Hugh Jackman became a superstar by helping the comic book movie trend get off the ground in the early 2000s, taking on the iconic role of Marvel's Wolverine in 20th Century Fox's X-Men movie franchise.
After a decade-and-a-half and eight franchise appearances as the character, Jackman is set to don the claws "one last time" in next year's Wolverine 3.
The threequel will re-team Jackman with The Wolverine director James Mangold, and will also feature Patrick Stewart's Professor X, iconic X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, and Jackman bearing strong resemblance to the "Old Man Logan" version of Wolverine.
Beyond that, we have a lot of rumors to go on, and taking some of those, with a dash of thought about the future of the X-Men movie franchise, here's 5 Things We Want to See in Wolverine 3.
The Brutal Old Man Logan
The teases about Wolverine 3's story that have been tossed around by Mangold, Jackman, and Co. include phrases like "neo-Noir Western," "hard-edged," and of course "gritty." That sort of talk has only bolstered fan speculation that this threequel will indeed be adapting elements of the famous "Old Man Logan" storyline, which saw an elderly Wolverine in an alternate future where supervillains had conquered the world.
"Old Man Logan" is a story by none other than Mark Millar, who has shown in comics like Wanted, Kick-Ass, and The Ultimates that he's most comfortable hanging out over on the explicit end of the spectrum. With rumors circling that Wolverine 3 may finally give fans an R-rated Wolverine movie, it seems like a perfect opportunity to give fans an R-rated "Old Man Logan" Wolverine movie.
Obviously the story will be different, since Fox can't use most of the characters featured in the comic version (they belong to the MCU), but that shouldn't stop the harder edges of Old Man Logan from showing up onscreen.
We got the tease of Mr. Sinister in the X-Men movie universe during the post-credits scene of X-Men: Apocalypse, which saw Wolverine's blood sample being collected from the Weapon X facility by a mysterious organization bearing the name of "Essex Corp." That name is a big hint that Mr. Sinister could be behind events of Wolverine 3, and if he's coming to the screen, we want it done right.
Sinister became a staple of the X-Men comic books by acting as a genetic Machiavelli, manipulating pathways of DNA and mutant development over a century in effort to create a perfect, all-powerful, mutant being. His story is tied to Apocalypse, Cable, Gambit, Cyclops and Jean Grey - but it's his meticulous, chess-like scheming over spans of time we want to see in the X-Men movie universe.
We may get introduced to Mr. Sinister in Wolverine 3, but we want it to be just that: an introduction. Unlike so many other X-Men movie villains, this is not the sort of character we want for a one-off. Mr. Sinister needs to be a mastermind presence pulling strings all over the X-Men movie universe.
X-23 (Laura Kinney) has become a popular Marvel character in the 21st century. She managed to outgrow her simple beginnings as 'the female Wolverine clone' to become an X-Men character with her own complex personality and development. She currently holds the mantle of Wolverine in the comics, signifying her transition into being a mainstream Marvel player.
There's been heavy rumor that the X-Men: Apocalypse post-credit scene was a setup for Wolverine 3 to introduce X-23 to the X-Men movie universe as a clone created by Essex Corp. We need that to happen. There's already been rumor of a casting call to fill the part, so fingers crossed that we'll soon see X-23 in all her badassery onscreen.
With Wolverine 3 taking place in a future where Logan (and subsequently Prof. X) are both older, and Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart about ready to move on from the roles, we think it's about time for the Wolverine franchise to kick-off a soft-reboot that can extend throughout the X-Men movie universe.
It could be done any number of ways: replace Jackman's Wolverine with X-23; use some kind of time line manipulation (time-travel, psychic message) to give us a new (read: re-cast) modern day Wolverine... the possibilities are numerous.
The point is that Wolverine 3 is the end of an era - but not the entire franchise. So when the story is coming to a close, it needs to do so in a way that firmly sets up the future of the Wolverine movie character - and by extension, the larger X-Men movie universe.
And for the love of god: take this chance to fix some of that horrible continuity.
A Great Boss Battle
Putting aside the other criticisms of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine, there is one disappointment that's common to both films: They feature really weak third-act "boss battles."
XO:W gave us Wolvy fighting a bastardized version of Deadpool and/or Victor Creed atop a nuclear power plant cooling tower; The Wolverine featured Wolvy battling bastardized versions of Viper and Silver Samurai across the upper catwalks of an industrial facility. In both cases, the fights were overwrought, cheesy, and totally out of step with the preceding film.
If there is one big wish we have for Jackman's last outing as Wolverine, it's that the actor gets to go out with one big, satisfying, boss battle for the ages. As Comicbook.com's Jamie Lovett points out, having Mister Sinister as a the film's villain may deliver that exact thing:
"The cool thing about Mr. Sinister as a 'final boss' is that he dabbles in cloning. That means practically anything can happen in the final showdown. It could be Wolverine vs. Wolverine(s), Wolverine vs. all of his greatest enemies, or Wolverine vs. the entire X-Men. The possibilities are endless."
MORE: Be sure to get all the lastest on Wolverine 3 / Logan as news is breaking fast!
Logan hits theaters on March 3, 2017, followed by Deadpool 2 on January 12, 2018. Movie versions of Gambit, New Mutants and X-Force are still being developed.