that made him an international superstar. And the Australian actor has emphasized in interviews that this particular superhero death is permanent. Because surprise resurrections are a well-established device in both comic books and comic book movies, though, you’ll forgive us for looking for ways that Logan could climb out of his grave in a future X-movie. Here are four potential scenarios that would allow to Jackman to don Logan’s claws again.
1. Back to the Past
Set in the year 2029, Logan‘s dystopian future is far off enough along the X-Men timeline that there are still plenty of gaps left to fill in…especially for a character who was born in 1845, as his misbegotten Origins movie revealed. That longevity has already allowed him to pop up in the X-Men prequel trilogy— First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse — all of which took place well before the events of Bryan Singer’s franchise-launching adventure in 2000. (The future segments of Days of Future Past, meanwhile, unfold in 2023, six years before the events of Logan.) X-Men producer Simon Kinberg has already suggesting that the next chapter in the main X-saga will take place in the ’90s, at which point a memory-challenged Wolverine had already escaped his Alkali Lake prison and was roaming the snowy Canadian wilderness. If Jackman doesn’t feel like getting back in fighting shape, he could film his cameo clad in a winter coat.
2. Timeline Two-Step
It’s no secret that the chronology of the X-Men franchise makes no damn sense. The continuity waters are hopelessly muddied by multiple versions of characters, ever-changing backstories and a hard reboot of the timeline at the end of Days of Future Past that effectively erased the events of The Last Stand. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) At the same time, the constant re-writing of the series’ past, present and future does give everyone involved a chance to consign Logan to a pocket dimension à la Star Trek’s Kelvin Timeline. Just have Kitty Pryde work her time-phasing magic again, and — presto! — Wolverine and his cloned offspring X-23 (Dafne Keen) are enjoying a daddy/daughter ice cream date instead of fighting for their lives in the forests of North Dakota. And speaking of clones…
3. Clone Wars
In addition to a clone daughter, Logan reveals that Wolverine has a clone brother. Transgien founder Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) somehow came into possession of Logan’s DNA and created the X-24, a more lethal version of his older sibling that’s all claws and no conscience. Both the X-24 and Rice seem permanently out of service by the end of the movie; X-23 shoots an adamantium bullet through her uncle’s brain, while Logan kills Rice as he’s in the middle of monologuing. But there’s always a chance that more vials of Wolverine’s genes are floating around out there, along with plenty of mad scientists eager to make mischief (and more evil clones) with them.
4. Adamantium Extraction
It’s established early on in Logan that Wolverine’s celebrated healing factor is being overwhelmed with the demands of fighting off the poison that his adamantium-laced skeleton is injecting into his bloodstream. Which begs the question — if those metal grafts were removed from his bones, would that jump-start his healing process all over again? That kind of intense surgical removal, though, would require a metallurgist on the level of Magneto, who memorably separated Wolverine from his adamantium in a 1993 issue of the X-Men comic book. Magneto is notably missing in action during the events of Logan, and his ultimate fate is never discussed by longtime pal/bitter enemy Charles Xavier. That could mean that he’s still alive, and maybe even waiting in Eden for the arrival of X-23 and her band of “New Mutants.”
Watch our super-spoilery interview with Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart: