Where Does "The Wolverine" Go From Here?

The news came through yesterday that The Wolverine, the latest film starring Marvel Comics' resident Canucklehead, has become the second-highest grossing film in the X-Men movie franchise, clocking in at $413 million worldwide. Given my review post for the film, this is somewhat surprising considering it took some time to get a foothold and start making money. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad that it did as well as it has. It was a pretty decent flick but I definitely wouldn't say "second-best" of the franchise. It would probably rank around third or fourth for me But mind you I'm basing that on quality, not box-office numbers.

The biggest part of The Wolverine's success comes from the international market, where is did roughly $283 million. What was it about the movie that made it so successful overseas? I don't know and I won't even speculate. What this news means, however, is that we can expect to see Wolverine in yet another solo film.

The problem is, where do they go from here?

The filmmakers of both of the Wolverine movies have taken so many elements from the best Wolverine stories and crammed them into two films that there's not much left to work with. Despite Wolverine's huge portfolio of comics, not many of them are worth a damn. Those that are good have already been used in some way on the big screen.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the one that takes the brunt of the blame for this. That movie starts off telling where Wolverine came from, as the sickly son of a wealthy Canadian family before discovering his bone claws. This tale was told in the classic Wolverine: Origins mini-series, one of the best stories ever from Marvel Comics. But X-Men Origins glosses over that part of the Wolverine tale, covering it in about 10 minutes' worth of screen time. It also takes the second-best Wolverine story, Weapon X, and reduces it to little more that filler. Wolverine's love affair with Silver Fox, a woman Logan fell in love with who he later finds out is an operative for the Weapon X project, was also covered in the Origins film. So right there we have three classic Wolverine stories all rolled up into one movie. (Four if you count his classic rivalry with Sabretooth.)

The Wolverine, while staying pretty close to the Claremont/Miller limited series, also throws a monkey wrench into things. Set almost entirely in Japan, any sort of revisit to that location may make audiences feel like they're just getting more of the same. As much as I would love to see an adaptation of the "Kitty Pryde and Wolverine" mini-series, where Logan teaches Kitty martial arts and she adopts the codename Shadowcat, I doubt it will ever happen because of how similar it is to the plot of The Wolverine, not only rehashing the Japan location but also the relationship Logan develops with Kitty is similar to what was shown between him and Yukio.

So what stories are left for them to adapt? Well, they can try using "Enemy of the State", where Wolverine is psychically held-hostage by the an alliance between Hydra and the Hand and battles pretty much the entire Marvel Universe. The problem with adapting this is that it relies heavily on certain characters that Twentieth Century Fox isn't able to use in their movies, such as Nick Fury and the entirety of SHIELD. Sure, they can likely change up the story and use different characters, like maybe using SWORD instead of SHIELD, but that may make the story harder to translate as it wouldn't have the same mass appeal.

They can also adapt "Old Man Logan", telling the last days of Wolverine after he retires from super heroing and becomes a pacifist. I seriously doubt this option for two reasons. One: it's not likely that Fox would want to show how Wolverine ends as it makes everything in between unexciting. And two: they run into a rights issue here as well as "Old Man Logan" stars many Marvel characters that Fox can't touch, like Hawkeye and Hulk. Again, the studios can easily replace these characters but it does break the integrity of the original story.

Image found of ComicVine.com forums
So what's left? Well, they can always introduce a few new Wolverine villains, such as Cyber or Omega Red. Both of them have pretty amazing origin stories which would translate well onto the big screen and even open up the opportunity to team Wolverine up with some other heroes. And I would love to see them introduce Omega Red into the Cinematic World now that the CGI is in a place to handle it well. Or if they wanted to get really ballsy, they could write an all new story just for the film. Would Fox be willing to undertake this? Not likely as it would be difficult to gauge sales projections since they would have nothing to compare it to. The best course of action would be to adapt an existing storyline, especially one that's already been well-received.

Though there are a lot of stories starring Wolverine, most of them are just bad and not worth the time. To get my money, the next film has to be done well, at least on par with The Wolverine and not turn out to be a steaming pile of garbage that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So not only do they need to choose an intriguing storyline but they they'll also have to adapt it properly. Will the studios be able to do that for the third installment? For the franchise's sake, I hope so.


  1. Nope...bet you anything they do X-Force, or....they do something with Wolverine and X-23 or something along those lines. In other words probably something terrible. I'll hold out for Omega Red but will they do him justice or put a guy in a trenchcoat with tentacles?

    1. They probably will do X-Force. The rumors have been going around that the next X-Men movie will be X-Force so it'll probably be something along the lines of "Wolverine & X-Force" or something like that. Which would be pretty cool, especially if they use "Days of Future Past" as a stepping stone to introduce some of the new team. And, you know, if they don't fuck it up.


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