As great as some of the Fox X-Men movies have been they’ve certainly taken liberties with the characters and the source material. Something that gives Marvel Studios an advantage when it comes time for them to reboot Wolverine for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and recast the role. They’ll have plenty of material they could use from the existing comics for future films and even series.
Here are some ideas I had about what they could do with used and unused stuff from the movies.
WEAPON X PROGRAM/COLD WAR/BLACK OPS: I think we can all agree that Wolverine’s origin in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was poorly handled and deserves to be revised in the future. When it came for Bryan Singer to do his own reboot the Weapon X origin in X-Men: Apocalypse it was relegated to a rushed action sequence that was immediately undercut by an awkward scene between Jackman and teenaged Jean Grey.
Exploring his days with Victor Creed aka Sabertooth in mirky military black ops groups such as the CIA’s Team X during the Cold War in the 1960s feels like one of the ways to go and could be a direct contrast to X-Men Origins, that certainly didn’t feel like it was a period movie. This could lead to more comic book accurate versions of characters like Team X member Christopher Nord aka Maverick (Agent Zero incarnation was used in Origins) and Russian villain Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich aka Omega Red (has a brief cameo in Deadpool 2) getting involved.
Omega Red is one of the better Wolverine villains that never got a real onscreen debut, he’s a character like Logan/Sabertooth that has a healing factor giving him room to have established history clashing with him as he’s actually one of the few X-Men villains that can cause Logan pain and actual bodily harm thanks to his powers that include life force absorption and his two retractable carbonadium (Russian version of adamantium) tentacles. A serial killer turned KGB supersoldier that eventually became even too unstable for the Soviet Union to handle.
He’s eventually unleashed upon Logan by The Hand’s Matsu’o Tsurayaba after years in suspended animation following previous run-ins with Wolverine from his black ops days. In one of the animated versions of Omega Red, he was part of the Weapon X team along with Lady Deathstrike and Deadpool. There was a team of Omega clones developed by White Sky to combat the X-Force they included Sylvia Engel Rossovich aka Omega Black.
Omega Red is certainly a character that could connect him to characters like Buck Barnes time as The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury, Captain America, or even Black Widow.
THE SUIT/COWL: While Fox and even Hugh Jackman were apprehensive about having Wolverine in the costume and cowl, the MCU is a place where that kind of look wouldn’t look out of place or terribly odd. Which version they’ll go with remains to be seen since there is the traditional Yellow/Blue, Yellow/Brown, and then the more modern X-Force costume that was Black/Grey.
James Mangold at least did a mock-up of the outfit for The Wolverine in a deleted scene.
WORLD WAR II: One of the biggest gaps in Wolverine’s mythology in the movies is his time during WWII as it was only briefly seen in the opening sequences of The Wolverine/X-Men Origins. There was an interesting comic that had Logan teaming up with WildCATS’ Zealot in 1997’s Wildcats X-Men The Golden Age, a crossover between Marvel Comics/Image Comics with it written by Scott Lobdell and art from Travis Charest. In that version Wolverine didn’t even have his bone claws, instead, he had manmade claws attached his hands via leather straps taking a more grounded approach for this 1940s take on Wolverine, although his healing factor was certainly on display. The pair tackling Nazis and evil aliens in more of an Indiana Jones-like adventure setting than something you’d expect from X-Men comics.
YAKUZA, THE HAND & SILVER SAMURAI: As much as I liked James Mangold’s The Wolverine, they did skip over a lot of the samurai warrior code that made a lasting impression on Logan during his time in Japan. Not only that, but we never got to see him tackle his longtime foes red-clad ninja clan The Hand because Fox had eventually lost them when the Daredevil/Elektra rights took them back to Marvel and they created the Black Clan as a replacement for them
The introduction of The Hand into the actual Marvel Cinematic Universe (not just the Netflix shows) could be a way to have Daredevil crossover with Wolverine. There are also a couple of Yakuza/Hand villains that could have been flushed out from the comics as well and, of course, Kenuichio Harada didn’t portray his comic book persona Silver Samurai in The Wolverine, instead, it was turned into some awful robot version during the sloppy third act. I’ve also previously mentioned The Hand’s Matsu’o Tsurayaba.
Those Japanese adventures that Wolverine had included a bunch of team-up comic books with Kitty Pryde in 1984, Kitty’s father Carmen Pryde has a run in with the Yakuza which leads her and Logan to cross paths with Ogun, a Japanese telepath that works for the Yazkua and wears a red Hannya mask. She is eventually brainwashed into killing Wolverine.
Kitty Pryde is said to be having her solo film still being written by comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis and produced Deadpool/Terminator director Tim Miller. Although the fate of that project is said to be in the hands of Disney/Marvel according to X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner.
OPHELIA SARKISSIAN AKA MADAME HYDRA/VIPER: Referred to as Dr. Green in James Mangold’s Wolverine, that version of Viper was an altered character that took some visual cues from the comics but made her a mutant henchwoman/scientist rather than the terrorist mastermind that had manipulated Logan into marriage. Fox obviously didn’t have the rights to the Madame Hydra character so a lot of that stuff was abandoned and could be used by Marvel.
In the comics, she is originally from Hungary becoming aligned with HYDRA, The Hand, and The Serpent Society along with controlling the fictional island nation of Madripoor. The island was a reoccurring location in the solo Wolverine comic books. Another character that could easily tie Wolverine to various characters in the MCU including Norman Osborn.
Eventually, they could even make a real version of Mark Millar’s Old Man Logan, if they were brave enough. Considering the craziness and brutal violence in that comic, if Marvel Studios does end up making R-rated movies that is certainly one to consider as it would look nothing like Logan.
Lauren Shuler Donner recently reaffirmed that Marvel Studios will recast the role and Hugh Jackman has already gone on the record he’s walking away from Wolverine after Logan. Marvel has seen finding a new actor to play Wolverine their first priority when they get the go-ahead from Disney once the merger closes (expected to be by June). The Russo Brothers have previously mentioned Wolverine being a favorite character and I assume since they’re willing to come back could have a hand in the casting search.
I think everyone will have their opinions about the recasting which is awesome because the more names put out there the better.
Hugh Jackman mentioned in an interview during the press tour for Logan that he’d like to see Mad Max: Fury Road actor Tom Hardy as a possible replacement before he landed the Eddie Brock role in Sony’s Venom movies. However, it’s doubtful that Hardy would be looked at because of his position already with Venom.
Keanu Reeves recently lamented that he never got a serious shot at playing Wolverine as he had been in the mix for the original X-Men movie and has suggested he’d still be game for it. I’d love to see Reeves because you’ll get someone with Native/Chinese heritage a shot at the role also I don’t really see age with Keanu Reeves and the John Wick franchise proves he’s more capable action-wise than most actors 20 years younger as he’s doing a lot of his own stuntwork in those movies and putting a lot of hours of prep too.
My personal list of hopefuls at various ages includes folks such as Jon Bernthal (Sicario, Punisher, Walking Dead), Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Man of Steel), Billy Magnussen (Velvet Buzzsaw, The Many Saints of Newark, Black Mirror, Aladdin, The Big Short), Travis Fimmel (Raised By Wolves, Vikings), John Cho (Star Trek, Searching), and Trevante Rhodes (The Predator, Moonlight, Bird Box, Westworld).