Warning: This article has spoilers for Logan, a movie you should have seen already.
Logan has been the monster hit of the weekend, both critically and financially, and who would’ve doubted it? After 17 years of Hugh Jackman playing the most iconic mutant in Marvel’s X-canon, of COURSE moviegoers lined up to say farewell to one of cinema’s most enduring faces. Not only was it indicated by Jackman that this would be his final rodeo as Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett, but the latest X-film has left our hero dead, and not in one of those not-actually-dead ways that are so common in this medium. Nine movies deep, the nigh-invincible mutant is finally at rest.
But as we all know, a cash cow can never truly be put out to pasture. It is inevitable that Wolverine-based cinema will continue in some way, shape, or form, and I do not envy the team that will ultimately be tasked with moving the story forward. It’s going to be an uphill battle for everyone involved, given that there’s basically no way to do it that wouldn’t upset purists. Especially since Logan was a legitimate masterpiece of the genre. So in the interest of having some fun, I’d like to toss out a few ideas on how to keep the series alive without undoing such a beautifully realized end.
1. Follow X-23
This is perhaps the most natural/obvious way to go about it. In Logan, Dafne Keen threatened to steal the show out from under the feet of the main stars, and I have no doubt in my mind that she could carry her own movie, or even her own franchise. At such a young age it would be easy to mold she and her recently acquired gang of child-mutants to into the next Harry Potter gang. The legacy of Xavier and Logan would be the new squad’s guiding principles, which would be a respectful way to maintain continuity without literally bringing the two back from the dead.
I’d also like to know a little bit more about the “post-mutant” world. I’m sure some of our current “post-racial” social discourse could be brought into the thematic framework, which is keeping true to the intentions of the original X-Men comics.
Let’s say we’re not content to move on to X-23 just yet. Maybe there are a few more stories to milk from Wolverine himself. As we all now know, an easy way to do this is with prequels. An adolescent/teenaged Logan is one that we’ve only seen in montage form, and since he was born in the 1880s it could be a chance to place him into a period piece. This would be a great opportunity for a director to put his/her own stamp on it while still playing in an established sandbox. And since it’s a much younger Logan, a new actor would be tapped to take up the reins. Maybe some lucky unknown could follow in Jackman’s footsteps and use the same character to become a superstar.
3. Give it time and reboot.
Take a few years off and then start fresh. Same character, new actor, new continuity, new everything. It’s worked for Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, James Bond, the Transporter (ok, maybe not the Transporter) – so why not Wolverine? A hard reset is a simple way to divorce a new tale from all previous media, and it’s another opportunity to take creative liberties with the character. Age, race, gender, temperament – all could be tweaked to fit the sensibilities of the time. It’s a risky move given Jackman’s complete absorption of the character, but it’s not impossible.
4. Big budget animation.
It blows my mind that none of the studios behind superhero movies have attempted to make a large-scale, blockbuster-budget, animated film. I truly believe that there could be an audience for such a thing. While it might be difficult to properly manage tone (it would have to be appropriate for kids), 20th Century Fox could use the MCU model in creating something that is satisfying and suitable for all ages. I’m not alone in saying I grew up on X-men cartoons. What self-respecting nerd wouldn’t want to see one at the highest quality imaginable? And if it turns out to be Wolverine-centric, it certainly wouldn’t require Jackman’s voice (even though I suspect he’d do it in a heartbeat).
5. Give Wolverine to the MCU.
This would never happen. Or maybe it would. I’d imagine that Fox would have to offer a package deal with other X-Men characters but crazier things have happened.
Author: Dan Scully
Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.