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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wolverine 3 News Update

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s the Internet has pointed out on several occasions, it’s something of a minor miracle that Hugh Jackman remains the only live action Wolverine.  Part of that obviously has to do with technology- before the advent of CGI, it wouldn’t have been practical to do Wolverine’s claws, so the idea of adapting him was out of the question for about three decades after his inception.  

Even then, the fact that Hugh Jackman has consistently returned to the role for 16 years appearing in every X-Men film except for Deadpool.  He’s seen the franchise through its initial success, it’s tragic lows, its shocking return, and it’s current situation of running in place while waiting for Marvel to make Fox a shared custody deal.  However, after 16 years Jackman looks to finally be pulling the plug on his role as Wolverine with this next and final outing in 2017’s Logan.

Set to premiere in March of next year, this latest leg of the…let’s compromise and say “eclectic” X-Men franchise is set to be the franchise’s darkest and most bizarre entry yet.  That’s actually been one of the few worthwhile things about the late stages of Fox’s little superhero series that stuck.  

The original films may be beloved for reasons unexplainable by modern science, but they’re also visually super dull and conceptually half-baked.  Whatever else you might say about the mean-spirited and sour Days of Future Past or the directionless and under developed Apocalypse they at least had weird, creative central premises they were pushing. 

In the case of Wolverine 3, the film sounds closest in tone and structure to Days of Future Past while borrowing most heavily from the graphic novel Old Man Logan, which had been teased as the film’s inspiration previously.  

I suspect that’s probably why they went with the name of Logan, even though that’s a much more generic and underwhelming title that doesn’t quite work in a cinematic context.  In the comics universe there’s only one Logan the title might allude to but in terms of a spring film release “Logan” could pretty much be anybody.

In any case, the new film will be set in the far off year of 2024 where Logan’s powers have faded and, in some cases, stop working altogether.  Professor Xavier is also on his deathbed, with Logan and a fellow mutant named Caliban as the last two people left to care for him.  The group will be opposed by Mr. Sinister, an immortal mutant and head of the Essex Industries that was teased in the post-credits scene of X-Men: Apocalypse. 

It’s unclear what Sinister’s plan is or how it will tie to the aging Xavier and Logan, much the same way it’s unclear what the future of 2024 will actually look like.  In the source material the future of Old Man Logan was a Mad Max-esc wasteland in the collapsed shell of what used to be America.  Elements of that idea seem to have persisted as Logan will be getting his own specially built armored limo, but I’m not sure how much of that future we’ll see. 

The big reason I’m dubious about what kind of wasteland we might get is that we already went through a wasteland future three years ago in Days of Future Past.  Given how much time and energy the X-Men franchise has already put into avoiding an apocalyptic near future it’d be pretty strange for them to immediately double back on the idea and present an equally destroyed future regardless of Wolverine’s time meddling. 

As to the new characters: Caliban is a very strange choice for the film.  He was originally one of the Morlocks, a group of mutants that lived in the sewers of New York City.  His powers were to sense other mutants as well as the ability to absorb people’s ‘fear energy.”  

He was later captured by Apocalypse and turned into the Horseman of Pestilence, where he got the power to cause psychic viruses.  It’s all very goofy and kind of dumb, like most of the X-Men mythos, and doesn’t fit obviously into the structure of a wasteland Wolverine story.

Mr. Sinister, on the other hand, is the last big name X-Men bad guy the films have yet to adapt.  In the comics, he was a Victorian geneticist and mutant with the power of indestructibility that later studied under the incredibly powerful space being the High Evolutionary.  

High Evolutionary gave Sinister the power to enhance his mutation and thus he became the immortal Mr. Sinister.  He’s never been a big corporate bad guy so I’m not sure how the Essex Industries thing will tie into his plot or even Essex Industries will persist into whatever kind of future Logan imagines for 2024. 

The one thing these characters both have in common is that they’ve been minions of Apocalypse on occasion.  While I don’t think we’ll see Apocalypse return for this sequel, Oscar Isaac seems far too busy for that; I do wonder if his presence might be felt through the astral plane or if the film will deal with any further fallout from X-Men: Apocalypse.  

It’s already framed as a direct lead out from that movie thanks to the Essex Company post-credits scene, so it certainly seems like they’ve got reason to tie things up.  Speaking of, given that Sinister already has Wolverine’s DNA I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie is about him coming after Xavier’s genes as well to create some form of super-mutant. 

As to Wolverine’s genetics, that leads to the biggest question posed by Logan’s setting: what about X-23?  If you don’t know, X-23 is a female clone of Wolverine that Marvel’s basically finagled into the position of the All-New Wolverine.  Like a lot of Marvel shakeups of late, they seem to be trying to make this shift stick, with X-23 as THE Wolverine going forward and Bryan Singer has stated he’d like to see her take over after Jackman leaves the part. 

We all pretty much assumed that’d be the case after Sinister showed his face as the villain but if the film’s set in the future I don’t see how X-23 could take over in the main films.  However, at the same time, I’m not sure how many more main X-Men movies there could conceivably be.  The franchise only has one cornerstone story left adapting, the Phoenix Saga, and that’s happening in 2018.  Maybe Fox really is getting ready for a full on reboot in the 2020s, shedding all of the old cast and continuity and starting over cheaper.  Hopeful we’ll get a clearer picture of their plan as Logan looms closer to us. 

Wolverine 3: Logan is scheduled to premiere March 4, 2017

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